Natural Church Development


When I have taught Church Growth principles I have found it helpful to look at Acts 2:41-47 and the variety of growth types indicated in these verses. You will find: Growing up in verse 42, individuals growing into a mature relationship with God; Growing together in verse 44, in great generosity and spiritual gifts; Growing out in verse 47a, into the community; Growing more in verse 47b, as the numbers increase. The problem has been that Church Growth thinking has been caricatured as relating only to the last of these, although a careful reading of the Church Growth books shows that there always was far more than this. I think the problem is that many have been threatened by the thinking, which says that numerical growth should take place and that God calls us to fruitfulness, especially in Europe where the church has declined for more than 50 years. However, anyone who only concentrates on ‘bums on seats’ is missing an important part of God’s purposes for his kingdom. He desires growth in every dimension, not just numerical!