This fall, Mercy Hill will be putting on a church growth conference called Breaking Barriers. The idea behind the conference is to not only help equip churches for growth but free them to grow as well. We live in a strange time around the concept of church growth. In our particular stream, it almost seems like it’s talked about in hushed tones. We spiritualize sending but often demonize growth.
We believe that more of this thinking will produce further decline in the Western church. We all know for our churches to be healthy, thriving, and reproducing, we need them to grow. But it’s almost hard to say that out loud. I find that when I ask people straight up, “Do you want your church to grow?”, the response is often a squirm. Limiting beliefs are real. If somewhere along the line we’ve been convinced that church growth is icky, then there is no way we will go after it.
This is a serious problem because only addition leads to healthy multiplication. If we can’t add, we will never multiply. I will be the first to admit that individual church growth is not really the goal. Sending is the goal. We believe church planting is God’s Plan A for the Great Commission and there is no Plan B. Sure, sending capacity is more important than seating capacity… but for sending capacity, nothing is more important than seating capacity! Growing churches are the churches that can also go. Churches can grow without going, but they cannot go without growing. To reach a lost and dying world, we need to plant all kinds of churches all over the world. We cannot do that unless we get very serious and settled about church growth.
Breaking Barriers is a conference for like-minded churches to come together and push themselves to honor the Lord by doing everything in their power to grow their churches. When I was 28 years old, I planted a church. I had a goal of seeing that church grow from 30 to 3000. I didn’t know if it would happen and assumed it would take 30 years if it did. By God’s grace, it took 7. As a result of that growth, our church is now able to multiply at a sustainable pace. Multiplication is the goal, but that happens as the Lord adds to our number of those who are being saved. We want to share what we’ve learned and network with other churches who desire to grow and go. We’re going to get practical. This conference is less about ministry philosophy and more about ministry practice.
At the Breaking Barriers conference, you will hear high-level teaching and engage in breakouts around practical questions. How does the Bible talk about and celebrate church growth? What is the connection between more people coming and more people going? How does a vision for sending fuel our desire for growing? We also want to get into some nuts and bolts. What are the best practices for growth? How much should context drive methodology, really? Is there a hidden advantage to sending in some models like multi-site? These are just a few questions we will answer along the way. Our prayer for this conference is that it would reframe some of the conversation around church growth positively. We need to see the pendulum swing back towards healthy church growth and this conference is born from that desire.
So, if I asked you today, “Do you want your church to grow?”, would you squirm? Would you emphatically say yes, or start immediately qualifying every term? Would you immediately say “yes, but…”? Or would you simply say, “Yes, I do.” My hope is that this conference will help you replace the squirming with excitement.
Find out more about the Breaking Barriers Conference happening this October here!