Yesterday, I read the summary of a five-year research project. Canadian researchers sought to understand why some churches in the US and Canada were growing while most were declining. The researchers believe they have found the answer. Based on their findings, they say conservative theology of the congregants and their clergymen is what sustains church growth.
I won’t share any more details from the study. The results of the five-year research project are scheduled to be published this month. If you want to read the summary of the study, you can click here. But I would like to use the research as an occasion to share some thoughts about a possible relationship between the Word of God and church growth.
Conservative theology denotes a more literal interpretation of the Bible. Perhaps some of you who click on the link above and who read the summary may think the researchers are stretching it to arrive at their conclusion. But personally, I believe that preaching and teaching based on so-called conservative theology is the best strategy for promoting church growth.
Why? Because God honors His own Word always and not some liberal interpretation of it. He always says what He means and means what He says. His truths do not change to accommodate society; rather, society must change to conform to His Word. It is only this perspective on the Word of God as it is preached, taught, or read that honors God as God.
More importantly, when a local church views the Word of God this way, God will bless that church. As He did in the days of the apostles, He will work with the church, confirming His Word with signs following (Mark 16:20). How about that for a church growth strategy?
To accommodate divergent biblical views, we have coined phrases such as conservative, moderate, or liberal theology. But in the eyes of God, we either believe the Bible is the Word or God or we don’t. And there is no such thing—in His eyes—as situational ethics. His truth must always be the truth to us, or it never is. God’s Word does not come with the leeway many churches have assumed. His Word is not vague but “sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12).
Copyright © 2016 by Frank King. All rights reserved.