Church growth is a popular seller these days. There are experts who can tell you what your church needs to do to make it to the next level. Is this how God intended to grow His kingdom?
As we continue looking at the Gospel of Mark, we’ll see how Jesus grew the ministry. It’s something that we need to take to heart.
Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was.
What was the Lord’s plan? It seems counter-intuitive to how things are done in our generation. He withdrew to a place that was a distance from the city. Yet in spite of that, the crowds came to where He was.
There are two things that I see happening in this passage that are directly applicable to the church of our generation. They deal with the attitudes in the whole church growth movement.
You may think that I’m preaching against church growth consultants – I’m not. There is a place for them. Churches need to know the trends that are taking place in our society.
If my church isn’t speaking the same social language as the society around me, then they’ll never hear or understand the message of Christ. Jesus told His disciples to have a boat ready so that the people wouldn’t crowd Him. He knew that in order for the message to be communicated, there had to be order.
So a consultant’s job is to coach a church in how to effectively speak to the society around them. What needs to be in place for the message of Christ to be clearly understood by the community?
The problem is when a church uses a consultant to show them how to attract people. When we think that our look, sound, or childcare services will bring people in; now we’ve missed the whole point. They didn’t come to Jesus because He had the boat ready, or that He used a great ad campaign.
This passage clearly tells us that people came from all over because they heard what the Lord was doing. The sick were being healed. Those oppressed by the enemy were being delivered. The Good News was being preached.
Unfortunately, it’s a harder road to see a manifestation of the Spirit. Healings, signs, wonders, and miracles only come from time spent in the Spirit. It’s easier to build a new nursery than to spend a month in prayer and fasting.
Jesus pressed in to hear the Father’s voice. He then obeyed what He heard. The results were a supernatural ministry with a Holy Spirit marketing campaign.
Yes, He had to train His disciples in crowd control. He had to make sure the boat was ready so He could preach unhindered. But it was the power of the Holy Spirit that drew the crowds.
Our generation needs more churches that do both. We need a polished look that speaks to our society. But we also need to do what it takes to walk in the manifestation of the power of God.
Question: How have you seen church growth through the power of God?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi