Don't Rock The Boat
The Lord always has been more interested in quality than quantity. What's in the hearts of the people in the pews is more important than how many people are warming the pews. God gave Gideon a sobering lesson in church growth, taking him from 32,000 members clear down to 300. Again, God was looking for quality.
One philosophy that has successfully driven church growth is "seeker friendly" services. Give the people what they want, and avoid anything that might disturb their equilibrium. That way the church service can be conducted in a way that appeals directly to the felt needs of the people who have been drawn in. Obviously, if its numbers you're after, this system works. Unfortunately, what people feel they need doesn't always correspond to what they actually need.
Jesus testified that there was no greater born of men than John the Baptist. Was John seeker friendly? Let's see how he did evangelism.
"But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Matt. 3:7.
Is that any way to build up your baptismal class? John's call was not to develop the largest congregation in Jerusalem, but to prepare a people for the soon coming of the Lord. We have an identical call on our ministry today.
Play It Safe
Another surefire way to increase membership rolls is to "play everything safe" when it comes to worship. Don't ever do anything that might offend someone; they might not return.
We are not here in this world to play it safe. Serving God wholeheartedly has never been the safest course to pursue. In fact, it often can lead to martyrdom. Let's take careful note of Christ's first recorded worship service after he came out of the wilderness of temptation.
"And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about." Luke 4:14, 15.
Everyone was praising Christ. Isn't that what we all crave? Isn't that worth playing it safe for? But one factor was a foretoken of trouble ahead¾ Jesus was newly anointed by the Holy Spirit. The Comforter has never proven to be a real comfort to mere pew warmers.
When Jesus stood up and read from the scroll of Isaiah he was still on safe ground.
"And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?" Verse 22.
But then Christ blew it. He dared to make a clear application of the Scripture just read.
"And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country." ¾ meaning, Why don't you do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum?
"And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country."
"And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong." Verses 23, 24, 28, 29.