I’m accustomed to thinking about things we need to do to lead a church to growth. What I don’t often think about is the focus of this post: “without’s” that hinder church growth. Let me know your thoughts about these “without’s.”
- Preaching without the Bible. Preaching without the Word may result in increased attendance, but it won’t grow a healthy church. God’s inspired Word makes a difference.
- Worship services without real worship. The activity of Sunday morning is just that—activity—if it doesn’t lead people to encounter the living God. Real worship changes people.
- Leadership without proven-ness. That is, we pay a price when we put unqualified and unprepared people into leadership positions. And, it’s tough to move them out once we’ve put them into these roles.
- Membership without expectations. When we admit members without talking about expectations for the Body of Christ, we get what we’ve often gotten—uncommitted and unfaithful members. Often, they don’t even know what they’re not doing since we didn’t tell them expectations up front.
- Growth without conversions. Simply swapping sheep between congregations doesn’t grow a healthy church. Transfer growth is sometimes warranted, but it’s often the same people choosing church according to their own preferences.
- Strategizing without community demographics. It’s tough to reach a community when you don’t really know who lives there—or if you plan on the basis of assumptions rather than good research. Knowing the community matters if you want to reach them.
- Telling without teaching. We do it all the time: we tell people to read the Bible, pray, evangelize, give, etc., without ever teaching them how to do these tasks. We set members up for failure and then complain when they don’t follow our lead.
- The Great Commission without teaching to obey. By that phrase, I mean evangelizing without follow up training and accountability (which, actually, then would not be the Great Commission). Our responsibility is not finished when someone gets saved.
- Fellowship without “provoking.” That is, we enjoy our food and time together, but nobody’s pushing anybody toward love and good works (Heb. 10:24). This kind of fellowship is incomplete at best, self-centered and sinful at its worst.
So, what “without’s” would you add to this list?