We’ve invested a lot into the art and science of church growth in the last 50 years.
It makes me wonder. After such a massive output of time, energy, research and money, have we become like the proverbial man with a hammer who sees everything as a nail?
Is that why church growth is always the go-to answer for every challenge? Because we can’t afford it not to be?
Has church growth become a solution looking for a problem?
To address this question, let’s look back to the early church.
The Early Church – More Like Today Than We Think
Everyone wants to be like the first century church, but from what I can tell, it wasn’t much different from today’s church.
They had large and small churches. Healthy, sick and dead churches. Churches with strong leaders, weak leaders and sinful leaders. They worshiped God imperfectly and fought over theology.
They also had a great deal of variety. The congregations in Jerusalem, Corinth, Laodicea and Ephesus had little in common outside of following scripture and practicing communion and water baptism.
In short, the first century church was not the ideal template for Christian life, theology and worship that many people think it was.
But they did do one thing. They turned the world upside-down. (Acts 17:6 ASV)
It must have been because of their strong teaching on church growth, right?