How to Have a Growing Church: Feeding the Real Hunger


A church that provides a steady diet of feel-good sermonettes, in place of solid teaching from Scripture, might eventually become weak and immature.

When my sons Christopher and Jonathan were younger, they never understood why my wife Cathe and I wouldn’t let them exist on a steady diet of cupcakes and chips and junk food. We insisted on a balanced diet, with vegetables, grains, meat, and dairy products.

Why did we do that? Because the boys’ appetites didn’t feed their real, long-term hunger. They didn’t realize that they needed a well-rounded diet to grow and develop properly.

In the same way, a church that provides a steady diet of feel-good sermonettes, in place of solid teaching from Scripture, might eventually grow to become a large congregation — but it will be weak and immature.

Here's a risky rule of church growth: Look for what your church is hungry for, and feed it to them.

It’s easy for pastors to get the idea that their congregation wants church to be light and hassle-free. They respond positively to a feel-good message, and so you keep your messages light and airy. No more heavy meals or five-course messages.

But just because people have developed an appetite for empty calories doesn’t mean their bodies have no need for nutritious meals. There’s a reason Scripture tells pastors to “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13).

Whether they always feel it or not, human beings have a deep need to know the meaning of life and the reason for their existence. The answers people need can be found only in God’s Word and in a living relationship with Jesus, “the bread of life” (John 6:35).

And if churches aren’t willing to give them “meals” that are rich in Scripture, then the congregations will not grow as Christians. Churches that give their congregations nothing but sermonettes will end up with nothing but Christian-ettes.

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