What has happened to the spiritual landscape of the American Church? Why are we declining in new people coming to faith, and also in “membership” numbers in many churches?
I believe that the push to become bigger has not made us better. “Bigger IS NOT Better, but better is better.” I do not believe that God has called us to attract large crowds to measure our success, but rather to make disciples. Too often we are content with filling up seats with butts, because in our economy, “butts=bucks.” But what if bigger was only a by-product of better?
Let me explain…
Jesus tells us in the great commission to “make disciples.” Even Jesus, during His time on this earth was spent building a few to reach the many. Jesus had no problems with attracting a crowd, as a matter of fact, He often intentionally weeded out those who were just consumers and not sincere followers. His whole mission was to make disciples. He did this by identifying those who would sincerely follow. These men were faithful (not perfect); they were available, and they were teachable. They were F.A.T (faithful, available teachable).
Jesus built the success of the church on people who would go do likewise. The church is people and as we go we will grow. It really is more about sending rather than seating. Attracting a crowd is not the goal only a by-product of making disciples who “go”, “baptize”‘ and “teach”.
The church was meant to grow, but large crowds are not the litmus test for growth, but rather making disciples. I want to close with a quote from Robert Coleman from his book, The Master Plan of Evangelism.
”A few people so dedicated in time will shake the world for God. Victory is never won by the masses.”