Does you church web bio brag about buildings or changed lives?

Another “Submergent Church” discussion…

I do believe in the Church, but some of us in the church still are worshiping the god of growth. Yes, reach people and you will grow! But, what kind of growth? A mushroom grows in a day. An oak tree takes decades.

You have chance to read the bio of your church on her website recently? It might surprise you how common it is to list a history based on buildings rather than the stories of the people who built them.

Which is better: Growth that lasts in the changed lives of people or growth that leaves our story written by the properties we’ve built and purchased and staff we’ve hired?

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

45 comments

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rich Kirkpatrick, tehillamusic.com and oneheart1mind, Worship Mythbusters. Worship Mythbusters said: RT @rkweblog: BLOG: Does you church web bio brag about buildings or changed lives? http://bit.ly/hqHOwc […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rich Kirkpatrick, tehillamusic.com and oneheart1mind, Worship Mythbusters. Worship Mythbusters said: RT @rkweblog: BLOG: Does you church web bio brag about buildings or changed lives? http://bit.ly/hqHOwc […]

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rich Kirkpatrick, tehillamusic.com and oneheart1mind, Worship Mythbusters. Worship Mythbusters said: RT @rkweblog: BLOG: Does you church web bio brag about buildings or changed lives? http://bit.ly/hqHOwc […]

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rich Kirkpatrick, tehillamusic.com and oneheart1mind, Worship Mythbusters. Worship Mythbusters said: RT @rkweblog: BLOG: Does you church web bio brag about buildings or changed lives? http://bit.ly/hqHOwc […]

  5. Rich,Thanks for posing the question. I would agree wholeheartedly that growth through changed lives is way better. It’s often slower, and takes more time, but result in a much more solid and enduring growth (like the oak tree you mentioned).

    Your thoughts reminded my of an interview I watched recently between Andy Stanley and Rick Warren. In it, Warren speaks to this very issue in telling the people listening that it’s not wise to look for quick growth, because it doesn’t last. Lasting growth is growth that happens one changed life at a time.

    Unfortunately, most churches experience big growth when a new building or new pastor comes. The result is that they aren’t prepared to assimilate and disciple, so as soon as the next “new” thing comes along, those people go to check it out.

    The challenge I find it is not only being okay with a slower growth rate, but also gathering and sharing the stories. Although, I suppose that if the first is happening, the gathering of the stories will be a natural outflow of the relationships and investment.

    Thanks for posing the question and being a voice.

    1. Chris, you welcomed. It is really just about asking the question. Hopefully, this is not an anti-building thing but a pro-life-change-people thing!
      RK

  6. Rich,Thanks for posing the question. I would agree wholeheartedly that growth through changed lives is way better. It’s often slower, and takes more time, but result in a much more solid and enduring growth (like the oak tree you mentioned).
    Your thoughts reminded my of an interview I watched recently between Andy Stanley and Rick Warren. In it, Warren speaks to this very issue in telling the people listening that it’s not wise to look for quick growth, because it doesn’t last. Lasting growth is growth that happens one changed life at a time.
    Unfortunately, most churches experience big growth when a new building or new pastor comes. The result is that they aren’t prepared to assimilate and disciple, so as soon as the next “new” thing comes along, those people go to check it out.
    The challenge I find it is not only being okay with a slower growth rate, but also gathering and sharing the stories. Although, I suppose that if the first is happening, the gathering of the stories will be a natural outflow of the relationships and investment.
    Thanks for posing the question and being a voice.

    1. Chris, you welcomed. It is really just about asking the question. Hopefully, this is not an anti-building thing but a pro-life-change-people thing!
      RK

  7. Rich,Thanks for posing the question. I would agree wholeheartedly that growth through changed lives is way better. It’s often slower, and takes more time, but result in a much more solid and enduring growth (like the oak tree you mentioned).

    Your thoughts reminded my of an interview I watched recently between Andy Stanley and Rick Warren. In it, Warren speaks to this very issue in telling the people listening that it’s not wise to look for quick growth, because it doesn’t last. Lasting growth is growth that happens one changed life at a time.

