1 Corinthians 3:3
You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
Juan Carlos Ortiz pastored the fastest growing church in Argentina during a time of great church growth in that nation. His church was bursting at the seams but he tells how in a time of prayer he sensed the Lord telling him his church was not growing. Puzzled by this he tried to tell the Lord how many new people they were baptizing each week and how many more were coming today than a month ago.
He then sensed the Lord say, “Your church is not growing. It is just getting fat.” As he thought about this he realized he was just building a huge spiritual nursery full of infants, not growing Christians. The attendance was getting larger but the church, God’s people, were not growing.
While I believe in church growth – no one should be content with the size of his church as long as there is one unsaved person within reach of that church’s ministry – I also believe the Lord is concerned with growing the church, His people, into mature believers.
This passage tells us how God measures church growth and it has nothing to do with attendance, budgets or buildings. Jealousy and quarreling is a sign of infancy – no growth. Our love for one another is the Biblical sign of church growth and, according to 1 Corinthians 13, is more important than our giftedness, our knowledge, our faith or even the sacrifices we may make for God. Am I growing in my love for others? If not, I may be getting fat but I am not growing more mature.
PRAYER: Lord, since your measure of church growth is the love I have, let me grow to be a mega-church in your kingdom – a person of mega-love.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (my paraphrase)
If I have all the gifts of the Spirit, understand all about God and the Bible, have awesome faith, if I give my last dime to God or even die as a martyr but don’t have love, it’s all a big zero by God’s standards.