The seeker-driven church movement may have a formula for drawing a crowd but don’t for a second think it means they’re drawing people to Christ. Countless people are attracted to programs, entertainment, and even the casual nature of anything deemed “worship.”
I recently met a pastor in passing who offered me encouragement regarding our upcoming church plant. He pastors a massive church (several thousand) so he took the opportunity to overflow some of his wisdom in our direction.
After the brief conversation, I quickly realized that his methods weren’t exactly going to help me grow a church spiritually, but they would certainly help me launch a social club. Here are 4 of his heavy-hitting growth tactics:
- Drop all churchy language. The Bible is old and dated. Try to use slang whenever you can.
- Play golf with influencers more than you study. Preaching doesn’t matter, just use sermons from other preachers and focus on hanging out with people. Playing golf with influencers grows the church. Preaching isn’t that important.
- Put sports on all the TVs around the church campus if you have one. Men will come to church and hang out for that.
- Make children’s ministry a party. If the kids have fun everyone comes back.
In that list (which is not exaggerated), there are a few ideas that aren’t bad. Golf is a great chance to bond with brothers, we all want children to enjoy church, and some pastors would do well to explain things in simpler language. But, that’s not the driving motive behind advice like this. The goal of this advice is church growth. It’s pragmatism; the idea that if it works it must be good. Or in the church world: if it works it must be God. In this sphere of thinking the Bible is a footnote, Jesus is a good luck charm, and the church is a social gathering for suburb folks who dabble in soft moralism.
Is that what Jesus died for? Is that what discipleship is? Did He call His Church to turn on the playoffs to make His house more attractive?