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5 Wrong Motives for Church Growth

Wrong Motives for Church Growth

So you want your church to grow. Wonderful.

Here’s a challenging question: why?

Your motivation for wanting your church to grow is important for several reasons.

First, it’s the church. It’s not your church, it’s God’s. And one day you’ll give an account to God for what you did with what he entrusted to you and why you did it.

Second, ultimately, I think people can tell. Eventually, people can tell whether you care about them or whether you’re using them.

Third, it’s an integrity issue. Integrity ultimately determines whether what you build stands, in the same way that a house with structural integrity will stand over the years.

Wanting your church to grow isn’t a bad thing. Passion for the mission means passion for growth. And the purest motive in leadership will be simply that you want people to come to know the love, forgiveness and fullness of life in Jesus Christ.

Yet not everyone wants their church to grow for noble reasons.

How do you know where you stand? Here are five false motives to watch for.

Just because you struggle with them doesn’t mean you’ll succumb to them. But if you recognize them for what they are, you can identify them, confess them and kill them before they ruin a good thing.

1. Pride

Is pride driving your desire to see your church grow? That can be tough to answer accurately.

Pride is like greed; it rarely shows itself in the mirror.

How would you know if pride is driving your desire to grow? Just watch what happens when you grow or don’t grow. As Tim Keller says, if growth has become an idol to you, success will go to your head and failure will go to your heart.

Proud leaders do great as long as everything is moving up and to the right, but if things turn, they almost can’t stand the outcome because it crushes them.

A humble leader can lead in time of failure, stagnation and success.

Humility separates what you do from who you are. Pride never does.

2. Competition

Some leaders want their church to grow because they need to be the best—to be the brightest, fastest or on top.

There’s a world of difference between wanting to do your best and wanting to be the best.

Competition is an inferior motive for growth not just because it’s linked to pride, but because it diminishes the contribution of all others as ‘inferior.’ Leaders who always want to be first usually take delight in the fact that others are second.

And that stinks. Especially for a Christian.

Competitive leaders feel they have to be the best.

Healthy leaders simply want to do their best. (Sometimes, that even lands them at Number One.)

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Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.