His was the kind of ministry that would immediately earn your respect today. More than five thousand people attended your convention? Was this really a ministry less than three years old? It was.
“This Church has a pragmatic approach to ministry” the people must have thought. It is meeting real needs while others are sermonizing. They gave us bread! Others should emulate. This was the perfect PR for Jesus of Nazareth International Ministries.
Don’t forget this country has a history of being fed Manna by the revered prophet Moses. Feeding people like this automatically confirms you to be a prophet in his rank…or even higher.
The story gets even better. The people come back for more bread! This Church growth strategy works like fire. At this point, Jesus should have been thinking of writing a book: “MEGA CHURCH IN THREE YEARS- YOU TOO CAN DO IT”. It’d sure be a best seller.
Now it’s clear though- these people aren’t actually interested in learning about God. But this is just a strategy; bring them in and let them change with time. In fact, don’t teach anything deep…at least not yet. You don’t want to turn them off.
These are the rules of seeker-sensitive Church growth. Just tell them they can make it in life, and give seven steps to greatness- stuff everyone already wants. That’d do the trick. All Jesus had to do was play by these rules and, the sky would be the limit.
But what does he do? He says: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world…For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” – John 6:51, 53.
Erm…I figure this isn’t exactly what they expected. What was the result? They left! “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” – John 6:66.
Honestly, what will you think of a man who lost a congregation of five thousand in one day? He is such a failure isn’t he?
Jesus had no clue. He didn’t know how to keep a church growing. Jesus ruined his ministry. Is that what you think? The reality is, Jesus showed us that success in ministry is not at any cost.
In fact, he shows us the proper definition of true success in ministry. It isn’t the cheering crowds or the filled seats, and it is beyond meeting physical needs, or being socially and politically relevant. Preach it as it is. Let those who are really after God stay.
Also, ministry should not be need centered. Don’t try to grow your church on welfare!
There is a kind of ‘growth’ that is not growth at all. It is the kind birthed by gimmicks of any kind. Don’t give them what they want. Show them what they should want. Stay faithful to the word.
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ear; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. – 2 Timothy 4:2-4