    Unfortunately, most churches experience big growth when a new building or new pastor comes. The result is that they aren’t prepared to assimilate and disciple, so as soon as the next “new” thing comes along, those people go to check it out.

    The challenge I find it is not only being okay with a slower growth rate, but also gathering and sharing the stories. Although, I suppose that if the first is happening, the gathering of the stories will be a natural outflow of the relationships and investment.

    Thanks for posing the question and being a voice.

    1. Chris, you welcomed. It is really just about asking the question. Hopefully, this is not an anti-building thing but a pro-life-change-people thing!
      RK

  8. Rich,Thanks for posing the question. I would agree wholeheartedly that growth through changed lives is way better. It’s often slower, and takes more time, but result in a much more solid and enduring growth (like the oak tree you mentioned).

    Your thoughts reminded my of an interview I watched recently between Andy Stanley and Rick Warren. In it, Warren speaks to this very issue in telling the people listening that it’s not wise to look for quick growth, because it doesn’t last. Lasting growth is growth that happens one changed life at a time.

    Unfortunately, most churches experience big growth when a new building or new pastor comes. The result is that they aren’t prepared to assimilate and disciple, so as soon as the next “new” thing comes along, those people go to check it out.

    The challenge I find it is not only being okay with a slower growth rate, but also gathering and sharing the stories. Although, I suppose that if the first is happening, the gathering of the stories will be a natural outflow of the relationships and investment.

    Thanks for posing the question and being a voice.

    1. Chris, you welcomed. It is really just about asking the question. Hopefully, this is not an anti-building thing but a pro-life-change-people thing!
      RK

  9. Rich,Thanks for posing the question. I would agree wholeheartedly that growth through changed lives is way better. It’s often slower, and takes more time, but result in a much more solid and enduring growth (like the oak tree you mentioned).

    Your thoughts reminded my of an interview I watched recently between Andy Stanley and Rick Warren. In it, Warren speaks to this very issue in telling the people listening that it’s not wise to look for quick growth, because it doesn’t last. Lasting growth is growth that happens one changed life at a time.

    Unfortunately, most churches experience big growth when a new building or new pastor comes. The result is that they aren’t prepared to assimilate and disciple, so as soon as the next “new” thing comes along, those people go to check it out.

    The challenge I find it is not only being okay with a slower growth rate, but also gathering and sharing the stories. Although, I suppose that if the first is happening, the gathering of the stories will be a natural outflow of the relationships and investment.

    Thanks for posing the question and being a voice.

    1. Chris, you welcomed. It is really just about asking the question. Hopefully, this is not an anti-building thing but a pro-life-change-people thing!
      RK

  10. I don think either can be discounted to be honest. The heart is the real issue. Historically some of the greatest moments in Christian history are an overlapping of these two types of growth. “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:41. That’s some huge growth in one day, after one single sermon! The revivals that occured all throughout history show a huge growth in numbers as well as a significant change in the spiritual atmosphere of the world! As I said before it’s a heart issue. If you are in it to brag about numbers and the “famous” pastors who work with and for you, then yes we have an issue. If your heart is to see Jesus preached heard and accepted regardless of credit and through the power of the Holy Ghost then who cares if your services draw a hundred or a thousand or ten thousand. We are commanded to be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). That means some will reach 1 others 10 and others thousands. The question we must always ask ourselves (for we should be concerned foremost with ourselves) is this: Is my heart in the right place? Is God in what I am doing here?

  11. I don think either can be discounted to be honest. The heart is the real issue. Historically some of the greatest moments in Christian history are an overlapping of these two types of growth. “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:41. That’s some huge growth in one day, after one single sermon! The revivals that occured all throughout history show a huge growth in numbers as well as a significant change in the spiritual atmosphere of the world! As I said before it’s a heart issue. If you are in it to brag about numbers and the “famous” pastors who work with and for you, then yes we have an issue. If your heart is to see Jesus preached heard and accepted regardless of credit and through the power of the Holy Ghost then who cares if your services draw a hundred or a thousand or ten thousand. We are commanded to be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). That means some will reach 1 others 10 and others thousands. The question we must always ask ourselves (for we should be concerned foremost with ourselves) is this: Is my heart in the right place? Is God in what I am doing here?

