Does God desire for your church to grow?
The short and simple answer is “yes.” We can make this deduction from the fact that God has called us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20) and that ultimately; disciples from all nations will be gathered together in heaven (Revelation 7:9). In the mean time, God is working through His body, the Church, to gather His children (Matthew 16:18). Therefore, as the Church grows, God’s global kingdom grows. –and that’s not just God’s goal, its promise.
But there is another answer and its slightly more complicated.
Imagine you have a friend with two wild, unruly children. When his kids spend the night with your kids, you hide every breakable item in the house and never let them out of your sight! Although you love your friend immensely, you are really concerned about his lack of parenting skills.
One day, over lunch, your friend tells you that he and his wife are praying for another child. He explains how they are confident that God wants their family to grow and he even quotes Psalm 127:3, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”
Now you are feeling conflicted inside. You agree that children are a blessing from God, but something isn’t quite right here. Just because God blesses families with children doesn’t mean every family blesses God.
So you lovingly share Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” and explain to your friend that with every blessing comes great responsibility. You advise him to make sure he is being responsible for the children he already has before he adds more to his family.
Similarly, while we know that God is honored by growing churches, we also know that not every church honors God.
Hebrews 13:17 explains that pastors are “keeping watch over… souls, as those who will have to give an account.”
Pastors, this is one of the most sobering verses for you in the Bible. You will have to stand before God and give an account for how you shepherded His church!
Before you start your next campaign for evangelism and growth, maybe you should ask yourself, how well am I shepherding the people God has already given me? Are my people passionate worshippers? Do they have a heart to serve one another and our community? Is there a strong bond of fellowship? Do we share a burden for lost souls? Is discipleship part of our DNA? Do we handle conflict according to God’s Word? Are we in harmony with one another?
Those are the kind of questions every pastor must ask himself on a regular basis.
So, does God want your Church to grow? The lengthier answer is, “Yes, but under responsible leadership.” After all, why would you want to be held accountable for more souls when you aren’t being faithful with the ones God has already given you?