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Shattering Ten Popular Church Growth Myths

December 4th, 2012
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I picked this story up from Ed Stezer, popular Souhern Baptist researcher and writer on all things church stats, outreach and church growth. This is from an article on the Church Leadership web site, written by Brian Orme, editor of Outreach magazine, ChurchLeaders.com and SermonCentral.com.

Read through the article, you’ll find it interesting.

I will whet your appetite by listing out the ten myths and then giving you a few sound bites to ponder.

10 Old Wives’ Tales About Church Growth – Brian Orme

There’s a lot of discussion that goes on about church growth: what causes it; how to generate it; prepare for it; launch it; build it; cultivate it and even, to some degree, manufacture it. Many of the discussions are helpful, but there are a number of subtle beliefs that still creep up that aren’t healthy. In fact, they’re downright superstitious and, at times, dangerous to the church.

I’ve collected these myths over many conversations, coffees and lunches with church leaders and I’d like to share them with you.

1. If You’re Not Growing, Something’s Wrong
2. The More You Grow, the Healthier You Are
3. Contemporary Music Will Save Your Church
4. Church Growth Can Be Manufactured
5. If Your Church Grows, Your Leader Is “Anointed”
6. If Your Church Doesn’t Grow, It’s a Problem with the Leader
7. Good Preaching Is the Answer to Growing Your Church
8. You Will Retain a Large Percentage of Your Visitors on Special Days
9. The More Programs You Offer, the More Your Church Will Grow
10. If You Build It, They Will Come

Choice Quotes:

If growth and a bigger crowd is “always” the result of obedience then some of the OT prophets will have some serious explaining to do.

Just because your church has more people attending doesn’t mean your church is completely healthy. In fact, it might be cause to closely evaluate the message the crowd is hearing.

Changing your music and the feel of your worship gathering should have a reason bigger than, “We want to reach young people!” or, “We want to stay hip.” Contemporary music is not the salvation of the American church.

You can spend money and market an event and draw a crowd. That’s not hard if you have the resources.

Leading a large church doesn’t make you “anointed” by God and the flipside is true as well—leading a small church or ministry doesn’t mean you lack it.

The only problem is … it’s not always the leader. Sometimes it’s the members—or amember—spiritual warfare or even a season of transition.

Preaching is a core element of the church, but focusing on preaching alone—or trying to find a talented communicator—is not the answer to church growth. In fact, if you’re a really good preacher, you should probably have people leaving on a regular basis because making disciples is hard. Just ask Jesus about the crowds that left him.

Can God use these special days to reach people? For sure. Is it a solid growth strategy? Not alone.

More programs don’t typically equal church growth. In fact, sometimes church programs just keep us church-busy and hold us back from engaging our neighbors.

God never promised us a growing church if we just start to build it—faith and wisdom go hand in hand. Don’t buy into thisField-of-Dreams superstition.




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  1. MeToo
    December 4th, 2012 at 11:56 | #1

    Spot on! A congregation is not a business.

  2. Rev. Allen Bergstrazer
    December 5th, 2012 at 10:26 | #2

    Thanks for posting this Paul, though it certainly doesn’t say anything that quite a few pastors and laymen in the LCMS have been saying for years, perhaps now that it has been confirmed by a Southern Baptist our brothers will take heed.

  3. Karen
    December 8th, 2012 at 15:08 | #3

    So true! I hope Southern Baptists take this article to heart. In their embrace of church growth strategies I don’t think they have done much for the cause of Christ.

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