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|Factors Affecting Church Growth by ChurchLeaders(m): 12:44pm On Aug 09, 2017|
It is impossible for someone to have a clear picture of what “church growth” is before he or she understands what the church is all about and the purpose for its existence. What is the church? The word church is a translation of the Greek ekklesia, which means “a calling out.” The Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew O.T. uses the Hebrew qahal, which stands for “gathering,’ “assembly,” or “congregation” (Deut. 9:10; 18:16; 1 Sam. 17:47; 1 Chron. 13:2). The proper definition for the church is “the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head.
what is church growth?
The term “Church Growth” is associated with evangelism and/or missionary enterprises that imply outreach to the lost and their incorporation into a church.
Why concern for church growth?
Being concerned is responsibility because God made His church responsible
to do His will on earth. Since Jesus is the Founder of the Church (Mt 16:18)
and the Head of the Church, He gave us the command to do His business. We are His messengers (Rev 14:6-12), and co-laborers with Him to bring other sheep that are not yet in the fold (Joh 10:16). We
are His chosen ones, witnesses, light, ambassadors, evangelists, pastors/ teachers, equippers (Eph.4:12). After appointing the twelve and seventy others and letting them go two by two, He identified that the harvest is great but the laborers are few that they should pray that the Lord may send out more laborers into His harvest field (Lk 10:1, 2). Thom Rainer said that true church growth takes place when ‘Great Commission’ disciples are added and are evidenced by responsible church membership.
Factors Contributing to Successful Church Growth
The church belongs to Christ, the Head of the church. He has a unique growth plan and purpose for each local church that makes up His body. Christ, not man, makes the church grow. Christ has the right motives for His church to grow: (1) love for sinners; (2) a sacrificing lifestyle that is salt and light to the
world; and (3) a total dependence on God.
Here is a church growth question: What are the qualities of a
growing church? Church growth experts agree with the researcher
that a growing church should possess at least the following qualities:
1. There must be a climate of happiness and loving God and one
another in the church.
2. the church must have a Bible-centered atmosphere that demonstrates by
its regular and continuous Bible studies.
3. the members of the church must be enthusiastic and become the cause for maintaining enthusiasm.
4. the church must be evangelistic and zealous to win lost souls for Christ.
5. a growing church should be able to claim backslidden members.
6. a growing church should have great faith to practice its vision and should be able to pray for its spiritual growth and for God’s work throughout the world.
7. a growing church believes in the Holy Scripture and do and live what it says (Mt 7:21).
Characteristics of Growing Church
A growing church: Is Bible Centered, a happy Church, a creative church, a diverse church, an interdependent church, in tune with today and tomorrow, informs its community, intentional in being Lay led, inspirational, willing to change, insists on new members involvement, a healthy group structure, places a high priority on enhancing the individual’s Christian experience, evangelistic, has a strong leader, has a great vision, is a praying church, has spiritual power, has ministry for every church department, stands boldly on social issues, participates in strategic planning, provides growth experience, preaches with biblical authority, and uses quality and quantity as measurements (Gallup, Jr.
Factors Obstructing True Church Growth
Just as plants, animals, and other living creatures face some distractive and harmful growth obstructions, church growth also encounter some impediments. Church growth hindrances are also
growth obstructing factors. An analysis of these studies and field observations indicated that these congregations have taken 10 specific initiatives. These are:
1 Have a trained and visionary leadership.
2. develop ministries according to gifts, evangelism according to needs.
3. spread great influence of spirituality.
4. follow biblically based priorities.
5. adopt functional structures.
6 plan inspiring worship services.
7. develop a program of cells.
8. be friendly.
9. make disciples.
10. value differing human aspects (Rode, 2006 )
Growth Hindrances in the Bible
Even though the Bible does not use the term church growth directly, it always implies the importance of His church, His body. The church on earth is God’s central focus of salvation. The Bible mentions several aspects that affect church growth. Here are a few to mention:
1. Ineffective preaching when preaching is not inline with God’s instruction, it contradicts and fails the requirement.
2. ineffective leadership when leadership fails to put things in correct order per His great guidelines, it hinders the expected growth of the church.
3. lack of love among the members when no love is exercised in the church, the church is refrained from its expected progress.
4. contentious spirit when minds are divided—not settled on the Rock of salvation, growth is tampered.
5. uncontrolled tongues when believers spent much of their God-given tongue and time in gossiping and talking non-sense business than glorifying God, they failed His standards.
Facts and Realities of a Healthy Church
The key question to ask could be what does a healthy church look like? And the possible answer is God knows and we can find His knowledge about His church from His book, the Bible. The church belongs to Christ (Eph. 4:15; Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18). He knows the best and offers the best and he who follows His will, His ways and trusts in Him for His cause will find it fully! Christ alone can make it grow (1Cor 3:5-.
Below are few selected facts for a healthy growing church:
1. Conflict, gossip, politics, tribal issues, pride, selfishness, the love of money, unfriendliness, partiality, immorality, lack of Godly love are prime killers of church growth. Avoid them!
2. There must be a well thought out, empowered vision and mission statement with a clearly defined purpose, and strategies on what God has called you to do and to be. The vision and mission with their intended purpose must be implemented as well as evaluated at the end of every term how much of them have been accomplished.
3. Teach and model passionate spirituality. The Christian life is not meant to be dry and monotonous. The leaders’ job is to convince the people to grow beyond just doing their duty to achieving spiritual
passion and conviction. It must be heaven bound (Phil. 3:7-11).
4. Evangelism is the church’s primary focus and the pastor and his leading team together with the members of the church are enthusiastic participants in the activities of the planned effort.
5. Unity is another key element that the church should maintain, promote, talk and live about it (John 17)—united the church stands and divided it falls.
6. Balanced carefully and highly organized social and recreational gathering as well as outing would promote members’ and leadership’s connectedness and even for friendship evangelism.
It is God’s perfect and eternal plan that His church should grow in spirit continually. However, the enemy of God’s people has been fighting mankind to fail in every aspect of life. Furthermore, he
(Satan) succeeded by causing hostility among the believers such as the spirit of carelessness, failure in spiritual life, untruthfulness, lack of interest in any good work, making them envious to one another,
lazy for any good work, lie to each other, and making one suspicious and doubtful to the other and, above all, to the leadership. As result of the above and many others not mentioned contentious/or nominal living of the believers, the church growth has been declining in its spiritual expectations—quality performances. Having discussed several factors and facts which caused unpleasant church growth declination, all the concerned body of believers including the leadership have been reminded as well as invited for total participation in reconstructing the new church growth plan and in its implementations as God wills.
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