Tickets to Heaven: The Errors of Market Based Theology

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Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

June 6, 2010

Tickets to Heaven: The Errors of Market Based Theology

Selected Scriptures

 

Introduction & Review

 

The importance of having a Biblically based theology cannot be stressed
enough. It is the difference between having the truth and following a lie. In
our study of 2 Peter the apostle gave strong warning about false teachers and
mockers that reject the Scriptures to teach something else. Sometimes what they
teach is in direct conflict with what the Bible says as is the case with those
entrapped in religions based in demonic revelations and influence and the
eastern mystical religions (See:

Demonic Deception
  and
Experts in Enigmas
). Sometimes what is taught can be close to what
God reveals in His word, yet still be divergent enough to lead people to a false
salvation that will result in their eternal condemnation to Hell as in the cults (See:

Cultic Oppression
:
). Sometimes it is an
aberrant theology that while perhaps still true to the core of the gospel
message will stray in other areas resulting in confusion about true spirituality
and leaving its adherents immature in their walk of faith (See:

Spiritual Confusion
).

Another danger that can result in either a false salvation or an immature
faith is following a religion based in traditions. That commonly happens because
people grow up in a particular religious tradition and then just continue in it
as they become adults themselves. Jim Zieger spoke about this two weeks ago and
used Roman Catholicism as his example because that is the tradition in which he
grew up. If I spoke on the issue, I would use examples from my upbringing in
Baptist churches. While the traditions I grew up in at least did proclaim
salvation by God’s grace alone through faith alone in the person and work of
Jesus Christ alone, and though a high view of Scripture was held proclaiming it
as the final authority, yet there were still many traditions that were not
really from the Bible though they were taught with about the same authority.
Those traditions covered a wide range of personal behaviors of things we were
not supposed to do and things we were supposed to do as well as some theological
beliefs. It was not until I actually started reading through the Bible in
context for myself that I became aware that there were many things I had
believed because of tradition and not because the Bible actually teaches them.

This is not to say that traditions in and of themselves are bad. In fact,
many of them can be very helpful and a large portion of them get started in the
effort to accomplish something good. However, even a good tradition becomes an
obstruction to true godliness when it is removed from its original purpose and
is done without knowing the reasons for it. Traditions regarding acceptable
activities on a Sunday were helpful in promoting reverence and preserving Sunday
as a day for worship and rest. The loss of those traditions has resulted in
Sunday becoming just another day of business which in turn has resulted in a
loss of reverence and great difficulty for those now working on Sunday to join
in congregational worship of God. At the same time, many of those traditions
ended up promoting legalism of “keeping the Sabbath” instead of actual godliness
which acts out of Biblical knowledge and conviction about seeking to please and
glorify God. Remember that the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week and Sunday
is the first. We refer to Sunday as the Lord’s Day and worship on it instead of
Saturday in honor of Jesus’ resurrection
(John 20; Acts 20:7; 1
Cor. 16:2). Romans 14 makes it clear that what day is regarded to observe
for the Lord or not is up to the individual before God
(Romans
14:5-7). Brother Steve talked about this in his sermon a few weeks ago.

The danger of traditions has always been that they can be done mindlessly and
then substituted for the word of God. Whenever you do something because it has
always been done that way or you simply do not know the reasons for it, then a
tradition has developed that could be dangerous. Find out the reason for it, and
if it is still helpful, then continue it with explanation to the others that
participate. If you can’t find a reason or it is not helpful toward godliness,
then stop it and do something else.

This morning I want to expose another false basis for theology that has
tragically affected a large portion of the churches in America, and to some
degree around the world, though it has had minimal influence on persecuted
churches. I titled this sermon, “Tickets to Heaven: The Errors of Market
Based Theology.”
By that I am referring to those churches that design their
programs and promote themselves based on the findings of marketing studies of
their targeted audience. This is most often associated with the church growth
movement and “seeker sensitive” services, but some clarification needs to be
made.


