Look, I have to vent!!! Recently I have several friends in ministry that are pastors that are leaving a church that have blamed them for "NOT growing" the church. Attendance is starting to decline after they have been there for over two years and some church members either starve them out by cutting their pay or start making negative comments to other church members about their performance (in other words, they arent happy and they will get vocal).
Where is the passage that the pastor is supposed to PHYSICALLY grow the church? Someone please show me. My heart breaks for these godly men that spend their weeks preparing the Word of God to preach and teach. They spend time in prayer. They have office hours so that they can be available to answer the phone when people need their pastor. They have sweet wives and children that they sacrifice their time with, in order to serve God and their church.
I read in Ephesians 4 that "equipping the saints" is the priority. My brother in Christ, Bill S, loves to hear me say that because he says he is agreement with me. So the pastor is to "equip" the saints to be MINISTERS AND AMBASSADORS of CHRIST. I have said time and time again, we are not going to have a visitation program at church so that I can give up my Tuesday nights with one other person that will show up and go visiting with me. That doesnt accomplish anything for anyone...and puts another thing on my plate to do. Visit in your daily life as you GO (according to the GREAT COMMISSION).
It starts with a calling to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Peter heard it from Christ, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19) Are you expected to immediately be a mature beleiver in Christ? No!! Jesus spent three years training and showing Peter what the kingdom of heaven is all about. He showed him and even sent him out to do great things in the Lord's name. Peter writes that the we should "long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation." (1 Peter 2:2) Growth is EXPECTED from the FOLLOWERS!!
The problem is today that believers in Jesus Christ don't want to grow. This is a spiritual growth not a physical growth. An internal change within your heart by doing major renovation....out with the old sinful habits and in with Christ's righteousness and Holy Spirit which sanctifies you continually. But we take the old American traditional definition of success and we have chained the body of Christ to it!! We have turned physical success as a person and physical church growth into RELIGION!! Where in the world is the relationship with Christ and the desire to grow daily in our heart and minds??? Where has that gone??
We are in some major trouble, church, and we are blaming the problem on the pastor who is not growing the church so we can be and look successful amongst our RELIGION!!! If someone were to ask you "how is church going"...what's you're answer?? (Would you answer based on the physical successes of the church???)