Church growth is a phenomenally popular topic of interest. Follow these ten simple steps and you can quickly plant a successful church in your community!
- Find someone with a great smile, a warm, smooth and engaging personality, and a gift for motivational public speaking and make that person your pastor.
- Be sure that person is young, cool and hip, dresses cool, and says cool and “edgy” things.
- Grant authority to the cool/hip pastor. Require absolute loyalty to the pastor and total commitment to the “leadership vision.”
- Use psychological deviant labeling techniques to marginalize anyone who dares to question the new hip pastor and the leadership vision. “Brand” and market your pastor.
- Preach a nominal, man-centered, gospel whose core message is: “If you just obey well enough, that not only are you guaranteed heaven, but God also guarantees you blessing, health, wealth, and prosperity. He wants to make you great in whatever you do, as long as you obey Him. Never mention suffering or loss for Christ.
- Scapegoat other people. Make those who are different than you your enemy, and claim that God is on your side against them. Wrap it in the flag of your country.
- Identify your market demographic and give the people what they want: nurseries for their children, youth group for their youth, latte bars for their habits, paved parking lots for their cars . . .
- Ask little, provide much: work the faithful 20% like dogs to meet the needs of the freeloading 80%.[i]
- Threaten people with God’s curse if they don’t tithe, and with one hundred fold riches if they do. Fear and greed are great motivators.
- Have a top-notch worship band with state of the art sound, light, and technology. Provide a “hot worship experience” that feeds into psychic co-dependent narcissism, and call it “experiencing the presence of the Lord.”
Follow these steps, and I guarantee that phenomenal church growth will be yours and you will quickly build a successful ministry. Or you can follow in the footsteps of others:
John the Baptist – beheaded.
Jesus – abandoned, rejected, and crucified.
Paul – abandoned, rejected, alone, rotting in jail and executed.
When we conflate cultural values of success with kingdom definition of values and success, we are in deep, deep trouble. Smallness is not necessarily intrinsically holy, and largeness is not necessarily de facto success.
[i] The Pareto Principle is sometimes better known as the 80-20 rule. Pareto applied his understanding in a business model. I believe it is not only confined to business, but is a human behavioral reality. I have found that as a rule, it applies in every area of collective human effort: only twenty percent of the group sustains the effort of the whole. The other eighty-percent are coasting— riding on the effort and resources of the other twenty-percent. I have personally found this to be spot on in churches also. A fascinating study done by Lifeway Research confirms this to the decimal point! After surveying 1,200 mega-churches, they found that within two years, eighty percent of those who had taken the membership classes were no longer present! Only twenty percent sustain the organization!
This blog post is an excerpt from our book, The New Testament Prophet: Understanding the Mind, Temperament, and Calling. It is available in Kindle, E-pub and softcover at www.stevecrosby.com and on Amazon.com.
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