Church Growth: Rearranging the Furniture

ImageI think it is always helpful to the atmosphere of a facility to rearrange furniture. My mom used to do this and I made fun of it then but really it does help. My wife used to do this also until I ruined her life by following Jesus. To the horror of many we live in a travel trailer. Not much of a life for a wife.

Churches are always trouble shooting the effectiveness of the church. They want to reach the community and grow their influence.  There are many books on this issue along with conferences and books on counseling, small groups, men, women, kids, youth groups, worship styles and the list go on.

It feels good to change things. It brings a feeling of life and excitement. Building projects, interior design, high tech presentations and sound systems; It is forward leaning, a lot of activity.

We can do all these things mentioned previously and grow a church. It works for some but not all. The church growth from this is mostly transfer growth, moving people from one church to another. It gives a real sense of productivity. It is like a business drawing more customers. Lowes draws more than mom and pop! But we must not confuse activity with productivity!

Why does the church exist? Most answer this question correctly, to spread the gospel…make more Christians. But having more people in a congregation doesn’t mean we have made more Christians. Yes, more may claim the title but how do you know the difference between having more Christians and simply having more claiming the title?

I contend it is about productivity. If you have people that are rearranging their time and money for the Kingdom you really have something. If people’s eyes are opened to the needs of the community, we are on our way. If more finances are flowing through the church to help the community I suspect we are preaching and living the gospel. If individuals take responsibility for the problems around them, not looking to an institution that’s the best. When the individuals of the church are planning new ventures to help the broken we have hit the mark.

As this happens in a growing way we have a church. If the percentage of people doing this is low we need not rearrange the furniture but goad them to love and good deeds, isn’t that why we meet?

When this ratio of people who are doing this is high, we are doing well. This ratio should be growing. If only one in one hundred is the doing these things it is an indicator that we are not doing well.

However if the ratio is 1 to 10 it is better. The goal is that all would be productive in their community.  We would aim for everyone working hard. Yet we will never have this if we are doing our job rightly. Why? Because we will always have new people, fresh to the church….my guess the right ratio in a church of 100 would be 80 to 20, 80 people working and 20 on their way. This would be cool.

But you can’t get their through the methods currently employed. This change  comes through the example of leadership and a constant vision building from the pulpit. This leadership needs to regularly give ideas and team people up with those who are doing it. It requires continuing to show and tell the congregation this is normal behavior for a Christian. They need to know this is central to the gospel, laying down your life like Jesus for the world around them.

This approach may not draw other Christians from other churches but it will reach the lost. It will give an ongoing challenge to the congregation and make them highly productive.

It isn’t as fun as rearranging furniture but a lot is accomplished!


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