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How Can I Grow My Church? - Answers for Pastors - September 17

Answers for Pastors

How can I grow my church?

The short answer is, you can’t.

You can faithfully scatter the seed of the Word, but only God can make it grow (1 Corinthians 3:6).

You can faithfully call people to turn from their sin and trust in Christ, but only God grants faith and repentance (Philippians 1:29; Acts 11:18).

You can alert people to the danger of their state, but only God can raise them from spiritual death (Ephesians 2:1-5).

That’s not to say that your efforts to faithfully preach and pray and lead don’t matter. It’s just to say that you cannot create any spiritual fruit. You cannot convert a sinner. You cannot cause a Christian to overcome a sin. You cannot cause your church to grow in the ways that matter most. That all finally depends on God’s sovereign and omnipotent grace alone.

Numerical growth is not always equal to, or the best indicator of, spiritual growth. The bare fact that more people show up on Sunday morning does not mean a church is growing spiritually.

Therefore, any strategy for growing a church that promises success based on what you do, without taking into account that only God can bring genuine spiritual fruit, is fundamentally misguided because it is aiming at numerical growth to the exclusion of genuine spiritual growth.

On the other hand, if you’re a pastor, you have the responsibility to faithfully preach the Word, pray, shepherd the people, live a holy life, and trust that God will bring fruit in his own time. Not only that, but as you faithfully preach, pray, and lead, you should expect God to bless his appointed means for saving sinners and sanctifying saints. You should expect your church to grow, both numerically and spiritually. So preach, pray, lead, and expect God to bless your efforts.

Find more great resources for church health from Mark Dever and 9Marks Ministries at www.9marks.org

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