Monday, 20 October 2008

Growing or swapping?

An interesting comment was made at a local inter-church meeting recently where another church leader in the town of a large church suggested that even though some of the Churches in the town look like they are growing, overall it is just transfer growth between the different churches and not the kingdom growing overall.

I do believe that sometimes this is the case, but even so, it felt very wide of the mark.

Just a quick scan through our Church directory shows me 52 people who have come to our Church via the Alpha Course as previously unchurched or backslidden Christians.

Most new members are either recently moved to the area, come to faith within our Church outreach, or have grown up in the Church and come to faith as teenagers. Two of those mean the kingdom is growing!

It just seemed a bit odd, as a way of trying to spark people into a greater urgency for mission, to imply the fruit we already see is not really fruit at all. I wonder why people seem to look for negatives to spur a reaction, rather than set a positive agenda for mission to which people can give their lives?


Peter Kirk said...

Perhaps your other church leader was thinking of those you refer to as "backslidden Christians", who may be former members of his or her church. Well, you can understand their disappointment about that, but it is essentially their own fault for not caring for their own sheep, for allowing them to backslide to the extent that they when they do return to faith they don't want to go back to the original church.

Nevertheless I think we should allow that in a healthy situation there will be some people who choose to move from church to church, for good reasons or even for bad ones, and not condemn them for it, still less condemn the church they are moving to as long as it is not actively recruiting such people.

dave bish said...

...the same mindset that uses law to bring repentance rather than showing people Jesus to bring about that effect??

Blue, with a hint of amber said...

I don't think it was about backsliders Peter, it was not that directly aimed at our Church as there were over 10 Churches represented. Nor have the people I described as backsliders been involved with other local churches, but have Christian faith from years ago, often childhood in different places.

I do agree that some movement between churches can be a positive thing.

It just seemed a bit odd that to encourage missional activity they chose to pour scorn on current missional activity.

I don't think I would have minded had the assumption been true!

Jongudmund said...

what this does show is why you should keep a membership list and review it. t'is easy to make such an assertion and if there was no way of refuting it, then it would go down in the record as 'fact'.

so kudos to you for being a statto.