What Counsel Do You Give When You are Asked the Wrong Question?

Monday is for Discussion

Book of Acts (Sent)A pastor asks:  “How can I help my church increase their membership? It’s a small country Presbyterian church with mostly older members. Looking for ideas…”

First thing about this question: It’s the wrong question. Here’s a better one, “How can we make more disciples of Jesus?”

That said, once you have given some serious thought and prayer to that question, these might be some of the things you could begin to consider.

  1. Don’t worry about marketing and advertising.
  2. Be the church; don’t try to “portray the church.”
  3. Train everyone to proclaim the gospel clearly. Train them to talk to friends, neighbors and family.
  4. Get your people working life on life in applying the Scripture.
  5. Ask of your service: Are we doing anything that has nothing to do with the gospel and makes unbelievers and seekers of truth uncomfortable? Stop doing those things.
  6. Are we doing anything that makes unbelievers and seekers of truth feel comfortable and does not involve a compromise of the gospel? Keep doing that.
  7. Get more ‘knees on the ground” for the spiritual battle of reaching your community. A praying church is usually a growing church.
  8. Missionally, get the church on task in loving and serving their community.
  9. Consider partnering with another church in the community to reach the community. God blesses unity in the Church.
  10. Remove any spiritual impediments to growth starting with the sins of pride, disunity and unbelief in leadership.
  11. Remove structural impediments to growth (google Ed Stetzer on the topic.)

More could be said, but that’s all I have time for now.


3 thoughts on “What Counsel Do You Give When You are Asked the Wrong Question?

  1. Only thing that comes to mind is the practice of a nearby church that sends teams out to small (rural) communities who have no congregation but an unused church building. They open up, sweep it out and begin holding worship services. GROWTH! Takes a while, but the towns people begin showing up.

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    1. Interesting. I’d love to see this happen in more places. Still looks like asking people to come rather than going to them. On the other hand, the teams did go to the community where a facility was available and that counts for something.

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  2. A pastor I knew finally abandoned “membership drives” and began teaching the Word with refueled passion. Ironically, only then did his parishioners, themselves newly impassioned, start bringing others to church with them. The pastor’s new ministry motto became, “Healthy sheep reproduce.”

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