Why There is No Salvation in Church Growth
Church growth is the man-made scheme to increase the number of people attending a local church, multi-campus church, or satellite network of churches. The motive for church growth is increased recognition from other faith organizations and the world. The perceived benefit for church growth is increased influence, with the altruistic object to change the world…by getting bigger.
To create the reality of a larger gathering, the first-focus is organizational development and leadership hierarchical structure. The perceived benefit, to those in attendance, is the feel good emotion of being part of something big. Statistics become the lifeblood of motivating people, to work for the organization’s goal, which is a bigger organization.
Maximum performance, in attaining church growth, is gauged by such spiritual indicators as: annual giving of money, annual budget, average Sunday attendance, number of paid staff positions, money in the bank, and number of active participants in the organization.
Creating allure for the world to come into the church is the work of a multiplicity of ministry programs — all striving for excellence, as gauged by world corporations, non-profit organizations with successful reputations, along with cutting-edge groups of every kind. In other words, the world sets the standard and the church follows its methods for similar results.
Church growth demands excellent visuals, a suave communicator, color-schemed physical facades, and a cult of leaders for organizational productivity and efficiency. The product sold by church growth is individual success in the world. In other words, if you join our organization, in order to help us make it successfully bigger, then you will reap the benefits of being with successful winners, in a winner church. In short, you will be a winner, who hears winning messages from the charismatic chief winner — the lead communicator.
Why is there no salvation in the church growth movement? First, church growth steals glory from Jesus Christ, who promised that He would build His church (Mt 16:18). It is God who adds His elect to the church (Acts 2:41, 47; 5:14), by calling His lost sheep to return to their Good Shepherd.
The gathering of the elect is an exclusive work of the Spirit of Christ (Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 13:52; 5:18). The sole means for adding the lost, elect to the church is the preaching of the Bible (Lk 3:3; Acts 8:12; 1 Cor 1:17). The Spirit-filled man of God preaches Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 1:23; 2:2), not positive self-help psychology. This man-centered false teaching is very popular among unbelievers. It is very effective in gathering crowds of people, who are looking for their own personal success in the world.
True preaching of the Scriptures, the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17), cuts and separates like a double-edged sword (Heb 4:12). The result of Bible exposition from the pulpit is tri-part. It chases away goats and wolves from the sheep of Christ’s pasture (Jn 6). It effectually calls lost sheep to come into the safety of the fold (Mt 11:28). Finally, it feeds and grows true Christians (Mt 4:4), who hear the voice of Christ and receive Him (Jn 1:12–13; 10:3), the bread of life, as spiritual food for their souls.
The Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim 2:19). He knows the exact state of His flock, everywhere, and at all times, being the omniscient God. Church growth is meaningless to God because of His sovereign rule over all things. God is sovereign in salvation (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1). He loses none of His elect people because of His omnipotence (Jn 10:28–29; Rom 8:35–39). Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, and His Spirit continues the work. No church growth schemes of man are required.
God’s scheme of salvation is lacking nothing at all. It is a sure salvation, which means it requires no innovation in any generation, nor in any differing cultures or locales. The regulative principle of Scripture requires no re-imagining, no dreaming, no personal word of knowledge, no special gifts, no peddling of the Word at conference venues, no importations of innovation from the world, and no schemes of organizations and their hierarchy of leaders.
Salvation comes in the same way as it did for the biblical examples, known to us by the revelation of the Scriptures. We need Christians to know the Word of God, which means we need preachers and teachers of the Word, faithful men of God, who set their hearts to study the Scriptures (Ezra 7:10), for in these we find the Word of reconciliation with God (2 Cor 5:18–20).
Salvation is found in Christ, alone, the Word of God, alone, by the Spirit of God, alone. It is never found in the perversion known as “the church growth movement.” The apostle Paul wrote it best, “Preach the Word (2 Tim 4:2)!”
Spokane Valley, Washington
January 8, 2022