Quality Or Quantity?
Denver L. Thomas
Seemingly, one of the measures of success of any church is the size of its membership. Larger is purported to be better. The idea of church growth is certainly a noble one and one that should be pursued vigorously. God does not want anyone to be lost, as we read in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” The church growth that God desires leads not only to numerical growth but also to spiritual growth resulting in higher quality followers.
However, in modern times, church leadership is prone to search out ways and means for attaining numerical growth even though such may be in conflict with the Holy Scriptures. Often times, more effort is exerted in attaining numerical growth than spiritual growth. Adding mechanical instruments of music has become all too common even in the Lord’s church. Choirs are known to replace congregational singing in some instances. Offering communion on days other than the first day of the week is gaining broader acceptance throughout the religious community. Movies, drama, and various other forms of entertainment are being employed to draw larger and larger crowds. Attending worship service was never meant to be for the entertainment of the membership. The world provides entertainment in many forms for those who have the need for such. Not to be overlooked by those who seek ways to attain numerical growth is the added attraction of the acceptance of women in leadership roles in worship services.
Any means other than what the scripture allows will not meet with the approval of the Great Judge on that great day. We must remember that worship acceptable to God is worshipping Him in His way and only in His way (John 4:24). Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” From this we can be sure that the way to Heaven is in doing Bible things Bible ways.
We generally agree to “five items of worship,” and we have scripture for each. We sing (Ephesians 5:19 & Colossians 3:16), we pray (1 Corinthians 14:15, Philippians 4:6, 1 Timothy 2:1ff, James 5:16 & 1 Peter 3:12), we teach (2 Timothy 2:1-2, 15-16, 4:1-2), we commune (Acts 20:7 & 1 Corinthians 11:23ff), and we give (1 Corinthians 16:1-2 & 2 Corinthians 9:7).
The Bible warns against altering what God has set forth (Deuteronomy 4:1-2 & Revelation 22:18-19). God has given us all we need in order to go to Heaven when this life is over, and it is our choice either to obey or to disobey. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Hebrews 6:1-2 tells us, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”
While numerical church growth is highly desirable, spiritual growth in the followers of Christ is much more to be desired. God would surely prefer quality above quantity in those that choose to follow Him. Revelation 2 and 3 provide us with some observations regarding seven first century churches and what was recommended if they were to be acceptable in His sight. It is highly significant that the critique addressed quality and not quantity. After all, what we do must meet His approval if it is to be acceptable to Him! -PO Box 821, Milton, WV 25541-0821. DleeT@aol.com
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