Sunday, March 2, 2008

Growth vs. Death

I’ve been talking with people from a couple of churches over the last month or two. During a number of conversations I’ve been asked repeatedly various forms of the same question. Boiled down to its simplest form the question is:

“Why do some churches grow and others die?”

I’ve tried to answer this question several different times but I think each time I’ve failed. I’ve talked about a consumer mentality and the pros and cons of developing a church around this modernity model. And this seems to be more confusing then helpful.

I have been thinking about how to answer this all-important question and I’ll take another swing at this I’ll try to answer this again.

Jesus Christ took on flesh and dwelt among us. Theologians call this the vertical incarnation of Jesus Christ. After He rose from the dead he told us that we were to be his representatives here on earth until His return. We are called the body of Christ, with Christ as the head. As the body of Christ here on earth until His return we are the horizontal incarnation of Christ. It has been said that we are the only Christ that some people will ever see on this world.

As such the reason that some churches grow is because they embody Christ here in this world. While the churches that are dying have forgotten how to be the body. Oh they are still going through the motions but their focus is inward and not outward.

What is the difference?

Inwardly focused people are usually busily fighting each. Quite often these believers are fighting and dying on a mound of nonessentials. (Think worship styles, dress codes, Bible versions, carpet color… you fill in the rest of the blanks)

Outwardly focused believers are willing to die on the mount of nonnegotiables. They are willing to be Christ to those who are the disenfranchised and the people who need the touch of Christ’s love.

Learning to be the Body of Christ,

Dr. Val

1 comment:

Ardell said...

I think you nailed it very well in this blog...actually seemed to be an extension of our sermon and Q and A time at First Baptist on March 24th. I was blessed AND convicted by your sermon and tremendously blessed by the music/worship time!