Church Growth vs. Market Growth.

Church Growth

True church growth takes to heart Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16:18 that He
would build His church. Much ink has been spilt on the meaning of Jesus’
preceding declaration that Simon was “Peter” (petros – small rock) and upon this
“rock” (petra – large rock, cliff or ledge) Jesus would build His church.
However, the emphasis on the passage is not really on Peter or the rock, but
upon Jesus and that He would build His church for that is the main verb of the
sentence. Upon what He would build it is incidental to Him building it. Those
who understand this know that all true church growth occurs because it is the
Lord Himself who is at work. They are only workers in His service. True church
growth then is dependent on the Lord doing His work and His workers being
faithful in service. The question that drives church workers is being faithful
to serve in the manner the master desires and doing what the master wants done.

What is it that the master desires? Our Lord Jesus made this clear and simple
enough in the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20. Because all authority in
heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus, He commands us to “Go therefore
and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I
commanded you . . .”
concluding with the promise that He would be with us
“always, even to the end of the age.”
I have exposited this passage many
times in the past
(See: The Church, Part 1: It’s Purpose)
and have pointed out that the command is to make disciples which is carried out
by the actions of going, baptizing and teaching. True church growth is about
making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Obviously the desire is to see as
many people as possible become disciples, but the goal is that they become
actual followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. That goal is what then determines the
ministries and programs of the church.

In this church we have stated our purpose in terms of the Great Commission.
Grace Bible Church exists to glorify God by making disciples of Jesus Christ. We
seek to do this by Communicating New Life in Christ (Evangelism);
Cultivating New Life in Christ
(Edification); Caring for New Life in
Christ
(Fellowship); and Celebrating New Life in Christ (Worship).
Our various ministries and programs must fit within that purpose and those goals
or it is not something we get involved in or continue.

There are many things done within the church growth movement that are helpful
toward the end goal of making disciples of Jesus Christ. It is helpful to have
someone evaluate the church and give an assessment of what is being done and its
effectiveness. We have had that done here and I have done that myself for other
churches. It was good to have someone come, observe and evaluate and then point
out our weaknesses and suggest ways we could be more effective in fulfilling our
purpose and goals. That required some restructuring so that our efforts were put
into making disciples instead of just running church programs. It is easy for
church ministries that at one time had specific purpose to devolve into church
programs that have lost their purpose and continue only because they have been
done a long time. We periodically re-evaluate our various ministries to make
sure that they not only still have a clear purpose in mind, but that
consideration is given in how to be more effective in fulfilling that purpose.

There are also some pragmatic things an outsider will notice that might
escape the attention of someone who has been attending there for a long time.
These things might not be directly related to making disciples, but they do
become obstacles to new people because they communicate a negative message to
them. I remember one church I evaluated that could not understand why families
with young children would not come back, until I pointed out that their nursery
was neglected and filthy. Though they genuinely wanted to minister to young
families, they were unaware that their nursery was shouting to those young
families that this church did not care about young children. In a similar way,
the general upkeep of the facilities tells new people something about the view
of the church concerning God, worship and people. Some of what has come from the
church growth movement has been helpful to removing unnecessary obstacles so
that opportunities are gained for beginning the work of making disciples.

Market Growth

However, there is also much that has come from the church growth movement
that is dangerous because without the proper goal of making disciples, it
devolves into a marketing plan for increasing attendance for religious services.
Success is then determined by the increase in attendance and revenue instead of
the spiritual growth of those attending. It is easy for even the good things to
be skewed toward this purpose. For example, small groups have proven to be
helpful in attracting and assimilating people into a local congregation, but if
that is its purpose, then what occurs is an increase in socialization instead of
discipleship. In fact, such small groups may prove to be detrimental to true
ministry since it increases the opportunity for gossip and formation of cliques
which can become divisive.

