Spring-boarding off of yesterday's post, I believe God wants all churches to grow…because real growth means the salvation of what was lost. Lost people preoccupy the mind of God…and should preoccupy of the church. Mission is about loving God and loving others. And, as wonderful as family feel is…it would be hard for me to justify to God a lack of desire to grow because I wanted to remain comfortable "in the family."
The family feel is something that churches of every size should strive toward. However:
Stagnant and declining churches tend to view themselves as families first. Families that don't reproduce love each other…and then die off.
Growing churches understand themselves a movement first…and ultimately provide Christian family to more and more people over the years.
This of course doesn't mean that dying churches have zero sense of mission or that growing churches do not value the family-feel. I'm talking about their primary self-understanding that shapes everything from programming to structure; from the "vibe" of the church to how it makes crucial long-term decisions.
Many churches do not, in their gut of guts, want to grow. They want to reach lost people, as long as things can stay how they are. They like the family feel or the fact that they know everyone and everything that goes on. This isn't altogether bad. It's only bad when such sentiments trump the church's mission to reach the lost.
Prevailing churches have a strong sense of mission – to love God with everything, and love our neighbors as ourselves. This is the value that makes true Christian family. It is in the service of Christ that we all grow together as family.
The rest comes together through God's blessing as we pursue His heart and embrace His mission together.