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Church Growth

An intentional “clearing of the fields” is necessary in many congregations as part of the cultivation process that positions us for growth. When preparing fields for planting, farmers notice when rocks, roots or any other impediments are lurking in the growing environment. When noticed, they are removed as quickly as possible in order to enhance […] Read More

Are we inviting the wrong people to our congregations? This unsettling question arose as I studied Luke 14:7-24 in preparing a recent sermon. Jesus is at a dinner party and he sees everyone jockeying for the most honorable seats. He tells them, “Take the lowest seat, that way if the host asks you to take […] Read More

Some 2,000 years ago, Jesus said to a handful of disciples, “I will build my church and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). At the time, it must have seemed the strangest of promises, but today we can celebrate that Jesus has kept his promise. Down through the centuries, Jesus […] Read More

Three ministries I met with recently asked the same question: “How do we grow?” One was a conference where the average age has kept creeping upward, and a sea of gray hair dominated the audience. Yet, for the first time they were experimenting with running a retreat for preteens simultaneously. One was a small church […] Read More

For many years the primary way of measuring church size was to look at church membership. In Baptist churches, we began to track Sunday school attendance as a measuring stick. Membership numbers are not really helpful since Baptists are not very good about adjusting our rolls over the years. Some denominations do better about that […] Read More

One of the major emphases among church health specialists the past few years is the need to create an atmosphere that is “friendly” to visitors (or guests, as they are preferably called). Churches have responded well, and it is quite common to find a friendly environment upon entering a church in this day and age. […] Read More

“Change,” said John F. Kennedy, “is the law of life. And those who look to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” What is true of life, in general, is true of churches, too. As has often been said, the seven last words of a dying church are, “We have never done […] Read More

Church growth is back on the agenda – not the 1970s variety from the U.S., but rather the new style espoused by the Church of England. I had the joy of reading recently “What Makes Churches Grow? Vision and Practice in Effective Mission” by Bob Jackson, director of the Church Growth Centre attached to St […] Read More

Unlike most ministers, I was ordained as a missionary. At the end of my theological studies, instead of going into a church, I joined the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS World Mission). Before sailing for the Congo, I was ordained to fulfill the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and […] Read More

The guiding principle for every home improvement project of Tim “The Toolman” Taylor from the TV show, “Home Improvement,” was, “More power!” To him, bigger was always better, usually with comically disastrous results. Many of us tend to agree with him, thinking that bigger is better – at home, at work and in our relationships. […] Read More