John MacArthur preached a powerful opening message on church growth at last week’s Shepherd’s Conference. Below is an excerpt:
The question for us is this: as the Lord builds his church, by what means does he do it? And secondly, has He revealed the means to us? If we undershepherds of Jesus Christ are to be the human instruments to build His church, we need to understand how He does it. We need to get in line with the divine pattern. There are many ways to build the “first church of the tares,” behind which Satan is the real power. It can be done very effectively; it can be big and enduring. The gnostics did it, and it’s still around. The Roman Catholics have done it, the liberals, the cults. They’re all still around.
The church of the tares is actually bigger than the church of the wheat. Even those who call themselves evangelicals today are busy doing it. There are a number of places called “churches,” where tares gather in increasing numbers. The successful assemblies of tares will eagerly market their skills as “tare development.” It can be very seductive to those motivated by pride, numbers, popularity.
If you want to compete with other “tare pastors,” there is ample information, seminars, data on the internet, to work on building your church of the tares with a smattering of wheat. However, if you serve Christ and recognize him as the head and builder of the church, then all you want to know is, “How can I be useful to him in the building of his church?”
May we stay faithful to God’s ordained means of growing His church – through prayer, perseverance, purity, and gospel proclamation.
Thanks to Evers Ding for providing the liveblog for last week’s conference. Seminar notes should be posted in the next few weeks, and all general sessions and seminars are available for purchase here.