CHURCH GROWTH If people would have been asked in 1968 which nation would dominate the world in watch

making during the 1990s and into the twenty-first century the answer would have been uniform: Switzerland. Why? Because Switzerland had dominated the world of watch making for the previous sixty years. The Swiss made the best watches in the world and were committed to constant refinement of their expertise. It was the Swiss who came forward with the minute hand and the second hand. They led the world in discovering better ways to manufacture the gears, hearings, and mainsprings of watches. They even led the way in waterproofing techniques and self-winding models. By 1968, the Swiss made 65 percent of all watches sold in the world and laid claim to as much as 90 percent of the profits. By 1980, however, they had laid off thousands of watch-makers and controlled less than 10 percent of the world market. Their profit domination dropped to less than 20 percent. Between 1979 and 1981, fifty thousand of the sixty-two thousand Swiss watchmakers lost their jobs. Why? The Swiss had refused to consider a new development—the—the Quartz movement—ironically, invented by a Swiss. Because it had no main-spring or knob, it was rejected. It was too much of a paradigm shift for them to embrace. Seiko, on the other hand, accepted it and, along with a few other companies, became the leader in the watch industry. The lesson of the Swiss watchmakers Is profound. A past that was so secure, so profitable, so dominant was destroyed by an unwillingness to consider the future. It was more than not being able to make predictions—it was an inability to rethink how they did business. Past success had blinded them to the importance of seeing the implications of the changing world and to admit that past accomplishment was no guarantee of future success. James Enery White, Show me a church where there is love, and I will show you a church that is a power in the community. In Chicago a few years ago a little boy attended a Sunday school I know of. When his parents moved to another part of the city the little fellow still attended the same Sunday school, although it meant a long, tiresome walk each way. A friend asked him why he went so far, and told him that there were plenty of others just as good nearer his home. "They may be as good for others, but not for me," was his reply. "Why not?" she asked. "Because they love a fellow over there," he replied. If only we could make the world believe that we loved them there would be fewer empty churches, and a smaller proportion of our population who never darken a church door. Let love replace duty in our church relations, and the world will soon be evangelized. Moody's Anecdotes, pp. 71-72. Surveys show that as much as 85 percent of church membership growth is made

up of people who church-hop. Other surveys show that there has been no real growth in church membership in recent years; increase in some denominations is simply offset by decrease in others.* Here's a quote from an article in the Houston Chronicle, August 29, 1992. He said the ongoing vitality of American religious congregations depends, in large measure, on their effectiveness in resounding to six spiritual needs of Americans as identified in his surveys. Consider the six needs he discovered in his survey: 1. To believe life is meaningful and has a purpose. 2. To have sense of community and deeper relationships. 3. To be appreciated and respected. 4. To be listened to--and heard. 5. To feel that one is growing in the faith. 6. To have practical help in developing a mature faith. 90% of new members will stay in the church if: 1. they can articulate their faith (implies need for membership and evangelism classes), 2. They belong to subgroups (i.e. choir, Bible Studies, Sunday School classes, etc.), 3. They have 4-8 close friendships within the church. Leadership, IV, 3, p. 46. Things churches can do to build greater interest in religion, according to a Gallup survey: improve communication with members (21% of respondents); concentrate more on personal spiritual matters (19%); become more involved in community matters (18%); focus more efforts on young people (14%). Other suggestions include more social activities for church members, more personal contacts between clergy and families, including pastoral visits, less emphasis on money, advertise more, strive for unity, and stay out of politics. After surveying 10,000 people, the Institute for American Church Growth concluded that 79 percent began attending church after receiving a personal invitation. Only 6% were attracted by the pastor, 5% by the Sunday school and 0.5% by an evangelistic crusade. Focus on the Family, July, 1984. Over 75 percent of lay people say they visit a church because of a friend or a relative. But the number-two reason families join a church, Group's research concluded, is the church's ministry to youth. The number-one consideration is preaching. Christianity Today, October 20, 1989, p. 43. Live churches' expenses are always more than their income; dead churches don't need much money! Live churches have parking problems; Dead churches have empty spaces! Live churches may have some noisy children; Dead churches are quiet as a cemetery. Live churches keep changing their ways of doing things; Dead churches see no

need for change! Live churches grow so fast you can't keep up with people's names; In dead churches everybody always knows everybody's name. Live churches strongly support world missions; Dead churches keep the money at home! Live churches are full of regular, cheerful givers; Dead churches are full of grudging tippers! Live churches move ahead on prayer and faith; Dead churches work only on sight! Live churches plant daughter churches; Dead churches fear spending the money, time, and talent! Live churches outgrow their Sunday School facilities; Dead churches have room to spare! Live churches welcome all classes of people; Dead churches stick to their own kind! Live churches' members read their Bibles and bring them to church; Dead churches' members seldom do! Live churches' members enthusiastically support the ministries; Dead churches have no ministries--only functions! Live churches' members look for someone they can help; Dead churches' members look for something to complain about! Live churches' members reach out to share their faith in Christ; Dead churches' members don't have enough to share! Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 19:19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Mark 12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Luke 6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. Luke 6:32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Love: Hebrew - avgapa,w agapao {ag-ap-ah'-o} • perhaps from agan (much) [or cf 5368]; TDNT - 1:21,5; v • AV - love 135, beloved 7; 142 • 1) of persons 1a) to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly 2) of things 2a) to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

Webster Dictionary a : unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as (1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) : brotherly concern for others b : a person's adoration of God.