As I type these words on my iPad, I am 35,000 feet in the air somewhere between Nashville and Detroit, heading to Manila, reading Acts and thinking about church growth.
Too many of us (pastors & church planters) find our value in how many people show up at church functions. The more time I spend in the West, the more I have to shake off that sad obsession with size and remind myself that I am called to make disciples, not to build churches. Jesus said he would build his church – the kind of church that the gates of hell would not be able to stop. He has a long history of doing what he says he will do, so he probably doesn’t need my help.
(Note to self: your job is to make disciples, not to build a church. If you make disciples, Jesus will build them into a great church.)
If Jesus had been obsessed with numerical growth like many pastors today, he would have felt like a failure.
QUESTION: After three years – preaching good news, healing the sick, feeding the hungry and discipling 12 men – how many did Jesus have in his “church”?
ANSWER: “In those days Peter stood up among the believers – a group numbering about a hundred and twenty” (Acts 1:15)
Three years and 120 believers. Outreach magazine would have totally ignored those results. And many modern church planters with similar results would be thinking about a career change.
While it took 3 years to grow from 12 to 120 – it only took weeks for the 120 to grow to 1000’s. Why? Because in the words of Joey Bonifacio, SLOW IS FAST!
If we focus on making disciples (which is a slow tedious process) it is just a matter of time before those disciples begin to multiply out of control. That’s the Book of Acts. And that can be your church, if you focus on making disciples and leave the church growing to Jesus.