How to Be Sure Your Church Won't Grow

There are five simple ways to make sure that your church will not reach its full redemptive potential. Follow one or more, and you can just about guarantee your church will not grow.

First, make your church all about the people it already has. Their care, their comfort, their concerns, their sense of being "fed." Your mantra should be, "It's all about them." This means you spiritualize the idea of discipleship as the ultimate endeavor and then interpret the meaning of discipleship to be a weight-gain program of knowledge. Do not, under any circumstances, interpret the goal of discipleship to be for any sense of sacrificial mission to the least or the lost.

Second, cast a small vision. Or at least an insular one. There is a vast, lost world, but keep that from anyone's thinking. Make the vision about something much, much smaller. As in… them! Cast a vision for deeper community and fellowship, small groups and men's/women's ministries – but be sure to stop there. Don't go beyond the community of the already convinced.

Third, don't talk about evangelism. If anything, put down churches that emphasize evangelism as if they are the shallow, undiscipling churches. Yes, you have to say you care about lost people, but keep it in a muted, vanilla way that never captures anyone's attention. And for goodness sake, don't make ANYTHING about evangelism seem as if it's actually urgent, to be prioritized, or that heaven and hell are on the line. Then people might get exercised and want to actually do something.

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It's Time

Why has Nike's phrase, "Just Do It," resonated so deeply in our psyche? It's simple. We know it's true. Sometimes, you have to determine to do things and then just do them. But the importance of this idea goes way beyond sports or getting in shape. It has to do with key life decisions and actions, including spiritual ones. During this series, James Emery White explores the most important "just do it" act - baptism - that creates spiritual breakthrough on countless levels.

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