When the vision of Crosspoint began, there were 8 adults who gathered in a small group. When Sunday mornings began in 2003, we had 75 people coming on a Sunday. By God’s grace, we’ve grown over the years. In a growing church, there are lies that we can be tempted to believe. I think these hold especially true for churches that were once the average size of an American church (75) but now have grown larger.
In life, if we believe lies, it will lead us toward making assumptions, judgments, or decisions that are false or unwise. This is why it is critical that we identify these potential myths. Here are four lies that we are tempted to believe in a growing church:
People no longer care about you.
As a church grows, especially as it goes past an average attendance of 250 or 300, it is impossible to know all the people, or at bare minimum, difficult to know them all to a certain depth of relationship. When this happens, it can be easy to begin to think, well, ‘now that the church has grown, people no longer care about me.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. We see early in the book of Acts, how even as the church was an immediate mega-church following Pentecost, the believers lived life together. Acts 2:42-47. They may not have known everyone, but they knew some, and that some also knew them. This is why we feel like community with other believers is so vital. It is reflective of the church in Acts, that despite being a growing church, they were intentional about making time for one another, and meeting someone new, and living life together. It is easy to ‘slip through the cracks’ in a growing church, and begin to think that people no longer care about you as an individual. As the Lead Pastor, I can tell you, such a thought is a lie that the devil would love for you to think in order to isolate you. Move toward community, get involved in serving, and build relationships. You are dearly loved, not only by Jesus, but by your church family.
You are no longer needed.
It is easy to fall into the idea or trap that as the church grows, that there are always enough volunteers. We falsely think that if the church gets larger that the need for volunteers goes away. Not true. In fact, proportions just remain the same. As the church grows, ministry grows, which means that it takes more volunteers to serve and help the Body of Christ be its most effective. I’ve talked to friends who lead in churches of over 5,000, and their need to continually invite, equip, and empower volunteers is the same that we experience at Crosspoint. So don’t believe the lie that ‘now that the church has grown, you are no longer needed.’ You are needed, you are gifted, you are invited to come and be a part of something greater, a mission that is eternal!
Sometimes a growing church can also have a growing sense of pride, haughtiness, or arrogance. If not continually submitted to the authority of Jesus, and an awareness of our desperate need for grace, a growing church can begin to look down on smaller churches, as if those smaller churches are not also expanding God’s Kingdom and being faithful. Or a growing church can falsely begin to think that it is because of ‘them’ that they are growing, or ‘their’ great ideas, instead of the growth being an evidence of His grace and work (sometimes despite them). Where the church slowly begins to worship their methods, style, or systems, rather than the Head of the church, Jesus, who the church itself exists for. A growing church must continually be aware of its need for God’s power, and to never grow complacent in thinking that we’ve arrived. Instead, there are still things to improve, develop, and work to be done. All of which is for His glory, and not ours.
The mission is over.
As a church grows, it is easy to begin to think, ‘Well, look at how many people have been reached and impacted.’ And then slowly turn inward. By turning inward, I mean beginning to think the mission is over. That because the local church is functioning and keeping the lights on, that we can now kick back and just make it about us and our needs and wants. Jesus’ commission is go and make disciples is still what we are called to, no matter the attendance size on a Sunday. There are still people to reach. Nations, co-workers, neighbors, children, friends, family members to show and tell of the Good News of Jesus. And until Jesus returns, this is our mission.