To work for the Church is a privilege, but to participate in its growth should be our great priority. When I say “growth of the church,” I mean its financial, geographical, spiritual, cognitive, and numeric development. It is good to see a church growing in a healthy and balanced way. When this happens, the church has more financial means, more established congregations, and happier members who participate in soul-winning for Christ. God wants to see His church grow.

So why do some churches grow while others don’t? I believe that ministers, local leaders, and members expect growth. What is the best method or strategy for church growth? Is there a miraculous methodology or formula that can be applied to make a church explode in growth? Motivated by this desire, some look for growing churches to learn what they are doing, what strategies they are using. In this passionate search for a “magic method,” the basic principles that produce such growth go unnoticed. 

In today’s world of Christian religions, many churches employ different methods and styles. Some focus on the use of a more contemporary and technological liturgy. Others attract people through their charismatic worship services. Small-group worship is popular with some, while others try to maintain their traditional programs while dreaming about church growth.

What is surprising is that while some churches use good methods, they do not grow. This leads us to conclude that methods and strategies alone cannot bring about church growth. To copy a model that is working well in one place does not guarantee that it will work in another.

In the book Natural Church Development, Christian Schwarz considers that however we may imitate a particular church model, we should study many churches to discover in all of them the universal principles relevant to growth. A model is a concept that shows one church, somewhere in the world, that has experienced positive growth. A principle is something that can be applied to all churches everywhere.

The key words for the church of the 21st century are “healthy church,” not “church growth.” It is not only focusing on the growth need or utilizing different methods that will make the church grow by itself. When a church is healthy, it grows naturally in all areas in a balanced manner. The question we should be asking is not “What makes a church grow?” but “What is preventing it from being healthy?” In God’s sight, this church was born to grow, and He gave all that was needed for growth to happen.

Is your church growing? Remember that if a church is healthy, it will surely grow.

Jonas Arrais
General Conference Associate Ministerial Secretary