Don’t Believe This Church Growth Myth

By Justin Lathrop

Growth Myth

Larry Osborne recently shared an insightful post, titled The Myth of Endless Growth, on church growth and ministry health. He states, “Nothing in nature supports the goofy idea that healthy things always multiply and grow.”

Admittedly, I was convicted when I first read this. I have based much of my thinking on the premise that health must equal growth. Larry continues, “Living things grow to a size predetermined by DNA and environment. . . . But once any living thing reaches its prescribed size, it stops growing. It’s not a matter of health. It’s a matter of God’s design.”

This begs the question, “What is the prescribed size God has for me, the people in my church, and our church as a whole?”

I think the answer has less to do with understanding God’s ordained size for your church and more to do with understanding God’s ordained satisfaction with you. This allows you to be satisfied with who God has made you to be and what He has called you to lead.

Here are four questions to move toward ordained satisfaction:

1. Who are you getting advice from?

Be sure to gain wisdom from a well-rounded group of people. Learn from well-known teachers at mega-conferences as well as from lesser-known leaders who share from smaller platforms.

2. What are you reading?

Be cautious how you apply the endless ideas for ministry growth. For example, the strategies for exponential church growth in a town that has expanded from 10,000 to 100,000 will not fit if your town has shrunk.

3. Why are you comparing?

For years, I’ve heard pastors harbor jealousy toward other churches, gossip about other pastors, or discredit the work done elsewhere. Let’s stop competing against one another and start celebrating when others grow into their God-ordained size.

4. When will you start asking God what He thinks?

If you don’t know if you are functioning at God’s ordained size, ask Him. Commit to praying to gain a better sense of what God thinks about your current state.

Are you guilty of believing the myth of endless growth? How do you fight it?

Justin Lathrop

With over a dozen years of local church ministry Justin has spent the last several years starting business' and ministries that partner with pastors and churches to advance the Kingdom. He is the founder of (now Vanderbloemen Search), Oaks School of Leadership, and all while staying involved in the local church.

Justin is obsessed with connecting people to people and lives his life daily to make the world a smaller place. He now serves as a consultant in the area of strategic relations predominately working with the Assemblies of God, helping to build bridges with people and ministries to more effectively reach more people.

He blogs regularly about what he has learned from making connection at