Every congregation that I have ever been privileged to work with as the preacher has expressed the desire to grow numerically. This is good but other things are just as important and ought to be considered also. Not only should each congregation have a desire to grow in numbers but each church ought to desire to grow spiritually as well. One thing for sure, a congregation in its plans and desires must not do one good work while ignoring other works of equal importance. The religious leaders (i.e. leaders of the Jews) had a problem of this very nature as Luke points out – cf. Luke 11:42, “But woe unto you Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and every herb, and pass over justice and the love of God: but these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (ASV)
CORRECT MOTIVES: Whenever any decision by the congregation is made regarding programs and objectives that will increase the membership it is well to remember the statement by Paul – cf. Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, (do) all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (ASV)
This statement by Paul encourages disciples to make sure that the Lord approves any action engaged in by the church. Regardless of the apparent good that a suggested program might do to bring in more numbers to the assemblies, if it is unauthorized by the Lord it must be rejected. Our motives in seeking greater numbers must be pure and scriptural, the increase in the size of the membership is good but if we work purely for selfish reasons our labors will be unacceptable – cf. 1 Corinthians 1:29-31, “that no flesh should glory before God. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
May each Christian put forth maximum effort to build up the membership, remember though, growth consists in more than numbers alone. Real growth consists in numbers, in spirituality, and in maturity. Growth is a desirable concept for the congregation but growth without proper direction and motives cannot be successful. Each congregation may grow but it should grow in all areas noted in our study. As Peter encouraged the Christians to do in – cf. 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him (be) the glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (ASV) Whenever a congregation is growing it ought to be evident that the membership is growing numbers, in spirituality, and in maturity. The Lord is pleased whenever a church is growing, as it should. We surely have a desire to please our Lord, don’t we? May we each contribute of our time, money, and effort so that the church will grow as our Lord and Master would have it grow.