Posted by: Terry | February 22, 2010

How big is a successful church?

How big is a successful church? What percentage of growth indicates that God is blessing a church? When did we start measuring spiritual growth on spreadsheets and charts?

The Church Growth Movement, and the Emerging Church concepts, all use numbers to track their success. Using “missional” as their mantra, and creative interpretations of Matthew 28 and 1 Corinthians 9.22 as their justification, they adopt popular marketing methods to attract “seekers” while avoiding tradition and doctrine.

Grace Church in Molalla, Oregon is a successful church. Their attendance is around 100 in the Sunday morning service, made up of seniors and young families. Some have been members since the church was formed over 40 years ago, for some this was there 2nd Sunday. A new youth director is coming on board. The style is what I suppose would be termed blended, accompanied by a keyboard and drums, with a guitar standing ready in the corner.

Pastor John Baker is a warm man in his 50’s with a shepherds heart and a caring way about him. His sermon on prayer was Biblical in foundation and relevantly personal in its application.

Grace Church is a successful church, lost in the numbers of the mega-church a few miles away with 11 buses that roam the area each Sunday. (Grace just started a bus that picks up people who are unable to drive.) They are successful because they are faithful to minister to the flock that assembles each Sunday, and they follow the leading of the Spirit as they serve and minister as they can. At the heart is a community that cares about each other, formed by commonality not structure.

Not all large churches have sacrificed substance and reverence for size, but all churches must constantly review their goals and plans in the light of Paul:

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior 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 and fear, and with much 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 men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5) (NIV)

It is our responsibility to be faithful, God will bring the increase if increase is what he deems best.

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Responses

  1. It was good to read your comments on the Molalla church. I wish I could express my thoughts as well as you do. too bad that Molalla is so Distant from Shoreline.


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