What do you tell a pastor trying to break 100, or 200 attendance levels by listening to church growth experts?
Based on my reflection of Jesus and Apostles personality, motives and actions, this is what I think we can say to them.
Don't worry about numbers of people sitting in the chairs in rows on Sundays.
That is simplistic and boring after a while.
Can you imagine Jesus attending a church marketing seminar, or submitting to such concerns.
Lol, He was starting a global movement that needed an apprenticeship model of full immersion with a handful of disciples. John 2 it reads that "He could not trust the crowds, because He knew what was in their motives" (paraphrase).
In fact instead of rows I think based on analysis of Scripture Jesus would be more concerned about disciples sitting in circles facing each other, dialoguing and praying to God.
Also, he would have them walking together casting out demons, feeding poor, healing sick and teaching/evangelizing through dialogue/debate about the kingdom of God.
The Son of Man is more concerned about Spirit sensitivity and function rather than quotas and growth charts.
The church is a rare biological spiritual beast that has elements of business, family, etc, but is very unique as a Discipleship Culture/family/movement.
Once you get on that train of marketing, numbers, and measurable goals you will be trapped.
The end will justify the means.
There is a difference with Luke's recording in Acts of how many got (past tense) saved versus establishing future numeric goals.
By 2017 we will have X amount Z members?
Look at how many Type A corporate mega-church pastors have broken attendance numbers and still find themselves discontent with ministry, marriage and life.
Like Solomon they find themselves walking through their campus one day uttering the words "meaningless, everything is meaningless".
Especially when they realize the whole institution "they and the elders" built is nothing more than a rated G Christian self help club with little actual Book of Acts impact in the community.
Everything was built on safety, beauty, convenience and luxury.
Just like Ikea they built a colorful institution with very few disciples who are making disciples intentionally through their lives.
Preacher If you have no joy, passion, or faithfulness in a home, street or prison ministering out of obedience and absolute excitement for Christ, you won't find it on staff or as a senior pastor of an established suburban or trendy urban church.
The Son of Man preached on boats, mountains, temple patios, homes, roads, in a court house, on the way to Calvary and on the cross.
If you in any way are persecuted, attacked or accused like Christ or Apostles of causing disruption in your city your safe and beautiful mega-church members will forsake you for the stable church and Pastor down the street who is operating within the system.
It's all smoke and glass!
Most of our ministries are illusions of Discipleship Movements.
No one is tested by hardship, or difficulties. If any financial hardship comes to your church you will see the true makeup of your membership or elders.
They will bail.
Be more concerned with your heart's purity before God, and faithfulness to disciple a small group and whether you're experiencing closeness to Christ and obeying His gentle voice/promptings/nudges.
You can grow a crowd with Spirit anointed preaching and miracles like Jesus, but at the end of the day only your core will carry on the work of the Gospel and reciprocate love for Christ.
"Many are called, but few are chosen" said Jesus.
For Christ He only had about 120 waiting in the upper room.
After Pentecost it grew through evangelism, Supernatural power, Discipleship and authentic community.
No media, no free giveaways, free iPads, bounce houses, no light show, smoke ambience, or clever sermon series.
Just raw Discipleship, Evangelism and Kingdom Organization and Spiritual Practices.
Read Luke, Acts and Pastoral Epistles again. The Word of God is useful for training you into God's definition of success.
You will have joy unspeakable and unshakable!