Church Growth vs. Kingdom Growth
The Difference is Evangelism
"Our church is getting larger, so we must be OK, right?"
What is Church Growth?
Church Growth can be judged by simply counting heads. "How many people were attending last year as opposed to now?" Numbers, however, can be deceiving. Simply counting heads or bodies does not tell you anything at all about the spiritual growth of the people in a congregation. Counting heads also does not indicate whether or not the individuals in your church are new converts or if they simply transferred their membership from another church or denomination.
What is Kingdom Growth?"
Kingdom Growth is our true goal. When new souls are added to the Kingdom of God through evangelism efforts, the angels rejoice. Luke 15:10
Our goal as Christians, doing the work of an evangelist, is to lead lost souls into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
See What is Evangelism? for a more detailed explaination.
True growth is only accomplished by winning souls!!
In trying to help churches develop effective outreach and evangelism ministries over the years, I have come to understand that many growing churches have fallen into the trap of being comfortable and satisfied with numerical growth. This is a dangerous trend that can easily lull the Christian church into a false sense of security, leading to a community that develops a social services mindset instead of an evangelistic outlook.
I have watched with interest over the past decade, as churches are started in local elementary schools and other public buildings in the suburban areas of our cities. Many of these churches experience rapid growth. I have watched as some have grown from 20 members to a church of several thousand, in just a few short years.
A large portion of this remarkable church growth can be attributed to the fact that the population is shifting from inner city areas to the suburbs. People are finding churches more convenient to their new location, so of course, these churches will grow, QUICKLY. This growth pattern has caused much excitement. Other churches have tried to duplicate the growth by copying the methods used by these new, upwardly mobile churches.
Make no mistake, at some level there are new souls being added to the Kingdom by these efforts. But for the most part, from my own observations and questioning, the majority of the growth is due to transference. We're moving existing Kingdom residents from one location to another and calling it Church Growth.
Marketing vs. Evangelism
Last Easter, I received several postcards in the mail inviting me to Sunday services at four different churches in the area. All four postcards were well done, announcing sermon topics, service times and declaring that I was welcome to join their family for a great time of fellowship and worship.
Although each postcard was sent from a different congregation, all four postcards included the picture of the same family!!
All four churches had used the same marketing company to help them develop their materials. The stock photo of this good looking family was used in each case, trying to target a certain segment of the community. I later saw the same family photo on a phone company truck promoting their services.
What does this say about the church?
Most modern churches have a marketing plan, but no evangelism plan.
Over the past few years, I have read countless articles in ministry leadership magazines that discuss marketing as evangelism. Marketing is letting people know that you exist. Evangelism is letting people know that Jesus exists and that they need a relationship with Him. The two plans are different.
Indeed, we need to market our ministries, letting people know that we exist, but let's not abandon what the Scriptures have taught us, "Go into all the world and preach THE GOSPEL." Mark 16:15
Successful Church Growth Evangelism
Church Growth should be the same as Kingdom Growth. It all has to do with our mindset and focus.
When consulting with churches about developing outreach, church growth and evangelism plans, my goal is to get everyone thinking about winning souls and making disciples.
The Bible does not tell us to market ourselves, but to lead people to Jesus. Church growth is a by-product of winning souls and making disciples.
If we remember that "church" is not a location, but is composed of people who are following Jesus, then we won't get it mixed up.
Let's grow God's Kingdom together by learning to be better at sharing the Gospel!
I would enjoy the opportunity to help you and your church to develop or re-energize effective evangelism ministries. Please fill out the form below if you would like more information regarding Evangelism Workshops or other Training Seminars. May God Bless You as we work together for His Kingdom.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Teddy Levron
|Comeback Churches: How 300 Churches Turned Around and Yours Can, Too|
By Ed Stetzer & Mike Dodson / B & H Publishing Group
Research shows that over time most congregations plateau and then eventually decline. Church growth experts Stetzer and Dodson explain why and show you how to revive a body of believers. Learn the importance of lighting a spiritual fire; intentional evangelism; making disciples; forming small groups; and a take-risk leadership---and watch your pews fill up again! 224 pages, hardcover from B&H.
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