Yesterday I wrote my first Sermon Notes post covering Pastor Larry’s sermon on James 1:1-4. And I keep thinking about one of the points that Pastor Larry made: “God is more concerned about building big people than big churches.”
Now I’m not against big churches. I was a member of a large church for many years. I learned a lot and had many opportunities for ministry. And it does make sense that people will be drawn to a church led by a pastor that is a great Bible teacher, or filled with members that are genuine disciples of Christ.
As a matter of fact, when I first moved to Houston I was looking for a small church because that’s what I was accustomed to. But I was single at the time and couldn’t find a small church that wasn’t focused 95% on marriage/family issues. That’s just not where I was at the time, so I had to go to a larger church to find an active singles ministry.
All that to say that I’m not a mega-church hater.
It just seems to me that sometimes there’s too much of a focus on growing church membership and not enough of a focus on discipling believers.
I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be a large focus on outreach or missions. As a matter of fact, those two things are necessary in the church and every believer should be discipled to participate in those activities.
What I’m saying is that we should be conscious about motives. A key question to ask ourselves is, “Am I working to bring more people to my church/class/ministry activity to bring more glory to God or to bring more glory to my church or myself?”
There’s such a focus on numbers sometimes. On whether or not a church or class is growing. As a former Bible study teacher, I can tell you that the pressure from a church to grow a class can be enormous. And the sense of failure when the class size plateaus can be enormous, too. But is it so wrong for a class or church to not be in continual growth? Is spiritual growth in class and church members always accompanied by growth in numbers?