The Fastest Growing Church
Let me start by saying I know that numbers are not the only thing that matters. However, church attendance is a pretty good indicator of what is going on at your congregation. If your church averages the same attendance for five consecutive years, while each year you are "adding" 25-30 families, something isn't adding up. Where are the people going?
I know there are times when churches grow deeper spiritually, closer to each other and to their maker. But I'm speaking about John Doe on Seville Street in Florence who doesn't know the Lord and we might work next to him every day for 27 years. What's our responsibility to that guy? I've heard "all you can do is be a good example at work", but I know a guy that asks the man at the check-out counter at the 7\11 if he's been 'washed in the blood of the lamb'? Maybe you think that's too extreme. But what do we need to do?
43% of the people in Lauderdale county indicated on the 2000 census that they were not affiliated with ANY church - shouldn't we be reaching a least a fraction of these people? I read an article today that said (Transfer Growth) "moving eggs from one basket to another is not growing". I know that sounds elementary, but I'm not sure we really understand what "church growth" really is all about. Isn't church growth about sharing the Gospel with those who don't know the good news and adding them to a growing, healthy body? If there are over 16,000 people in Lauderdale county who claim they are not affiliated with any fellowship - shouldn't we figure out how to let them know about ours?(Note: Please don't respond with the "just because they didn't indicate a church affiliation doesn't mean they don't know Christ - I'm speaking in generalities. I think we'd rather WASTE time arguing about who is "saved" and who isn't, than to take the time to share the story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus with them - and how that's the MOST IMPORTANT thing they will EVER hear!)
If you look at the list of the 100 fastest growing churches in the U.S. (http://www.outreachmagazine.com/top_100.asp
), you'll see they are adding members by the hundreds, even thousands EACH YEAR
! I notice there is a church in Birmingham on the list, The Church at Brookhills. They have added over 2500 members during the past two years alone. Curious if anyone who is reading this knows anything about that church? Or, better yet does anyone want to venture as to why these churches are adding members by the thousands and we (churches of Christ in general) are struggling to hold on to the members we have? Is it our worship? Our classes? Our leadership? Our outreach? Our fellowship? Our relationships? What?? The Southern Baptist consistently have 30-35 churches on this list. What are they doing that we're not?
OK, that's a lot of questions, but I'm seriously wanting some opinions. You're not going to hurt my feelings. I know we have readers from Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky and Georgia who read all these blogs - and I want to know about the growing churches in your community. What are they doing that other churches are not?
Thanks - MK