Motives are crucial when it comes to information gained through market
research and what is done with it. For example, gaining a knowledge of the
general demographics of an area is very helpful in church planting by directing
you to the particular ministries that will be needed and making sure your gospel
presentation is targeting the people that live there. Ministry in an area of
young families will differ from one in a retirement community. The gospel
presentation can be tailored to reach the ethnic and religious heritages in an
area. The Apostle Paul had a great understanding of the Greek culture which he
used in crafting his message so that the gospel would have maximum impact. His
sermon on Mars Hill in Acts 17 is a classic example of this. Paul’s motive was
to preach the gospel clearly to that culture. He left the number of people who
would respond up to God, and in that particular case there were only a few that
did respond to become followers of Jesus Christ.

If the motive is to gain a large following, such market research will be used
in a different manner with the invariable result that the gospel message is
toned down so as not to offend the target group, and the church ministries will
cater to the preferences of the people instead of helping them to become
conformed to the image of Christ. Bill Hybels started Willow Creek Community
Church following a survey of the area. He started with the motive of wanting to
effectively reach the unchurched with the gospel, which is a good motive.
However, the pressure to then cater to the felt needs of those same people would
result in the gospel message being toned down. Success in attracting people
became its own detriment. To their credit this would be recognized periodically
and the gospel would be reemphasized. Recently, as the result of another survey
of their church, they have also recognized that their ministry model of catering
to the unchurched has resulted in a severe lack in actually making disciples of
Jesus Christ. Whether they will be able to correct this or not is still an
unknown. I have no doubt they can correct it if they will simply go back to the
Scriptures and let the Bible define the scope and purpose of the church instead
of surveys. If they do not, then another survey in the future will reveal they
have still not met their goal – or they will change the goal. Other churches
already have.

Much could be said about churches that have fallen to or have been encumbered
by the fallacies of the church growth movement. Gary Gilley in his book, This
Little Church Went to Market,
gives a good critique of them. The idea of
striving to meet the felt needs of the unchurched as a means to get them
involved in church is an old one. It can have legitimacy when the goal of
presenting the gospel is kept clearly at the forefront of purpose. I used to
participate with the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles and they are an example
of this. They would strive to meet the felt needs of the homeless by giving them
food, clothing, shelter, a medical clinic and even a shower and a hair cut – but
those wanting those services had to first sit through a sermon. The gospel was
the essential and there are many that have come to Christ through that ministry
and similar ones.

However, when meeting the felt needs overshadow the gospel, then the gospel
can be quickly lost. Marvin Olasky in his book, The Tragedy of American
Compassion,
recounts his research which included going to homeless shelters
and soup kitchens run by churches and finding with some regularity that he could
easily get a second helping of food, but it was difficult to get a copy of the
Bible. The gospel was lost in the effort to meet physical needs. A similar
result occurs when market research drives church purpose and strategy.

I have become aware of larger churches with multiple buildings starting
satellite congregations on the same property based on preference in musical
taste. They seem oblivious to the fact that in doing so they have fractioned the
church and feed the selfishness inherent in such preferences, and that does not
help at all in the quest to make disciples of Jesus Christ. More commonly this
is done along generational lines so that there is a youth / young adult service
and another at the same time for the rest of the church. There is variation on
whether the pastor’s message is streamed in on a monitor or a separate speaker
brings a different message. Willow Creek Community Church tried this for several
years with a ministry called Axis in the effort to target Generation Xers, but
they shut it down in 2006 finding that the young people in it found it hard to
transition into the rest of the congregation when they outgrew Axis. What was
missed is that discipleship happens in the context of the whole congregation as
various people with diverse gifts minster to one another. The interaction of
young and old, rich and poor, mature and immature and diverse cultural
backgrounds forces the need for humility, practicing all the one anothers and
considering others as more important than yourself
(Philippians
2:3-4). Catering to the preferences of a particular group only increases
the selfishness inherent in man.

