• Tim Smith

    I wrote a short book a year or so ago (Gardens, Dining Rooms and Kitchens) to try and help trainee ministers and smaller churches with fewer resources to think about a framework linked strategy for Mission and Discipleship along the lines I use leading my own community. My core concern and the books central conundrum was around a big question I posed to myself: “While we may ‘do’ outreach, it is the Holy Spirit who encourages someone towards a church so they can both encounter Jesus and grow in Him. If the church can’t offer that discipleship, why would the Holy Spirit bring them?” I wonder if research backs up my belief that churches with a strong ethos of outreach AND a good route for growing disciples are the ones that do grow numerically. I suspect that may be the case. The small group may just be a reflection of a church that believes in equipping its folk to grow and that way also grows leaders and all sorts of other gifts too. I would affirm the small group, but is it the small group that is the power house of growth or the fact it grows disciples and then the Holy Spirit can grow the group and the church by sending more? Go and teach were Jesus’ last words – maybe the Holy Spirit affirms those who do by sending folk their way?

  • In order to break growth barriers the pastor needs to change leadership style or leave to make way for a pastor who can lead at the next level. In addition, the church culture needs to change in order to move through to a larger attendance level. Each transition requires the church’s members to give something up in order to enjoy the gains that will be experienced at the next attendance band.