Church growth is a complex matter. It is seldom caused by just one factor. Anytime you hear a pastor attribute the growth of his church to one single factor, realize that he is either oversimplifying what has occurred, or he may not be recognizing the real reason his church is growing.
Through my interactions with church leaders who’ve taken the Saddleback training, I’ve identified a few basic facts about churches that my staff call “Rick’s Rules of Growth.”
First, there is more than one way to grow a church. I could show you churches that are using strategies exactly opposite of each other, yet both are growing. Some churches grow through their Sunday schools; others use small groups in homes. Some churches grow by using contemporary music; others grow using traditional music. Some growing churches have an organized visitation program; others have never had one.
Second, it takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people. Thank God we’re not all alike! God loves variety. If every church was like all the others we’d only reach one small segment of this world. In just the area of music alone, imagine all the styles of music needed to reach all the different cultures of our world. Every once in a while I hear someone say that all churches should get together under one denomination where we would all be the same. I couldn’t disagree more. I think diversity in style is a strength, not a weakness. God uses different approaches to reach different groups of people. Never confuse methods with the message.
The message must never change, but the methods must change with each new generation.
I’m not talking about churches deviating from biblical truth. The message of Christ must never change. It is, as Jude said, “. . . the truth which God gave, once for all, to his people to keep without change through the years” (Jude 1:3 LB, italics added). Don’t confuse methods with the message. The message must never change, but the methods must change with each new generation.
Third, never criticize what God is blessing, even though it may be a style of ministry that makes you feel uncomfortable. It is amazing to me how God often blesses people I disagree with or don’t understand. So I’ve adopted this attitude: If lives are being changed by the power of Jesus Christ—then I like the way you are doing it!
Warren, Rick (2004). The Purpose Driven- Church: Growth Without Compormising Your Message and Mission (Kindle Locations 752-770). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.