While these concerns are minor compared to the teachers of a false gospel, it
is still serious for two reasons. First, the focus is no longer on making
disciples of Jesus Christ so that the church becomes weak and wimpy instead of
strong and holy. Even George Barna’s statistical research has shown that the
evangelicals involved in these seeker-friendly churches are living no
differently from the unsaved when it comes to morals, ethics and values. How can
the church call a society to righteousness when it does not live in
righteousness either?

That brings up a second and more serious concern. Because the gospel ends up
being toned down so as to be more friendly to so called “seekers,” it does not
take long for it to become perverted or even absent. Do those people who profess
Christ but live in the same manner as our sinful society even believe the
Biblical gospel? Or do they believe a perversion of it which allows a person to
believe they are saved from Hell without being saved from sin?

Joel Osteen pastors of one of if not the largest church in the U. S.,
Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, and has a television ministry that claims to
reach hundreds of millions more. He is an interesting and dynamic positive
speaker, but he does not talk about sin. Why? Simply because people do not want
to hear about it. But if you do not talk about sin, or you redefine it, as
Robert Schuller did in his theology, what is salvation? Perhaps the title of one
of Osteen’s books says it all, “Your Best Life Now.” It is pragmatism for
getting what you want in life now instead of being changed into the image of
Jesus Christ in preparation for eternity. That is a false gospel.

These teachers, and many more like them, are the ear ticklers warned about in
2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound
doctrine; but [wanting] to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for
themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; 4 and will turn away
their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.”
What a contrast
that is to Paul’s instructions to Timothy in the surrounding verses to “preach
the word; be ready in season [and] out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with
great patience and instruction”
(vs. 2) and to“be
sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your
ministry”
(vs. 5).

 

The Foundational Error

 

What is the foundational error? At heart it is a shift from a focus on God
and doing His work in His way with success defined as fidelity to God, to a
focus on man and defining success in some other way. Jesus rebuked the Jewish
religious leaders for this in John 5 for they were seeking the honor of men
instead of the glory that is from God (vs. 44). Even ministries that start off
with good motives can be easily perverted to this. I have no doubt that most of
the Pharisees were genuine in their desire to live righteously before God and
that was the reason for their many traditions. However, the pressure to conform
to the traditions which had replaced true godliness perverted the definition of
success in living righteously. Being accepted and acclaimed by the other
Pharisees became the definition of success and so their quest to the point they
could not accept Jesus’ claims because He did not live according to their
traditions. Even those like Nicodemus that did recognize Jesus’ claims as being
true were intimidated by the other religious leaders and so that they kept their
beliefs to themselves
(cf. John 3; 7:50-52).

The same kind of pressures exist today on pastors for they are human and want
to be accepted and praised by their peers. This easily degenerates into boasting
about the size of their congregation, its budget and staff. I have been to
enough pastors conferences to know the question about the size of your church is
usually about sizing you up in the pecking order of success. Those with smaller
churches want to know how the guy with the larger church was able to do it,
which is legitimate and helpful if it is about being more effective in making
disciples of Jesus Christ, but if it is about techniques to get more people to
attend, then the line is crossed from pleasing God to pleasing men. The Willow
Creek Association has 12,000 + members and crosses all sorts of denominational
and theological lines. Church growth principles, not doctrine, becomes the
common unifier and with it the shift to pleasing men instead of God.

Unless a pastor takes to heart the admonition of Scripture to humble himself
before God
(James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6), the pressure to gain
the honor of peers and the acclaim of those in his congregation will turn him
from pleasing God to pleasing men. The danger of this to the pastor of a large
church is obvious, but those in a small church face a similar danger. They
cannot boast about their size so they boast about the quality of their church to
pastors of similarly sized churches who commiserate with each other. I have
found that to be only rarely true of those who boast about it, for those that
actually are better don’t boast. The problem is still essentially the same. They
want the honor of others, and not being able to get it from one group they will
seek it out from another group.

