I was checking out a new blog today in my addition of Church blogs. I’m reading an article and it uses the phrase “one of the fastest growing churches in the country”, which caused me to threshold and need to say something.
One of the things from my Domestic Missions* training that has really stuck with me is the first line in C. Peter Wagner’s book, Church Planting for a Greater Harvest. It’s a little book aimed at the average church goer, not the seminary student. But the first line is “The single most effective method of evangelism is starting new churches” (That’s from memory).
He goes on to explain that if a church plants another church they may send out 30 people. Its totally reasonable to expect that church to be 60 people in a year. That’s a 100% growth rate. Now big church does that. So when I hear “fastest growing churches”, I think there are a dozen new churches that will grow at a faster percentage this year and few will know.
Now its possible they are talking raw numbers. This church may go from 2000 to 2500 in a year. 25% growth, but 500 people. Which the little church won’t do. But if you had 25 50 person churches double in a year you’d have more church growth. My stock broker says you always watch the percent, not the actual amount. Same principle for a church.
Lakewood Church here in Houston is the largest church in America. Its gone from 6000 to over 10,000 30,000 in 6 years. That’s incredible growth.
But Lakewood could have hived off 500 people a year and seen even greater growth of the kingdom. There could be 6 1000 or 2000 member children.
I used to go to a church in Austin that planted a new church about every other year. Every time they lost 20% of their best and brightest. And in under a year, they had all been replace. The church was full again. It works, its convincing people of the concept that holds it back.
* Went to ACU to look for the graduate domestic missions program, and couldn’t find it. I hope this doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.