Monday, May 07, 2007

New 9Marks Conference on Church Growth

One of my least favorite ecclesiastical ideas is that of church growth.

I personally see the very idea of church growth as a pragmatic invention of the twentieth century by which pastors and church leaders focus more on numbers and programs than on individuals and piety. There is very little of the church growth movement that is remotely positive. It's had a harmful effect on the local church, and will be judged in history as a worldly shift in the church's thinking.

With that said, how welcome is the following banner: "Gospel Growth vs. Church Growth". This is also the name of a conference to be held at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC in late October. The conference is co-sponsored by 9Marks Ministries and Matthias Media. Speakers at the event include Tony Payne, Phillip Jensen, and Mark Dever. As a former CHBC intern and a current contributing writer to 9Marks, I cannot encourage you more to attend this conference. It is confusing to try and figure out how much of a church growth focus is appropriate. I have found the ministry of Mark Dever to be no less than illuminating on this point. If you are a pastor, or if you know a pastor who is struggling, or leading a small church, or merely in need of instruction on this issue, tell them of this conference. If you are a blogger, I encourage you to link to this conference as I have. Let's get the word out in hopes that the health of the church might spread.

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