Feeding the 5,000...

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(Tim, w/thanks to someone I can't remember) Speaking of numbers and growth and success, another speaker at Acts 29's Lead Pastors Conference in Boulder was church growth brainiac, Ed Stetzer. For about a week, now, I've had an open tab in my Firefox window marking a recent article by Ed summarizing findings of a study he led of today's most sucessful churches. The research, funded by the Southern Baptists' Lifeway Research, is titled, "OUTREACH 100: Largest and Fastest-Growing Churches in America."

Ed introduces his summary this way:

New sites, new buildings, regional population increases, and even

new leadership served as growth catalysts for many of the churches on

both lists. In many cases, these factors contributed to rapid growth.

On the following pages, we explore these trends and look at some of the

churches on the list representing these growth factors.

We aren’t advocating that other churches and leaders mimic or seek

to duplicate these congregations. Contextualization for your church and

community is key. Nor are we indicting any churches that aren’t

currently growing or aren’t on these lists. Just as many factors

converge to ignite rapid growth, and multiple issues can also limit

growth. Remember that ultimately, all healthy church growth is ordered

by God; He causes the church to grow (2 Cor. 3:6).

Pastors aren't buying church growth books, reading church growth magazines, watching church growth videos, or visiting church growth web sites because these media "aren't advocating (that they) mimic or seek to duplicate these congregations." And be assured that they are ashamed for their failure to make their own church grow; they are ashamed that their church is not being studied, not being written about, or not making anyone's list.

Pro forma disclaimers don't cut it in this money and influence peddling business that tells us to "Remember... God causes the church to grow."