I have alluded to the fact that the third year of Compass Point’s existience was the most difficult and rewarding in our history. I’ll share about that in more detail sometime this week or next. However, I think one of the benefits from this year has been that I’ve discovered the “secret”…or rather “secrets” to church growth. They are…
Both will acheieve growth in attendance. However, only one will acheive growth in baptisms, discipleship, leadership development and truly carrying out the “Great Commission”. For the shepherding-disabled…that would be the second one listed above. 🙂
Though I have never really talked about it on my blog for fear of sounding like a name dropper…I have been honored that men like Shawn Lovejoy, Perry Noble and Dr. Ed Stetzer have taken the time to converse with me about church leadership. All of them at one point or another in our discussions have talked about limiting input from other sources and just getting in tune with what God was revealing…what His vision is. It took it a while for the message to get through my thick skull…but once it did things began to change for the better around Compass Point.
I am not opposed to learning as much as I can about church processes and structure from other resources. I am not opposed to learning how to streamline church strategy from blogs, books, magazines, podcasts or other church leaders. However, I have learned that it is not okay to get vision from any other source but God. Vision from other resources can grow a church in the short term…but it cannot grow the Kingdom of God in the long term.
Too many times we as church planters and leaders read about…or hear about…great churches doing great things…and we fall in love with their vision and their flock. We try to reproduce that in our own communities with our own churches…and deep down I feel that is a sin. When I say sin I mean as in the actual disobedience of not following God’s revelation in our lives. He calls us to be at work in our community in the way in which He guides us…and we ignore that to chase the latest, greatest church strategy concept so we can sit at the cool kid’s table at a pastor’s conferences. You can’t call it anything else but sin.
True Kingdom growth by the church you lead can only come from true vision provided by God. It took me three years to learn to put down the latest business leadership book, turn off the church growth podcast on my iPod, switch off the growth strategy DVD on my television, set aside the church leadership seminar notes, attend a few less pastor’s conferences…and just take a bunch of time to get with God…and listen.
Church growth is easy…Kingdom growth entails following God…and God alone!!!