Christmas and the Art of Growing Churches

One of the best examples of church growth is found in the beauty and variety of the Christmas story.

Each element of the Christmas story shows different people gathering around Jesus. It tells us of a stable and home that swells and ebbs with a series of visitors - of a traveling pregnant woman and her partner, of tired shepherds, and of zealous foreigners. In this story, God gathered the lofty and the lowly with an angelic fanfare and via inquiring minds.

Christmas celebrates the kaleidoscopic gathering of a small group of people around a child. It recalls God’s remarkably confusing strategy as he obscures glory in the face of a child, a child hidden in an obscure and unsettled corner of the world. 

Our understanding of what it means to grow churches should find its place in the spacious diversity of the Nativity.

It isn’t a blueprint to be followed, or a model to be copied. When concern for church growth becomes a lament for low numbers, or a lauding of the weekly attendance sheet, churches will be tempted to self-pity or self-indulgence. Neither should 'growth' be a word that hurries us towards a deadline or stalks us with a perpetual sense of failure. Nor is it the sole quality of a church with a dedicated marketing team, or an eloquent preacher, or one with access to a pizza oven and a healthy student population.

LyCiG believes that "growth" is as unique as your carefully (or hastily) decorated Christmas tree.

      Growth is as unique as your church.

LyCiG also believes that growth is always possible and that one new seeker is as glorious (if not more so!) as ninety-nine enthusiastic evangelists.

The Christmas story is like an inspiring work of art. Perhaps it will inspire you to potently proclaim the arrival of Jesus to the margins, or to lead people to Jesus through the maze of cultural phenomena, or to seek out those residing in the hidden corners of your city.

Christmas is an ancient canvas that teaches us about church growth. You can trust that the very same God who drew people to a child in a manger will also lead people to your church. He will draw people to spacious communities, to communities who generously proclaim God’s love or to communities who, in hushed tones, suggest they ‘come and see’ for themselves. 

What stories of growth can you tell others about this Christmas?

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