Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How to Grow a Church

How do you grow a church?
One thing this haggard mind has noticed about the world, is that whatever is going on, it's all about the money. And when they insist that it's not about money, then you know for sure that it's all about the money.

I have a "day job" with a manufacturing company. I develop software for them. Everything I do is to benefit the operations of the company-- make their operatins more efficient or keep better track of their resources-- so profit can be maximized. In short, for the company I work for, it's all about the money.

2012 being a presidential election year here in America, we are bombarded on all sides by ads. Ads that cost a lot of money to produce and broadcast. Or we are kept informed about all the fund raising efforts of the candidates, so they can pay for those ads and for their campaign activities. They say its about our country's leadership. But get right down to it, and it's all about the money.

Obviously I don't have much of a clue about how to raise money. Our ministry for third-world widows suffers from one major problem. We don't have the money we really need to care for our first group of twenty-four women, and fund two more groups that want to start, and accept the dozens of invitations we receive to "please come here and help our widows." So even for a Christian outreach, it gets down to being all about the money. (I'm tempted to be jealous of our politicians, who are able to raise millions of dollars in a single day, but I resist.)

"When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power." (1 Corinthians 2.1-5

I have watched countless churches get caught up in the human wisdom of "all about the money." Now, money is a necessity in order to operate and to minister. Church Board meetings, by their nature, must deal with money issues of the congregation. But when a church gets focused on the money, its membership declines. Then when the leadership gets the idea that they need to apply more money to their programs, they continue to decline. When a church's "money people" become its controlling influence, it dies a long, slow, painful death.

Money is necessary. But for a church, it's got to be all about Christ. Pay the bills so the church can glorify Jesus. Fund projects that lift up Christ before the world. Pay a preacher who knows only one message: Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Social gospel does not grow a church. Political involvement does not grow a church. Activism does not grow a church. Programs, dinners, charities, auctions, bake sales, seminars do not grow a church. A church may feel called to do any or all of these things as part of its ministry. But none of these things grow a church.

Jesus grows a church. It's all about Christ.