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Shouldn't discipleship be emphasized over church growth?

Submitted: 2/11/2015
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Question: Recently I thought on the words 'Feed my sheep.' spoken to Peter by Jesus, and I had a thought that I'd like to bounce off you when you have some time. It seems to me that the big thing nowadays is church growth. With the emphasis being on filling the building now, and keeping it full. As such, it goes from one 'we are in competition with the world - wow factor type of marketing push' to the next. Rather than what is was like when I came into the church some twenty years ago. Back then, at least to me, it felt like it was all about making disciples. In other words 'feeding His sheep' with wholesome teaching that made a strong disciple; who in turn would be able to feed other hungry hearts. Isn't church growth the work of the Holy Spirit and a natural (or rather Supernatural) result of 'feeding His sheep'sound Biblical doctrine (with which the world simply can not compete with)?

Answer: God clearly wants His church to grow. For that to happen, however, there must be both evangelism and discipleship. One without the other is a failure to fulfill the Great Commission. I used to think that if we focused on discipleship, growth would happen automatically. A healthy body should be a growing body. But I have found that it's not quite so automatic. Evangelism has to be emphasized and planned out in a diliberate way. Jesus came to seek (evangelize) and to save (disciple) the lost.