Faithfulness and Fruitfulness, Growth and Decline

In the introduction to his book, Church in the Making, Ben Arment asks a bold question,

How did church planting become such a spiritual crapshoot?

He points out that when asked why their plant is growing most planters respond by saying, “God is just blessing.” Conversely, when asked why their church is dying most planters say, “God is teaching me a lot right now.” His point is that most planters don’t have a good idea why church plants grow or decline.Faithfulness and Fruitfulness, Growth and Decline

I would argue that the same is true of most pastors, regardless of whether or not they are planters. Trying to pinpoint what is causing growth or decline isn’t easy, but it’s not because we don’t have any ideas. In reality, you can probably pick out 10-20 reasons, but none feel any more influential than the rest. Trying to figure out what is making a church tick is like trying to understand another human being. It has a life of it’s own, and it’s complicated. It has a history. There have been long strings of decisions made that have shaped the church into something today that it wasn’t even a year ago.

Have you ever felt that in your own ministry? Have you ever drove yourself crazy trying to understand the church you serve?

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