Compromised ministry to feed the ego of a pastor who wants to boast is only a
small problem compared to the one created when the gospel itself is shifted from
making disciples of Jesus Christ to selling tickets to heaven. Much of modern
evangelism has reduced Jesus to a commodity to be marketed by selling the
attractive points of the gospel and leaving out the negative. Get people to
acknowledge a set of essential facts by some action – praying a prayer, raising
your hand, walking the aisle – after which the person is assured they were now
going to heaven. The barkers are crying out, “avoid Hell by getting your
tickets to heaven here! All you have to do is repeat this prayer after me.”

They will use all sorts of marketing techniques including playing on the
emotions in order to complete the sale. What the person actually believes and
whether those beliefs actually match what God requires is unimportant as long as
the ticket to heaven have been given out and the evangelist can mark down
another person who has made a “decision” in his tally book.

Jesus gives a strong warning in Matthew 7:13-14 about making sure you are
believing and following the true gospel instead of a false one. “Enter by the
narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to
destruction, and many are those who enter by it. 14 “For the gate is small, and
the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.”
The
context of this passage is one concerning religious leaders who are calling for
people to follow their teaching and way of life. Most are presenting a message
that is appealing to the masses for it invites people to walk through a broad
gate to a path that is wide and easy. That is the marketing approach to making
the gospel appealing to the masses. It is selling Jesus as the means to an easy
and comfortable life and that idea now dominates Christianity in America.
However, the truth is that it is a small gate and a narrow way that leads to
life. Jesus calls people to believe in Him and follow Him warning that the world
will hate you for it. It requires repentance of sin and dying to self so that
you might find life in Him
(Matthew 16:24-25). It also
means that in living for Him people will lie about you, slander you and
persecute you
(Matthew 5:10-12). That message is not
attractive to the masses and many will forcibly reject it, but it is the gospel
truth and so we proclaim it.

We must always remember that it is Jesus that saves, not intellectual assent
or any deed of righteousness we could do
(Titus 3:5). It
is by God’s grace alone that we are made alive in Christ and our faith alone in
Jesus alone is reckoned to us as righteousness for the purpose of becoming holy
and blameless before Him as we are conformed to the image of the Son
(Ephesians 1:4; 2:1-10; Romans 4:5; 8:29). We are to
proclaim the gospel, not market it. We are to call people to repent and become
followers of Jesus Christ, not sell Jesus as the solution to their felt needs.

 

The Solution

 

What is the solution to being able to use principles from church growth for a
proper and godly purpose and not get sucked into a marketing approach that
perverts ministry and the gospel? It goes back to what I said at the beginning
of this sermon. It is the Lord Jesus Christ that builds His church and we are
but His slaves ready to do His bidding and fulfill His will. From the personal
standpoint we must make sure first of all that we are humble and seeking the
Lord’s glory and not the honor of men. Second, we must make sure that we are
gospel centered in outreach to the unsaved and focused on the continuation of
making disciples of Jesus Christ among the saved. It is not about size and
numbers. It is about fidelity and faithfulness to doing the Lord’s work in the
Lord’s way for the Lord’s glory.

The church does not exist and we were not saved to cater to the felt needs of
the unsaved. Our worship services are centered on glorifying God and magnifying
His name. The unsaved are welcome to attend and observe and we do strive to help
them understand what is going on, but until they repent of their sins and place
their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ they cannot be true worshipers of God. For
that reason we are not concerned if they like what we do or not. Our target
audience is God Himself and all of us are the performers seeking to please Him
both within the congregational worship and even more so in living out the
principles and precepts of God’s word in daily life.

