From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. – Ephesians 4:16 NIV
Church growth is a major area of discussion and debate in Christian circles today. There are any number of ideas, sometimes conflicting, on how to grow and maintain a healthy church. I went to Christianbook.com and searched for ‘Church Growth’ and was given a list of 6,226 books. Looking through the list it is not apparent that all of them actually dealt with church growth, but most of them seemed to. Clearly there has been a lot written about the subject.
Paul had some things to say to us about church growth as well. Ephesians 4:11-16 provides a succinct guide to how a church should grow, with the key being found in verse 16. First, and most importantly, is the body is connected to its head. If Christ is not the head of a church, then is it even a real church? It is from Christ that we receive life and direction. Without him we are dead and directionless.
The second key to church growth is that each member of the body has been trained and is effectively doing their part. None of us are called to just keep a pew warm on Sunday morning. All of us have been called to serve, and the body will only be whole when all of us are doing what God has called us to do.
There can be any number of reasons why a church is not healthy and growing. But the first place to examine should always be self. Am I doing what Christ has called me to do within his body. If not, then I am at least partially at fault.