Smashing the Myth of American Church Success

Michael Brown says all too often outward success has nothing to do with discipleship or spiritual growth.

There is a myth of church success in America that says, “The bigger the building, the bigger the budget, the bigger the attendance, the more successful you are.”

In the sight of man, this might equal success. But in the sight of God, it may have nothing to do with success. In fact, it might simply be the beautiful facade hiding all kinds of spiritual rot and decay.

To be clear, I have had the privilege of preaching in some of the finest megachurches in America, replete with large buildings, big budgets and multiplied thousands of attendees. And I can personally attest to the fact that some of these churches are healthy in many ways: focused on Jesus, reaching the lost, making disciples, and giving themselves to prayer.

And some of them are doing this at least as well as many smaller churches and house groups.

So, I’m all for “big” as long as that “big” equates to maturity in Jesus, effective outreach to the lost, compassionate giving to the poor, life in the Spirit, and a powerful expression of the Great Commission. It is in that context that Acts records the growing numbers of disciples (see, for example, Acts 2:41; 4:4; 6:7).

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