If there is one thing the Christian Publishing world is not short of, it’s books, and articles, centering on the ‘church growth movement.’ If you go to Google, as I did, and simply type in the phase, ‘How to grow a church’ you’ll get 1,530,000 possibilities; if you type in ‘church growth’ you’ll get 14,000,000 results. That’s a huge amount of people, writing a huge amount on church growth. If you searched ‘church growth’ in Amazon Books, the list is amazing – over 17,759 results. One would think, with all this information on church growth out in the market place, churches would be growing like crazy, but they are not. Why? Here’s what I think; the one thing killing the Church today is… The Church. This may sound harsh, but I think of it as ‘suicide by compliancy.’
Here are some of the reasons I think the Church is killing the Church. Now, I would be remised if I did not share that I tend to think it is rather hard, but not 100% impossible, for a Consumer Church [Safe Church] to become a Missional Church [Dangerous Church]. While it’s not impossible, I do believe it is highly improbable.
The first bullet in the chamber is the, come and see attitude: Safe Churches seek to be the Attractional Church; we have the most amazing music, our pastor has published several books, and is the best speaker you’ve ever heard, you’ll be amazed at the show we put on, so come and see. The problem with this concept of church is what others are hearing, ‘We have Jesus in this cool box, we’re not interested in letting him out, so you will need to come inside.’
The concept of come and see, has been the way the church has expressed itself over the past 50+ years, and it has caused the church to find comfort in themselves. This kind of church seeks to bring in those who think like they do, look like they do, and act like they do into their church, and anyone who doesn’t truly fit the mold they have set [or implied] will never be truly wanted. Many, those outside the church, are looking to belong to a faith community where they get out from behind the walls, and into the City. People are looking to serve, and they’re looking for ways to server. This doesn’t need to be an official church ministry, approved by the Board, it simply means they desire to make a difference in the City they live in.
The feed me crowd take the words of Jesus to Peter, “If you love me, feed my sheep” to mean, “It’s the pastor’s, and others, responsibility to feed me, because I’m one of the sheep of Jesus.” But what they forget, is that a shepherd leads the sheep to an open field, where the sheep graze in community, feeding themselves. The role of the pastor is not to spoon feed you, but to share with you the teaching of Jesus, and to lead you out into the wider community where you can put the teachings into action. This can get messy, and there’s always to possibility that a wolf will get a sheep, or two, but that is how you feed sheep. We’re all sheep [Jesus is the shepherd], and we all need to be out in our City, sharing how Jesus changed our lives.
I’m certain there are other bullets in the chamber, but I would like to hear from you what do you think they are; let me know in the comment section.