Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Parenting & Churching

What would you say to parents who want to have a large family - they want lots of kids - but they don't want to raise them? They just want the excitement and recognition from being large, noticed, and maybe even envied. I know what you'd say, or what you should say, "You people have no business having children!" Then once you got over your shock and anger with such an irrational perception of parenting, you might back off and say, "You should only have children you are willing to parent and raise with all the love and guidance they deserve."
It is my observation that many of us think just like those "irrational" parents when it comes to "doing church." The worldly church says successful churches must be driven by "Church Growth" principles, and those principles are all about becoming large. Everyone wants to be part of an exciting, growing church, that is the envy of all other churches. And we cover ourselves by saying something like, "Well, we're only interested in numbers because that means more souls." Why do I hear the above parents saying, "We want a lot of children because of all the tax deductions we'll get." Parenting is about growing children into maturity, not about how many children you can have. Parenting is living for the joy of seeing your child grow in "the training and instruction of the Lord." There is no greater sense of thanksgiving and godly pride than "to hear that my children are walking in the truth." (3 Jn.4)
Paul was clear that church leaders have one primary purpose and that is to grow His people to "become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." (Eph.4:11-13) There is, or should be, nothing more fulfilling and satisfying than seeing souls that God put into your guiding hands become mature Christ-like servants of God.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a large church, or being part of a large church, but we MUST NOT LOSE THE PRIMACY AND JOY OF GUIDING MEMBERS TO MATURITY IN CHRIST! Since God is the One who gives the increase, and we are only planters and stewards of the Word, the real secret to "church growth" might be following His plan! Guide, mentor, shepherd, and love members - one at a time - into a deeper walk with God. What might THEY do when you've helped them develop a passion for Jesus! And maybe, just maybe, God is waiting for me, for us, to do the job He's given us before He adds to the work load. And maybe that's why the New Testament talks in terms of Christians coming together for spiritual growth, not "Church Growth."

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