Church Growth

So you are a pastor and you want your church to grow. That is a very common desire among pastors. But why do you want your church to grow? What is the honest reason in your heart?

Do you want your church to grow so that you can feel successful? Do you want to be respected and feel influential? Do you want to yield power over people? Do you hope to gain wealth? Those are all wrong reasons for wanting your church to grow.

If you want your church to grow so that God can be glorified as more and more lives are transformed by the Holy Spirit, then that is the right reason to desire church growth.

It is possible, of course, for us to fool ourselves, thinking our motives are pure when in fact they are actually selfish.

How can we know our true motives? How can we know if we truly want to build God’s kingdom or simply build our own kingdom?

One way is by monitoring our inward reactions to the success of other pastors. If we think our motives are pure, if we think that we sincerely want God’s kingdom and His church to grow, but we discover some envy or jealousy in our hearts when we hear of other churches’ growth, it reveals that our motives are less than pure. It shows that we really aren’t so interested in the church growing, but in our own church growing. And why is that? Because our motives are at least partially selfish.

We can also check our motives by monitoring our inward reaction when we hear of a new church that is starting in our area. If we feel threatened, that is a sign that we are more concerned about our own kingdom than God’s kingdom.

Even pastors of large or growing churches can check their motives by this same means. Such pastors might also ask themselves some questions, such as, “Would I ever consider planting new churches by sending and relinquishing key leaders and people from my congregation, resulting in my church becoming smaller?” A pastor who is very resistant to such an idea is likely building his church for his own glory. (On the other hand, a pastor of a large church could plant new churches for his own glory as well, just so he can boast of how many churches have been birthed from his church.) Another question he could ask himself would be, “Do I associate with pastors of smaller churches or have I distanced myself from them, having obtained a higher class?” Or, “Would I be willing to only pastor just twelve to twenty people in a house church, or would that be too hard on my ego?”[1]

[1] Here is another advantage of the house church model—pastors aren’t striving to have large congregations for the wrong reasons, because congregation size is limited by house size.