We strive to have the same attitude Jesus did in John 8 and Matthew 19. In
John 8 Jesus was merciful and gracious and spoke truth concerning Himself which
verse 30 states resulted in “many came to believe in Him.” A market
driven approach would then seek to understand why there was such a favorable
response and try to repeat it. Jesus did not. He immediately challenged those
same people who “believed in Him” to become His disciples saying “If you
abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the
truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The result of this challenge was
an immediate negative response that escalated into Jesus making it clear they
were of their father, the devil, and then in turn escalated to the point they
picked up stones to throw at Jesus after He proclaimed that “before Abraham
was born, I am”
signifying He was God.

In Matthew 19 Jesus was approached by a rich young ruler who wanted to know
what good thing he should do so that he could obtain eternal life. Market driven
evangelism would find a way to get that guy to sign up for church immediately
and maybe even pray some form of the “sinner’s prayer.” Jesus did not do so.
First Jesus pointed him to the law which should have convicted the man of his
sin. Instead, the man boasted he kept the law but knew he still lacked. Jesus
then called him to sell his possessions and become his disciple. Since his
wealth was the true god of this man, he went away grieved.

Jesus’ example was one of great mercy and grace, but He would not compromise
truth to gain the acclaim and following of men. He usually did the opposite by
calling people to the commitment of becoming His disciple. Since that requires
admitting one’s own sin and dying to self in order to live for God, only those
that the Father draws will respond
(John 6:44). We can do
not less as faithful slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to be merciful and
gracious. We are to speak the truth in love, but we are to speak the truth and
not compromise it. True success is simply being faithful to God and serving Him
to the very best of our abilities.

Let me close by briefly recounting one of the most successful pastors I have
ever met. I won’t mention his name because He is too humble of a man to have
others boast about him. I have met many men who pastor large churches, but this
man pastored rural churches that usually only numbered a hundred or so. What
marked him was his faithfulness in training up men to be followers of Jesus
Christ and include them in his desire to reach the next community. Over the
course of his many years of ministry he was able to plant 10 churches in
communities within driving distance of the churches he pastored. His desire for
each community to have a healthy functioning church overshadowed any desire he
may have had to build a larger congregation where he was at. He understood that
true success was humble faithfulness in doing the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way
for what the Lord wants. He made disciples of Jesus Christ instead of increasing
the size of his congregation.

What about you? Is your quest to do likewise with whatever gift God has given
you to serve Him? 1 Corinthians 12 makes it clear that the Spirit gives you your
spiritual gift or gifts, the Lord gives you the particular ministries in which
you will be involved, and God empowers you to whatever size those ministries
will be. All of it is of God, and your part is to humbly and faithfully serve
Him. Do not fall victim to the fallacy that bigger is necessarily better nor let
your pride get in the way of serving the Lord however He desires. Allow Him to
use you as He desires as He builds His Church through His servants.

KIDS CORNER

Parents, you are responsible to apply
God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children
draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your
picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – 1) Write down all
the verses mentioned. 2) Count how many times the word church is used. 3) Talk
with your parents about the importance of being a follower of Jesus Christ.

 


THINK ABOUT IT!

Questions to consider in discussing
the sermon with others. Why is it important to have Biblically based theology?
What are some other foundations for theology and what are their dangers? When
are traditions good? When are they dangerous? What is the emphasis in Matthew
16:18? On what is church growth actually dependent? What is the Lord’s
commission for His church – Matthew 28:18-20? What ideas from the church growth
movement can be helpful in fulfilling the Great Commission? How should a church
define being successful? Why would it be wrong to evaluate church success based
on attendance or revenues? Why are motives so crucial in the use of marketing
research information such as demographic studies? What effect would a motive of
increasing attendance have upon the presentation of the gospel in a church? Upon
discipleship? How can meeting the felt needs of an unbeliever be helpful in
presenting the gospel? When would it become detrimental? What are some of the
reasons it is a bad idea to split a church into multiple congregations based on
preferences of musical style? If evangelicals live in the same manner as the
rest of society in regard to morals, ethics and values, what does it indicate
about the actual beliefs of those evangelicals? What is the message of Joel
Osteen’s gospel? Does this match what the Bible states? What is the meaning of
Paul’s warning in 2 Timothy 4:3-4? Can you identify such teachers at the present
time that are “ear ticklers?” What are the marks of a true teacher from God?
What is the foundational error that drives market driven theology? What
pressures do you sense to conform to the traditions or common perceptions of our
society about what is or is not successful? What is the solution to keep from
falling into the quest for a bigger church, ministry, etc. for the wrong
motives? What was Jesus’ attitude toward those to whom He was talking in John 8?
To the rich young ruler in Matthew 19? How does it differ from modern
evangelists? Why is humility such a crucial characteristic of the Christian? Is
a “bigger” ministry better? Why or why not? How are you serving God with the
gift(s) He has given you?

