Every so often, I’m asked the question, “Pastor Matt, how big do you want our church to grow?” It’s a fair question. I’ve found that some pastor and church members in our American churches …
- Would love to have a megachurch (1000 or more attendees); or…
- Would love to stay the size they are so they could still know everyone.
- Would love to reach their specific, desired, yet unspoken demographic (in other words, if you are a white, upper-middle class, traditional, suburban church, then some would love to reach those that would perpetuate that culture. All others need not apply, so to speak).
All of these (and I know there are others) would have various strategies implemented in order to see this happen.
What about me, you ask?
I communicated something that I heard a number of years back that really chimed with me, but I do not know where this originated:
If we are faithful with the depth, God will take care of the breadth.
The depth of what? If we are faithful in teaching the depth of Scripture and discipling our people into applying the depth of Scripture into their lives, then our faithfulness to this will bring about a spiritual growth that God may well turn into numerical growth.
You see, if God changes us in Christ Jesus, then the fruit of the Spirit will be borne in us. We will begin taking Jesus, if you will, out of the building and into our homes, our workplaces, our schools, into the streets and the marketplace. We will see firsthand that God keeps His promise, and his steadfast love does indeed endure forever (Psalm 136).
We will begin to see the reality of the local church’s core purpose, as stated in Acts 2:42-47:
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Lots happened: awe came on every soul, people tracked with each other belief-wise, they helped each other as the need arose, and praises came from His church. Where did it start? They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Listening to the Word, investing in His people, partaking of the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, and prayer.
If we plumb the depths of this prescription, everything will reverberate (to borrow Jonathan Leeman’s term) from there both inside and outside the church walls–then God will handle the breadth as He sees fit.
If God does expand the breadth and grow us, what’s next? Stay tuned!