A thought just came to my mind about church growth. I know there are quite a few 'mega' churches around and I have to wonder what the health of such churches is. My concern is with the methods that are employed to 'grow a church'.
Around the turn of the last century, there was the thought of churches not growing very well, so a principle was adopted that had to do with making the Gospel more palatable. The leaders thought that if they could get away from teaching about hell, sin, and the judgment to come, then people would start coming to their churches, and then their churches would grow.
We have to wonder if this is a Biblical principle on growing a church though. Let's say it did work. There are now a lot of people coming to the church because they feel more comfortable than they did before. Do you ever get to the place where you actually do teach the Gospel? When would that be? Let's say the size of the congregation doubled. Do you take the chance of having most of those people leave if you start to preach the Gospel? Maybe the goal is simply to have a large church. If that is the goal, will the people ever hear the Gospel? Which is better; people hear the Gospel and get saved (but at the risk of losing many people in the church) or having lots and lots of people in the church, who never hear the Gospel, but it makes the pastor look good because now his church (or he thinks it is his church) has a lot of people under him? Whose church is it really?
Would it be better to have a group of people who are part of that particular church, to be active members because of their love for the Gospel, or would it be better to have a larger group of people there, really not united under anything, but who are part of a specific church because they don't feel the pressure of hearing about a God who will judge them for their sins? If I were a pastor of a church, I would certainly want people to be there who wanted to be there because of their love for God and their desire to be changed by the grace of God. If someone is attending the church and doesn't like hearing the truths of God's word, then he can leave and go somewhere else. There are plenty of other churches available that won't be upsetting to him.