 


Sermon Notes – 5/9/2010

Tickets to Heaven: The Error of Market Based Theology

 

Introduction

 

    The difference in between Biblical Theology and something
else is the difference between truth & ____

    False theological can be in direct __________________ to
the Bible

    False theologies can be ________________ of the Bible
leading to a false gospel

    False theologies can be ____________ of the Bible leading
to spiritual confusion and immaturity

    Traditions can be helpful if their reason is known and
they __________ in walking in godliness

    A tradition kept without knowing its purpose and
_______________ can be dangerous

 

Church Growth vs. Market Growth

 

    Jesus said He would build His church – ________________

    True church growth is dependent on the ___________ doing
His work and His workers being faithful

    The Great Commission – _____________________ – expresses
our Master’s desires

    The command is to make ____________ carried out by going,
baptizing and teaching

    Many things within the church growth movement can be
_______in carrying out the Great Commission

    Periodic re-evaluation of ministry to make sure they are
fulfilling their ____________ is a good practice

    Removing _________________ obstacles to new people coming
and assimilating is a good practice

    Without the goal of making disciples, even good things
from church growth ideas can be ____________

    Small groups that are not promoting discipleship can be
very _______________ to spiritual health

    Market research is helpful when it aides clarity to
ministry to make it more ___________ – cf. Acts 17

    Ministry based in market research just to increase numbers
will result in a toned down ___________

    Meeting felt needs of unbelievers can open the door for
the gospel – if the _______________ is primary

    When meeting felt needs overshadows the gospel, the gospel
will be ______________ or lost.

    When the goal of the church is _________ on making
disciples, it becomes weak and wimpy

    Barna’s statistical research shows that evangelicals match
general ________in morals, ethics and values

    Do such people believe the Biblical _____________or a
perversion saving them from hell, but not sin?

    Pragmatic ideas to get your best life now instead of
changing you to be like Jesus is a _________ gospel

    Ear tickling _________ teachers – 2 Timothy 4:3-4

    ___________ teachers of God’s word – 2 Timothy 4:2,5

 

The Foundational Error

 

    John 5:44 – men who seek honor from other __________
instead of the glory that comes from God

    The pressure to conform is great and perverts the true
definition of ____________ in righteous living.

    The pressure to make a small church grow can lead to
______________ compromise.

    Without a ________heart a pastor can easily succumb to
pride and wrong motives will mark his pursuits

    A greater danger occurs when the gospel is shifted from
making __________to selling tickets to heaven

    The “wide path” is marketed to the masses, while the
narrow gate & path is proclaimed because it is ___

 

The Solution

 

    Remember that the Lord Jesus Christ builds _________
church and we are but His humble slaves.

    We must seek the ____________ glory and not the honor of
men

    We must be ______________ centered in outreach and
discipleship centered with believers.

    We follow ____________ example in Matthew 19 and John 8

    We are merciful and gracious speaking the truth in love,
but never compromising the ____________

    True success is being __________________ in serving God to
the best of our abilities.

    Do not fall victim to the idea that bigger is necessarily
better nor let ______block your serving the Lord


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