Church Growth and finances

"Normal church growth is not really limited by lack of financial resources or physical facilities. We do not find Paul complaining that more could be accomplished if only more funds were available. Nor is there any evidences that the early church was hindered in its growth by its lack of church buildings. If anything, the opposite is true. Heavy financial investment in buildings, property and programs intended to facilitate church growth often becomes a limiting factor. Emphasis is shifted to these things and the vision for ministering the Gospel simply and directly to persons is dimmed or lost altogether."

( from page 120 of The Community of the King, by Howard Snyder.)

I attended a meeting a while back where it was stated that $200,000.00 was required to start a new church! It looks like Snyder here made a valid point. How can we convince our fellow believers that this was never the New Testament model?

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Replies (2)
    • I've been thinking a lot recently about how cultural influence has impacted how the church operates. Consider the Sabbath as an example. At what point did God switch the seventh day of the week for the first? While we do indeed see the early church gathering together on the first day of the week, does this mean that they stopped resting on the seventh day? I can't seem to find any evidence that they did.

      Perhaps a more extreme example of cultural influence is how decisions are made in the church. My experience has been that most churches use some form of Robert's Rules and majority rule to make decisions, but as far as I can tell this does not fit the command for unity in the church. Oftentimes majority rule leads to decision making based on coercion, threats, or good-old pork barrel politics rather than decisions made for the sake of glorifying God and unifying His church.

      The only remedy that I see comes from Jesus Himself when He says in John 10:27-28 that "27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." I have completely lost any interest in fighting with anyone over church matters. Whether God uses these other churches for the purpose of His salvation is up to Him. What I do know is that that when we share the true Gospel of Christ then the sheep will hear His voice and follow. Jesus has made this promise.

      So to directly answer your question of "How can we convince our fellow believers that this was never the New Testament model?"... I'm not sure that we can or should. I very much appreciate the sentiment behind your question and your desire to change hearts to Christ. When someone tells me that they need a couple hundred grand for a new building then that tells me that they are worshipping the facility and those who gather there more than Jesus. If we are teaching the Gospel without all of the "extras" and their hearts are so inclined to hear it then praise be to God for His mighty work! But until God acts, I think that all we can do is to demonstrate how it should be done through our words and actions.

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      • Hi readers. Hi Dan. Hi there Todd. The evidence for the change of the Sabbath to Sunday also looks rather scanty to me. I hope you will share your thoughts in a separate thread here in the discussions.

        Regardless, God made a special day for our benefit. Why would we not want to pursue such a gift and learn more about it?

        To your point, culture is indeed dominating the church rather the followers of Jesus being the light of the world and salt of the earth.

            Let us bow in prayer...

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