Recently I Tweeted a link to an article that I found helpful:
— Mark McIntyre (@mhmcintyre) March 6, 2016
I thought I would take a few moments and capture some thoughts in response to this article by Jarod Wilson.
First, I would agree with what Jarod lists as three “Marks of Neutrality.” I have been in large churches that had thousands on a Sunday and almost no real body life. In the largest of these churches, one could tell when the main pastor was not preaching because there would be 30 – 50% fewer cars in the parking lot. Too many people were coming to hear a big name preacher and were not coming to experience real fellowship.
My second thought is that to develop the “5 Distinguishing Marks” requires the church leadership to be intentional about all these areas. These marks need to be modeled by the pastoral staff and lay leadership for them to be part of the DNA of a church body. If the leadership is not committed to these, they will not be engendered in the church.
My third, and last, thought is that the six diagnostic questions Mr. Wilson gives at the end of the article are worth asking. If you are a church leader, these would be good to discuss in your next elder board meeting.
These questions present a challenge, especially in the overly-busy 21st Century. To develop these traits takes time. It takes time for the leadership to provide the opportunities for discipleship. It takes time for the disciplers to get trained. It takes time for the disciplers to disciple. Time is the one thing on which most of us continually run short.
No matter how well your church is doing in these areas, there is always room for growth.
For a plant to sustain itself, its root system must be deep enough and strong enough to support the growth. Churches are no different. If we want to sustain the numerical growth, the people that are already there need to be growing deeper in their relationship with God and others.
It doesn’t take very much drought to wilt a plant with weak roots.