“When it comes to churches the same is true, healthy churches grow. Good healthy churches and bad healthy churches. Mormonism for example is “healthy” and has grown very rapidly since Joseph Smith, Jr., founded the movement with only 6 members in 1830. In a little over 175 years Mormon membership has grown exponentially. As of December 31, 2009 there were over 13.8 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide. So here’s a question… Are we supposed to view the growth of the Mormon church as a sign that God is blessing it? Absolutely not! Not any more than God is blessing the fungus that grows on your foot.
As you are planting a new church you will be tempted to organize your ministry like a successful business, to make the system healthy so that the ministry will grow. Others will try to convince you that since people matter to God, getting as many of them as possible to your church will please God. So in order to get the average Joe out of bed on Sunday morning you will hone your skills on Photoshop and update your church’s Facebook profile every day. You will place yard signs and radio ads while awaiting a deluge of secular people to walk in Sunday morning.
Please don’t do this, it’s just goofy. We are responsible for fidelity and God is responsible for growth. The truth is, churches can grow through advertisement and marketing but that’s not the type of growth that you should seek for your new church. The Apostle Paul, after seeing some of the most tremendous growth in church history, commented on the source of the growth, he said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow.” Wouldn’t it be great to look back at five or ten years of ministry and say, “Wow, did God make it grow!” It seems that today’s pastors are seeking a quick growth strategy for their church. And are willing to trade quick growth for real Holy Spirit work. It’s a pastoral version of a get-rich-quick scheme. Pastors sit around conference tables with other staff members racking their brains trying to figure out how to “break the 200 barrier” (Since when are 200 souls a barrier?) or get more of God’s enemies (Rom 5:10) involved in the church. Every decision about music, service order, style of speech, attire, programs and ministries is aimed at making church attractive for non-Christians.
This is a form of idolatry. It would be like my wife walking into her closet and asking the question, “What could I wear today that will bring pleasure to the men in my community?” My wife does not belong to the men that live on my street or in my neighborhood, she belongs to me. Likewise, the church does not belong to the unregenerate, but to Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the means by witch God will draw lost men to himself. No my wardrobe, not my translation. We are far too concerned with “Saddleback Sam” and not concerned enough with the author and finisher of all things, Christ”