How to Have a Growing Church, Part 3 (Gospel vs. Gimmicks)

One of the things I love about the church growth movement is the emphasis that has been placed on getting nonbelievers to come to church. It’s vital for nonbelievers to hear the gospel message. After all, how else will they become Christians if they don’t hear it?

My concern, however, is that some pastors–in a sincere effort to get their churches to grow–have replaced the gospel with gimmicks and substituted entertainment for exhortation. They fill their services with videos, dramas, and other media, packaging them with a soft gospel message that emphasizes happy thoughts and positive thinking and neglects the reality of sin and hell.

And that’s the second risky rule of church growth: the less confrontational the gospel message in your service, the better.

Now, it’s certainly acceptable to use those elements in a church service. And the gospel message is definitely “good news.” The trouble is when the Church puts the focus on the entertainment and happy thoughts, instead of the proclamation of the whole Word of God.

Graham Scroggie said compromise is what “prompts us to be silent when we ought to speak for fear of offending.” If the church service becomes more about the gimmick, neglecting the whole gospel message—including sin, judgment, and salvation–then we have, in essence, compromised the Good News of Jesus Christ.

At Harvest Christian Fellowship, the church that I pastor, we use video and other high-tech elements in our services. But we’ve never taken the focus off of the main thing: “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” As a result, we’ve found that more than 40% of those who attend Harvest became Christians at one of our services.

My point is this: if people walk away from our services with a good feeling, but no idea who Jesus is, then we have really missed the boat.

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