Grow your church quick: just another get rich quick scheme

We see them everyday. Signs, ads, commercials for stuff that is too good to be true. The majority of scams and schemes out there tell you they can make you an over night success. Many people believe these infomercials, emails, and websites, because they desire so badly to get rich quick. Others usually refer to these people ignorant, foolish, simple-minded, etc. Here are a few verses dealing with obtaining wealth.

Proverbs 23:4
Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it.

Proverbs 28:19-20
He who tills his land will have plenty of food, but he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty. A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 14:15
The naive believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps.

Now back to my title. What does this have to do with church? I believe the great majority of church leaders and pastors are falling for a spiritual version of the get rich quick scheme: grow you church quick. We watch videos about huge mega churches building new campuses and begin to desire to see our ministry do the same. We start reading about what other churches have done, and attempt to mimic their “success.” Millions of dollars are spent every year on book, conferences, resources, etc to show us how to grow our churches quickly. Don’t misunderstand me here, I am all for books, conferences and bettering ourselves and our ministries, but I am afraid many are walking away convinced success, growth, increase, can be built up in a year. Am i saying God can’t grow your church? No. Am I saying God doesn’t want to increase the kingdom? No. I am saying if we aren’t careful we’ll get so caught up in the “stuff” that goes along with growth, we’ll start chasing growth, buildings, success, and everything else except the main thing: growing the kingdom. Here’s my point: when a person starts trusting a scam, they start making poor decisions. When we as leaders start trusting in programs, ideas, processes instead of the power of the Holy Spirit, we will start making unwise decisions.

What is the goal? To grow the Kingdom? Let’s ask a tough question. For the kingdom to grow does your church have to have a 5 million dollar sanctuary? Or could your church send 100 missionaries and 5 million dollars around the world and do more for the kingdom? Kingdom mindedness takes the emphasis, glory, pride, possessions, away from us.

The sobering truth is this: anything worthwhile, takes a while. Apple, Microsoft, GE, Toyota, and Walmart didn’t become huge companies in one year, it took real hard work over a long period of time (sometimes generations). The hard truth is: impact takes time. People who want to get rich quick are always changing their minds. One day they want to start a business, the next they want to invest in a penny stock. They don’t stay focused on one thing long enough for it to work out for them. Many churches are acting the same way. One year the push is Upward sports, until it gets tough to find workers and growth didn’t happen as quickly as they’d hoped. The next year their main push is starting a new ministry (a new banner and cool name is all you need right?). The following year they quit that and start a TV ministry, but as that gets expensive and again nothing happens immediately, so they bail on it too. Ministry shouldn’t be a multiple personality disorder. It only shows our weakness for desiring quick easy success. There is nothing wrong with trying new things, but our generation is so addicted to instant gratification that we simply aren’t willing to wait on God to move and grow His church. We feel we must DO something NOW.  Our mission should remain unchanged as we use new methods over the long haul to grow the kingdom of God. Besides Jesus said He would build His church, so why do we exhaust ourselves attempting to do what only He can do?

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What the Burrito taught me about church

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burrito loco- basically a fajita burrito smothered in white cheese

Casie and I recently discovered this awesome little mexican joint in Chesapeake called Rancho Grande. We tried the Burrito Loco-easily the best piece of mexican food I have ever eaten. Casie and I were enjoying our meal when I thought, “this is my new place for mexican.” My mind is always on church planting, so I got to thinking about this burrito in relation to church. Three ideas came to mind.

1. Location and facilities are over-rated.

The place wasn’t the hippest, most modern restaurant in the newest development in town. It was a simple little mexican restaurant with great service and excellent food. Too often churches and church people convince themselves that their church would grow if they just had a better location, or a bigger better building with all the bells and whistles. People will look past your facilities’ shortcomings if you have something to offer them spiritually and relationally.

2. Friendly service is a must, when dealing with people.

Rancho Grande gets you seated fast, and before you know it there is a bowl of chips some salsa and a drink within arm’s reach. But most importantly, the servers and staff are extremely friendly. I have had great service many times, but friendly service is a rarity these days. Sometimes I find myself so focused on getting the service ready on Sundays that before I know it, I have walked right by visitors and regulars in such a hurry I fail to greet them. People are used to churches pulling off great services. What they are looking for is churches that love people in a great way.

3. Most importantly, keep the main thing the main thing-Nothing matters more than the FOOOOD!

If everything else went great and my Burrito Loco sent me home sick, which part do you think I would remember. Rancho Grande does alot of things right, but they keep the main thing the main thing- food. Many churches have gotten so caught up in being the latest, greatest, most high-tech (nothing wrong with these things- we should strive for excellence in everything),  that they have made the main thing the “not-so main thing.” If every aspect of our church is awesome, but we don’t keep the main thing the main thing, we can count on failure. We can’t allow Christ to take a back seat to the tools we use to preach Him. Here’s my point if people come and enjoy themselves but don’t get fed, we haven’t accomplished what God has called us to do. When we keep Christ the main thing, everything else just doesn’t seem to matter as much.

Just my thoughts as I ate an awesome burrito one evening.

I eat really fast

I really enjoy eating, fast...I think it takes me 3-4 minutes to down this burrito

the best feeling

the best feeling- being full of good food