  12. I don think either can be discounted to be honest. The heart is the real issue. Historically some of the greatest moments in Christian history are an overlapping of these two types of growth. “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:41. That’s some huge growth in one day, after one single sermon! The revivals that occured all throughout history show a huge growth in numbers as well as a significant change in the spiritual atmosphere of the world! As I said before it’s a heart issue. If you are in it to brag about numbers and the “famous” pastors who work with and for you, then yes we have an issue. If your heart is to see Jesus preached heard and accepted regardless of credit and through the power of the Holy Ghost then who cares if your services draw a hundred or a thousand or ten thousand. We are commanded to be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). That means some will reach 1 others 10 and others thousands. The question we must always ask ourselves (for we should be concerned foremost with ourselves) is this: Is my heart in the right place? Is God in what I am doing here?

  13. I don think either can be discounted to be honest. The heart is the real issue. Historically some of the greatest moments in Christian history are an overlapping of these two types of growth. “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:41. That’s some huge growth in one day, after one single sermon! The revivals that occured all throughout history show a huge growth in numbers as well as a significant change in the spiritual atmosphere of the world! As I said before it’s a heart issue. If you are in it to brag about numbers and the “famous” pastors who work with and for you, then yes we have an issue. If your heart is to see Jesus preached heard and accepted regardless of credit and through the power of the Holy Ghost then who cares if your services draw a hundred or a thousand or ten thousand. We are commanded to be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). That means some will reach 1 others 10 and others thousands. The question we must always ask ourselves (for we should be concerned foremost with ourselves) is this: Is my heart in the right place? Is God in what I am doing here?

  14. I don think either can be discounted to be honest. The heart is the real issue. Historically some of the greatest moments in Christian history are an overlapping of these two types of growth. “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:41. That’s some huge growth in one day, after one single sermon! The revivals that occured all throughout history show a huge growth in numbers as well as a significant change in the spiritual atmosphere of the world! As I said before it’s a heart issue. If you are in it to brag about numbers and the “famous” pastors who work with and for you, then yes we have an issue. If your heart is to see Jesus preached heard and accepted regardless of credit and through the power of the Holy Ghost then who cares if your services draw a hundred or a thousand or ten thousand. We are commanded to be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). That means some will reach 1 others 10 and others thousands. The question we must always ask ourselves (for we should be concerned foremost with ourselves) is this: Is my heart in the right place? Is God in what I am doing here?

  15. Matt,
    “Growth that lasts in the changed lives of people or growth that leaves our story written by the properties we’ve built and purchased and staff we’ve hired?”

    That is the question I asked and you fell for the title! Sorry about that. So, the story in Acts talks about people not buildings. In my opinion we MUST tell out story. Let’s just not do it about things that matter not–such as how many buildings.

    So, do you agree with telling the unique story of your church? Or, is that pointless? I believe it is important–since that IS our witness just as Luke did. So say you?

    1. I actually was answering the final question, I was at work, and on my iPhone. The point I forgot to make was that the Church was founded on big names like Peter, and Paul.
      And yes I believe it’s important to tell your story, the history and tradition of each church is important. I think people do get bogged down in “their church” and forget that they are apart of The Church. Anyway, I stand on it’s a ‘heart issue’ no matter what happens.

  16. Matt,
    “Growth that lasts in the changed lives of people or growth that leaves our story written by the properties we’ve built and purchased and staff we’ve hired?”
    That is the question I asked and you fell for the title! Sorry about that. So, the story in Acts talks about people not buildings. In my opinion we MUST tell out story. Let’s just not do it about things that matter not–such as how many buildings.
    So, do you agree with telling the unique story of your church? Or, is that pointless? I believe it is important–since that IS our witness just as Luke did. So say you?

    1. I actually was answering the final question, I was at work, and on my iPhone. The point I forgot to make was that the Church was founded on big names like Peter, and Paul.
      And yes I believe it’s important to tell your story, the history and tradition of each church is important. I think people do get bogged down in “their church” and forget that they are apart of The Church. Anyway, I stand on it’s a ‘heart issue’ no matter what happens.

  17. Matt,
    “Growth that lasts in the changed lives of people or growth that leaves our story written by the properties we’ve built and purchased and staff we’ve hired?”

