I cannot think of the number of church growth seminars, books and teaching videos I have partaken in. I have taught on the area of church growth and am well versed in all the methods, programs and mindsets which allow a church to grow numerically. The challenge is I am now seeing that all of the information I have amassed will do no good if the growth in the church is the wrong kind of growth.
So what is the right kind of growth? The right kind of growth is not directly growth, it is more of a transformation. If church growth is about adding numbers to the attendance registry and expanding the budget bottom line, that is quite easy. I have joked in seminars that I can pack the church from noon till 11pm every Sunday, and count it as worship. Every gets real interested in how. I tell them, ten cent wings and 50 cent drafts, and football on the big screen. I am sure we would pack the place out, there would indeed be worship. but would it be the church? There is nothing wrong with ten cent wings, in fact I think there should be more ten cent wings. There is nothing wrong with football on the big screen. There is even nothing wrong with 50 cent drafts. However, they will not bring about transformation of life. They might be a great connecting point for transformation, but they will not transform a persons life.
Church growth is about numbers, the wrong numbers can mislead us. We should be measuring the number of people who are responding to the radical call of Christ, and radically devoting their life to following Him. I use to dream about pastoring the church of tens of thousands of people. Now the only way I want to do that is if it has tens of thousands of people who are committed to following Jesus with their whole life. People who are committed to be everyday missionaries. I am learning, or unLearnign as Slaughter states it, this will mean smaller numbers in the seats at first, but greater impact for the sake of Christ.