Star Rating: 4
Ready steady grow
240 pages, £10.99
Despite the title, this is not a ‘how-to’ manual on church growth. Rather, it is about overcoming obstacles which prevent churches from growing from one size category to another. The author identifies four of these.
In the transitions from one category to another, there are ‘bumps in the road’. These may be challenges concerning staffing, meetings, buildings, etc., which need to be addressed rather than ducked under the convention of ‘staying as we are’.
Ray Evans writes from experience. His church has grown dramatically over about 30 years and has helped plant two others. Much in this is for churches which are already quite large and potentially growing.
He briefly considers whether churches remaining large are a good thing, as opposed to continual planting. The author favours the former. These larger churches have multiple paid staff (the author’s has 5½) and many teams carrying out different evangelistic ministries.
If this is the kind of church you help to lead, then this book is for you. Evans combines insightful teaching from Acts with wisdom gleaned from the world. Many non-Christian authors are quoted and many acronyms used. Throughout, the awareness that building a church is God’s work shines through: ‘The real problem is when our primary focus shifts from who God is to what we are doing’.
The aim is that imperfectly sanctified believers understand that how they act does much to either hinder or help church growth. Three essentials for growth stand out: wise, visionary leadership; teaching that motivates believers by gospel grace, not guilt-feelings; and finally growth in spiritual maturity and mutual loving service.
If you are leading a small, perpetually struggling church, then be warned: this book may make depressing reading. Yet, there is much for all church leaders. Many sentences are gems of insight. Buy, read and ponder.