As Christmas season draw nearer, I heard some people discussing about churches becoming more number-orientated (church growth) instead of being concerned about the spiritual well-being (spiritual growth) of its members. Well, here’s my personal take.
Churches are supposed to be concerned about church growth. In fact, I believe that we need to grow ourselves spiritually in the first place because we need to grow the church! There is nothing cyclical about this; no qualms about whether the hen or egg came first. Church growth is the primary, spiritual well being is basically the strategy to ensure such growth is sustained, as such, it is secondary.
Both are important, but they are not equally important.
We are likened to spiritual paramedics. Of course we are concerned about the number of people we rescued from the brink of death! Along our journey, we take care of ourselves, we rest well, learn better ways to administer CPR all in the hope that we can save more people! If we were to learn all of those and yet stand and watch as people fall to death alongside us while the life saving news resides in us, we are no more guilty of being a heartless murderer than a useless paramedic.
We are in the life saving business. Remember that.
I believe such confusion happens because people tend to mix up priority with process. Matchsticks and charcoal are required to create a successful barbecue. However, regardless of the quantity of your charcoal, nothing is going to ignite without matchsticks.
There is no confusion in this analogy: Matchsticks are the priority; just as church growth is core.
Perhaps churches might need to spend equal amounts of time on both church growth and spiritual growth, but that does not make their priority equal.
Don’t get lost in the process. Ever.