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Evangelistic Church Growth Leavell Center :: Church Health and Evangelism :: Evangelistic Church Growth
"There are church growth principles which will work for anyone ...even cults and secular groups! Evangelistic church growth works by the power of the Holy Spirit and the authority of God's Word."       — Dr. Jim Cogdill

Kinds of growth...

There are many ways to grow any organization. The psychology of human behavior and the study of organizational dynamics have produced volumes of "How to..." books for the secular market, and all but the most manipulative of these theories would appear at first glance to be "port-able" to a church context. Furthermore, many of these theories will consistently produce numerical results.

Growth in a Kingdom context...

But churches (ideally) differ from secular organizations in key and unique ways. 

First of all, we are part of a larger whole. For all the organizational expressions of the church (local churches--affiliated and unaffiliated, associations, state, regional, and national bodies, denominations, para-church and mission organizations, etc.), there exists separately the Body of Christ. That Body of believers both overlaps and is a subset of the people in all the organized expressions of church, since not all members are believers and all believers are not members. 

Secondly, membership growth is only part of a larger process, and not the ultimate goal. The Great Commission specifically tasks us with evangelizing to make disciples. Part of discipleship includes becoming an evangelizer and disciple-maker oneself. So there is a larger process (typically described as reproductive) at work in this concept of church growth.

A common problem within all organizations occurs when the means to a goal becomes the goal itself. The phrase "Kingdom work" (used to describe endeavors which bear results of eternal value and expand the Lordship of Christ among individuals) seems to have become popular as an intentional corrective to this kind of organizational shortsightedness to which busy ministers realize they are susceptible.

It seems always useful to remind ourselves that the task of growing a church is a means to Christ's intent to expand the Kingdom of God. In a Kingdom context, it becomes difficult to accept either decline, plateau, or statistical growth by any means other than adding to the Kingdom.