Does God want your church to grow?
Whenever a pastor talks about church growth it makes certain people nervous. You hear things like, “He must be compromising to see such growth” or “All they care about is numbers, not people.” I get it. It’s like preaching about money. Christians have been burnt out on the topic by bad and even false teachers so much that when a well-intending leader brings up the issue, our initial response is skepticism.
This is why we need to ask the question: Does God want your church to grow? Don’t ask the church growth experts. Don’t read the latest how to book. Let’s look at Scripture and seek a biblical answer.
After man first sinned, God put His eternal plans of salvation in motion. We see this most notably with Abraham. God promises that through Abraham “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). Paul interprets this as pointing to the Messiah and the salvation He would bring to those who trust in His name (Galatians 3:15-29). So, from the very beginning, we see that God has global intentions when it comes to salvation. This tells me that God means to grow His family.
This concept is confirmed in the prophets; particularly, Isaiah. In Isaiah chapter 54, the prophet speaks of the blessings secured by the Suffering Servant (Ch.53). Jesus Christ, our redeemer, paid for our sins by dying in our place upon the cross and rising from the grave. What are the results? God is going to save a lot of people. “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities” (Isaiah 54:1-2). The people of God are told to make more room. Why? God is going to grow their number by saving lost sinners through His Son. The redeemed will be so vast in number that they will inhabit the nations.
We see this promise beginning to be fulfilled at Pentecost. Jesus has risen. The Spirit is given, the Gospel is preached, people believe and those who believed the “word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). The Church in Jerusalem was a mega-church by today’s standards, and it only continued to grow (Acts 2:47). Then, in Heaven, when it is all said and done, there will be “a great multitude” so big that no one can “number, from every nation” (Revelation 7:9)
We can be certain that God doesn’t want us to grow our churches through doctrinal compromise. If we have to change our message to reach people, we’ve already lost. We also know that God doesn’t want us to compromise our morals and integrity. If we begin to look like the world we will become like the world.
But, you can also be certain that Jesus wants our local churches to grow through the ministry of the Gospel. There is no question, when we look at Scripture, that God is a missionary God and He desires to increase our number.
God has blessed the church I pastor. I’m humbled and grateful for the work He’s done through us. We’re taking Isaiah 54:2 seriously. We have to enlarge our tent, and we’re doing so by starting a 2nd Sunday morning service. Because of the growth we’ve seen over the last two years, we’ve simply outgrown our little sanctuary. So, on November 11th, we will start a new schedule. The first service will begin at 9 am, Sunday School 10:10 am and the second service will be at 11 am. We give God all the glory, and we invite you to come and join us!