It’s a lot of fun when a church grows. Excitement builds, momentum is contagious, we’re on a roll. But if we are not careful, the roll can turn around and we fall faster than we climbed. That part is not fun – it is pure agony to the leaders who find themselves in a free-fall. Kind of like skydiving sans the parachute.
There are too many stories of churches that blew up with growth, then just blew up.
How do we prevent this shrinkage?
We need a God-given plan.
Some Spirit-filled leaders would argue that planning is the enemy of the Spirit. They would say that when God moves, there is no strategy involved, in fact, strategy puts God in a predictable little box. Here are my thoughts on that issue:
It’s not more spiritual to fly by the seat of your pants!
The Spirit of God seems impulsive but He is not. Nothing is done by Him that has not already been planned out and processed ahead of time. The problem is, He doesn’t always tell us ahead of time. So when He does something big we didn’t know about ahead of time, it feels spontaneous to us. But God is a strategic planner. The genius of creation reveals God as a strategist. Soteriology (the study of salvation) proves it.
Acts 1:8 is church growth strategy. Look at the steps that Jesus lays out:
~Become powerful by being filled with the Spirit.
~To the ends of the earth.
Looks like at least a six steps in the strategy to win the world to Christ. Turns out, the Spirit is a planner. Who da thunk it?
If you want your church to grow, you’d better pray for a Spirit-inspired strategy. If you want to maintain that growth, keep moving forward and build momentum, you’d better work God’s plan. Otherwise you may find yourself in a free-fall that will leave your stomach miles behind.