I often hear from church and business leaders a mantra of “MORE!” The cry is for more resources, more services, more staff, more volunteers, more users, more creativity, more partnership, more this and more that.
But what if “more” is not what’s needed?
I fear that we often confuse “more” with “good.” The confusion leads us to think that more of something will enable good, result in good, or actually be good. The confusion also leads us to chase improvement when it’s not necessary and may actually be unhelpful.
Here are some examples of churches chasing more:
- A church planter who believes that more money will solve many of the church’s most pressing problems.
- A worship leader who constantly presses for more creativity in worship.
- A church leadership team that seeks to attract more young families with children.
- A church that consistently adds more services and/or more venues.
- A student event, marriage retreat, or Vacation Bible School that needs to be bigger and better than the one last year.
The truth is that people have started to expect churches to have more of whatever it is we have or do. People expect more because they equate it with growth, progress, winning, success, and all things good. Similar to how we expect Apple to come out with a new iPhone every 12 to 18 months, we expect to see signs of progress at church.
But what if God’s metric for “good” has very little to do with “more?” To be clear, I’m not talking about dismissing our mandate to go and make disciples (evangelism and discipleship), although that mandate far too often gets conflated with church growth. Instead, I’m talking about all of the insidious ways we succumb to the pressure to do and have more.
Consider some simple examples from scripture that demonstrate good is not always equated with more:
- God’s personhood as Trinity shows no signs of expanding to include a fourth member.
- God gave the tribe of Israel a specific and bounded territory and no command to constantly seek expansion, a la the Persian, Babylonian or Roman empires.
- Jesus did not press for an ever-growing circle of disciples, but sought to form the twelve He had.
It’s also clear from scripture that “more” is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes more is a very good thing. But it’s not always a good thing and it is never the most important thing.
I fear that if we are not careful we can start kneeling at the altar of more, submitting to the lordship of progress, worshipping the god of growth and doing it all in the name of the one true God.
Church leaders have to be wise and faithful in discerning when more is good thing and when it’s a false god. Here are some questions to help you discern:
- Why do we want more of this?
- Where in scripture do we see evidence that more of this is pleasing to God?
- In what ways are we fooling ourselves into thinking that God wants more when it’s really about us, our ego, our status, etc.?
- How can we resist the urge to blindly go after more without becoming lazy or exhibiting poor stewardship?
- What would be the signs that we are worshipping fruitfulness?
Where have you seen churches err by chasing more? What have been the consequences? Thanks for sharing.