Do You Want to Grow?

Does your church actually want to grow? Be honest.

Yesterday, Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio was analyzing the Major League Baseball trade deadline. He said that much of the time, the difference between the bigger market teams and the smaller market teams’ success at the trading deadline isn’t just payroll. It’s want-to. It’s the desire to get better, make moves, do whatever it takes to be successful. Teams that want to win spend money, they take risks, they have a way of making every effort to make the team better. They can’t rest if they are in contention.

This got me thinking about churches.

Are there churches who simply want to grow more than others?

Of course.

I know the nice thing is to assume everyone wants to grow as much as everyone else. But, that’s not really true and we know it. Some are far more interested in preserving tradition, keeping the peace, or nurturing the existing flock than they are in reaching people with the Gospel. Or, they are…just peripherally. Some churches just flat don’t want to grow. In fact, some even fear growing. They fear growing because they fear the pain of making the moves they would need to make in order to grow. Or, they fear growing because they believe that real discipleship can only happen in a church of a certain size. What size? Whatever size that church happens to be 🙂

When it comes to church growth, diligence and want-to are highly underrated. This has been highlighted for me even more in the sphere of church planting. I’m not saying that church size is always a matter of want-to or that it’s all up to us. Nor am I saying that church size is the goal of the church. However, part of being missional means coming to grips with whether we’ve embraced passionately God’s Mission–and whether we are willing to endure whatever the cost of missional faithfulness is.

This can be misconstrued as putting too much emphasis on human effort. The reality is that it’s always God that provides the increase. However, my experience is that He blesses those who sow seed diligently. He gives crops to farmers to plant seed and care for what they’ve planted. He blesses those who have a heart after His own–and His heart is for people…especially the Lost.

The good (but sad) news here is: if a church really doesn’t want to grow, God will let that church have what it wants. However, if a church really want to grow–not for it’s own glory but for His Mission’s sake–He typically grants it what it wants. God wants His Church to grow. He commissioned us. He empowers us. He calls us. He grows us.

Do you think all churches really want to grow? Why or why not? What role do you think “want-to” plays in a church’s growth?

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Share Your Thoughts

6 thoughts on “Do You Want to Grow?

  1. Tim, great to see you writing on this topic.
    I believe you are absolutely correct that not all churches want to grow. Some churches don’t want to grow or have simply given up trying to grow. Some don’t know how to handle new converts and disciple them.
    If a church doesn’t want to grow, it will find ways to keep itself from growing.
    I also agree “want-to” is a huge part of church growth. When a church wants to grow, then that church is going to get it’s leadership to read some church growth books or sending some of their leadership to a seminar or send someone to chat with a church growth specialist. Then those churches are going to take risks. Perhaps make some necessary changes. Perhaps hire someone to lead in a ministerial fashion in outreach to the local community. Or develop ministries to specific groups within the community or church (ie. children, youth, young adults, etc).
    If a church wants to grow, it’s going to find a way to grow.