Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | March 6, 2015

March 6, 2015 Whose Church Is It Anyway?

‘I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.’ (Matthew 16:18)

“And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47)

Good Morning Everyone, and Blessings to you all!

In my nearly forty years of ministry, I have enjoyed the privilege of serving sixteen churches in eight different states in worship leadership as a “teaching elder”, as the denomination in which I serve designates my role, or “pastor”, which is a more familiar title to most. Quite often I have been asked the question, “What can we do to grow our church? More specifically, the question is, “What can YOU do to grow our church?”  Typically, what is meant by this query is, “How do we (or how will you), get more people to affiliate with our church?” Literally scores, perhaps hundreds, of books have been published endeavoring to address this topic. While I understand that nearly every church has a desire to become more influential and numerically larger, thereby increasing the scope of its ministry, or perhaps less ambitiously, remaining viable, I think the assumption of the question is wrong from the outset. The question I would ask in response is “Whose church is this anyway?” People who choose to affiliate with a particular church typically do so because it has a family feel, or great music, or a dynamic pastor. Some attend because of proximity to their home. Others go because they were raised in that particular church community. Some attend because it is large and easy to remain fairly anonymous to the throngs attending. Still others are attracted by a particular style of worship. If so inclined, some may invite others to attend”their” church this next Lord’s day. All of this is well and good (well not all of it), but it fails to answer the question ““Whose church is it anyway”? It really isn’t “my church” or “your church”. When addressing Peter, Jesus clearly states that it is “His Church”, and will be built on the Rock. What was this “Rock” that Jesus mentions? It is the “Rock” of Peter’s declaration “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 15:16). Numerical growth, financial growth, great music, not even eloquent preaching were on Jesus’ agenda for church growth, but simply the faithful proclamation of the towering reality of his Lordship.

When the Church was formed after Pentecost, we read that the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” True Church growth is Christ’s doing, and it is He that adds to the number of those that are being saved. So what is our role in all of this? Faithful proclamation of the Gospel in word and in deed…unwavering adherence to the testimony that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Adherence to the testimony manifests itself in the things we say and do individually. It is not simply the purview of the pastor, or the church elders or the worship leaders. Be faithful in word and in deed and let the Lord choose who will be added to the number of those being saved. Pastor Chuck Swindoll made this observation that I found helpful in considering this. He said,

“We want a crowd to make us feel important and liked. But why is getting a crowd our focus? Jesus never suggested that crowds were the goal. He never addresses getting your church to grow. Never.”

Jesus’ agenda was not that we figure out new and contemporary ways to grow the church to which we belong. He takes care of that, because it’s His Church. It is not “our church”. Rather, we ARE the Church. his bride, and He’ll see to it that we will grow as we remain faithful to the Rock of the declaration, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  Let’s pray!

Lord of All; Continue to build Your Church. Continue to add to that number daily those being saved by their response to the great message of salvation we have been commissioned to proclaim. This we pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen!

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