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If Our Primary Goal is Church Growth

August 12, 2022

Tom Fuerst wrote the following, and has graciously given me his expressed permission to share it with you. As always, I look forward to hearing from you about this or anything else. —

As soon as “church growth” became the goal, the gospel became compromised.

If your primary goal is to grow a church numerically, you can’t say to the Rich Younger Ruler, “give away all you have and come follow me.”

If your primary goal is church growth, you cannot tell the violent to put away their swords.

If your primary goal is church growth you cannot anger the self-righteous by challenging their legalism.

If your primary goal is church growth you cannot critique the assumptions of capitalism because you have to use them to be “attractional” to a people propagandized to be pure consumers.

If your primary goal is church growth you cannot critique nationalism because the majority of your congregation will worship at the altar of the Bald Eagle.

If your primary goal is church growth you can never tell subversive parables, you have to resort to cute preacher stories that get chuckles and eyerolls but don’t challenge anyone to change.

If your primary goal is church growth you cannot think systemically about sin but must reinforce the class-based, race-based, gender-based systems by distracting with individual moralisms.

If your primary goal is church growth then church attendance is the god on whose altar you will sacrifice everything else, including faithful witness and prophetic utterance.

Church growth and capitalist branding tactics are a foreign idea to the crucifixion of a national rebel at the hands of a ruthless state. A foreign idea to the One who scandalized the world by who he let into God’s kingdom not who he kept out, by using his “brand” to attract the ones no one wanted.

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One Comment
  1. Yep a focus on growth will often distract the leaders from seeking to help people become a faithful disciple of Jesus. To become a faithful discipline can mean challenging the rules and customs of the powerful. Building a community that is more loving and just may involve shifting from the focus of “bigger is better” to “what will be helpful to those in need” in our community. Not an easy path.

    Like

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