As a young pastor and guy on church staff, I was well acquainted with the term “church growth”. It was every seminarian’s dream to pack the seats 💺. At every turn, we heard about strategies, read books, and heard pastors and ministry leaders brag about their story of how “successful” they were at church growth. The sad thing is I never heard about church health. I have seen churches with hundreds and thousands of people be rotten on the inside.
About 8 or 9 years ago, I was diagnosed with a testosterone deficiency. I was prescribed medication to apply to my skin daily to be testosterone replacement. It would shut down my body’s ability to produce and provide an artificial means to produce testosterone. I was warned that my children could not come in contact with the medication because my daughter would become hairy like a monkey or my boys would grow faster than their bones. So may I ask the question, “Is growth always healthy?”
I have seen “church growth” take place in many forms. One is transfer growth. I know of one church that benefited from multiple churches in the area being in turmoil. Nearly 100 people joined this church. Another is attraction growth. They will do anything and everything to draw a crowd. They may not make disciples or retain these individuals on a consistent basis, but they can show off some good numbers. A third is biological growth – one I have done well over the last 16 years🤣. What we long to see is conversion growth – a church growing because disciples of Christ are helping produce new disciples of Christ spiritually. It’s a place where people are crossing over from death to life. That is a sign of church health, but it isn’t the only one.
I would like to take some more time in the days ahead to expound on this thing of a healthy church. I can assure you that a healthy church is a rare thing to find.