In the previous newsletter I raised the ominous specter that (mathematically speaking) there are 3 things and only three things, which determine whether your church attendance will go up, down or remain on an ineffective plateau in the future. We call these your church's Leading Growth Indicators. "Seriously," you ask? Can the Church of Jesus Christ, headed the Sovereign of the universe, be relegated to three mathematical factors? Before you bristle with your sovereignty of God theology, let me say that I am a man of Faith that believes that God can do all things. But when it comes to math we are dealing with an absolute language of God.
Let me illustrate. You can believe with all your heart that you should have more money in your checking account at the end of the month but the math does not lie. Your faith changes nothing. This kind of blind faith is useless in the face of incontrovertible facts. If you put so much into your account and took so much out there will always be only so much money left in your account. The same is true with church attendance. If you attract so many new regular church attendees and you lose a certain number of your congregation out the back door, you can "take it to the bank" that there will be only be so many people attending your church at the end of a year.
What about God's absolute Sovereignty? God is not going to unravel the fabric of the universe to grow your church. What God may choose to do, in His sovereign power, is to draw large numbers of visitors into your church in ways that are inexplicable. God could move on the hearts of those who would leave and cause them to stay. If you are in the midst of a sovereign move of God, rejoice! If you are not, then you may want to pay attention to your Church's Leading Growth Indicators. These are the things that you can do to attract, connect and integrate people to close the back door of your church.
When I think of the sovereignty of God in motion I think of how God can anoint the mind of a church leader with brilliant ideas that enable the church to do a better job attracting, connecting, integrating and keeping people connected to the Body of Christ. God's genius is only an instantaneous thought away. We do well to delineate between the things that God has promised to do, the things He can do and the things that He has called us to do.
God has handed over the administration of His church to called and chosen leaders. Below I share 5 biblical principles of church administration, excerpted from the Optimized Church. In our next issue we will dive into the practical aspects of your Church's Leading Growth Indicators.
1.) The Leader's Role in Temple Building Administration
"this gracious work, which is being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself" 2 Cor. 8.19
Lesson: Good administrators don't take personal credit, but give all the glory to God. It's all God's grace!
2.) The Role of the Spirit’s Anointing in Administration
“God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations…” 1 Cor. 12.28
Lesson: Good administrators have a sense of divine appointment and actively seek the Spirit’s anointing. God anoints godly administrators.
3.) The Leader’s Focus in Administration
“nor to pay attention to…mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God” 1 Tim. 1.4
Lesson: Good administrators focus their attention on the primary issues that advance the Kingdom of God. They avoid the great many distractions that can waste Kingdom resources.
4.) The Urgent Need for Superior Administration
“with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times” Eph. 1.10
Lesson: Good administrators retain a sense of urgency, knowing that Jesus may return for His Church at any moment. Kingdom work is not just a job, it is a Spirit-enflamed passion.
5.) The Need for High Integrity in Administration
“taking precaution so that no one will discredit us in our administration” 2 Cor. 8.20
Lesson: Good administrators live worthy of the Spirit’s anointing. A church’s influence can never exceed its reputation.