    That is the question I asked and you fell for the title! Sorry about that. So, the story in Acts talks about people not buildings. In my opinion we MUST tell out story. Let’s just not do it about things that matter not–such as how many buildings.

    So, do you agree with telling the unique story of your church? Or, is that pointless? I believe it is important–since that IS our witness just as Luke did. So say you?

    1. I actually was answering the final question, I was at work, and on my iPhone. The point I forgot to make was that the Church was founded on big names like Peter, and Paul.
      And yes I believe it’s important to tell your story, the history and tradition of each church is important. I think people do get bogged down in “their church” and forget that they are apart of The Church. Anyway, I stand on it’s a ‘heart issue’ no matter what happens.

  18. Matt,
    “Growth that lasts in the changed lives of people or growth that leaves our story written by the properties we’ve built and purchased and staff we’ve hired?”

    That is the question I asked and you fell for the title! Sorry about that. So, the story in Acts talks about people not buildings. In my opinion we MUST tell out story. Let’s just not do it about things that matter not–such as how many buildings.

    So, do you agree with telling the unique story of your church? Or, is that pointless? I believe it is important–since that IS our witness just as Luke did. So say you?

    1. I actually was answering the final question, I was at work, and on my iPhone. The point I forgot to make was that the Church was founded on big names like Peter, and Paul.
      And yes I believe it’s important to tell your story, the history and tradition of each church is important. I think people do get bogged down in “their church” and forget that they are apart of The Church. Anyway, I stand on it’s a ‘heart issue’ no matter what happens.

  19. Matt,
    “Growth that lasts in the changed lives of people or growth that leaves our story written by the properties we’ve built and purchased and staff we’ve hired?”

    That is the question I asked and you fell for the title! Sorry about that. So, the story in Acts talks about people not buildings. In my opinion we MUST tell out story. Let’s just not do it about things that matter not–such as how many buildings.

    So, do you agree with telling the unique story of your church? Or, is that pointless? I believe it is important–since that IS our witness just as Luke did. So say you?

    1. I actually was answering the final question, I was at work, and on my iPhone. The point I forgot to make was that the Church was founded on big names like Peter, and Paul.
      And yes I believe it’s important to tell your story, the history and tradition of each church is important. I think people do get bogged down in “their church” and forget that they are apart of The Church. Anyway, I stand on it’s a ‘heart issue’ no matter what happens.

  20. LOVE THE PIC OF THE SUBMERGENT CHURCH. CAN I USE IT FOR A LITTLE MOVIE I’M MAKING ABOUT JONAH?
    JESUS NUMBER ONE, TODAY, YESTERDAY AND FOREVER!

    1. Sure, go right ahead.
      By the way, you CAPS LOCK was left on. 😉

  21. LOVE THE PIC OF THE SUBMERGENT CHURCH. CAN I USE IT FOR A LITTLE MOVIE I’M MAKING ABOUT JONAH?
    JESUS NUMBER ONE, TODAY, YESTERDAY AND FOREVER!

    1. Sure, go right ahead.
      By the way, you CAPS LOCK was left on. 😉

  22. LOVE THE PIC OF THE SUBMERGENT CHURCH. CAN I USE IT FOR A LITTLE MOVIE I’M MAKING ABOUT JONAH?
    JESUS NUMBER ONE, TODAY, YESTERDAY AND FOREVER!

    1. Sure, go right ahead.
      By the way, you CAPS LOCK was left on. 😉

  23. LOVE THE PIC OF THE SUBMERGENT CHURCH. CAN I USE IT FOR A LITTLE MOVIE I’M MAKING ABOUT JONAH?
    JESUS NUMBER ONE, TODAY, YESTERDAY AND FOREVER!

    1. Sure, go right ahead.
      By the way, you CAPS LOCK was left on. 😉

  24. LOVE THE PIC OF THE SUBMERGENT CHURCH. CAN I USE IT FOR A LITTLE MOVIE I’M MAKING ABOUT JONAH?
    JESUS NUMBER ONE, TODAY, YESTERDAY AND FOREVER!

    1. Sure, go right ahead.
      By the way, you CAPS LOCK was left on. 😉

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