Does a great facility = great growth?
Having a well-kept, nice facility is just expected. Also having the proper technology to carry out your ministry is a total must.
Over the years that I’ve been involved in ministry, I have noticed that there can be what I call the “want to be” syndrome.
The statements – I am sure you have also heard – go something like this, “If only we had the technology that XYZ church has, we would grow as fast as they are”. Or “If our building looked that nice we too could have rapid growth.”
Mentally most of know that the above statement is not true for the church, in business or in general.
I am currently listening to one of the many biographies on the life of Steve Jobs. Many of you know that that when Steve left apple, only to come back a decade later, he started a company call NeXT. Steve had it all: he recruited the best engineers and built the most advanced factory and well-equipped offices.
Steve himself was a visionary, a charismatic (if not sometimes frightening) leader. NeXT however basically tanked being acquired by Apple (some say that NeXT was only purchased by Apple to get Steve back) for a fraction of the investment that went into the company.
How could a company that had the best of support and wind at its back fail? I contend that it was Steve’s journey in the wilderness, he had lost direction and purpose.
Churches too can fall into this trap. I have seen church plants that seem to have everything, a great place to meet, plenty of financing and yet not succeeded. Success is not guaranteed by the amount of resources that we possess.
Another way to look at this is to realize that the reason your ministry may be stagnant or dying is not because you don’t have the cool technology, or a fancy facility. Most likely the stagnation come from the fact that the church is not connecting with people or living out and fulfilling its calling and mission.
A change in venue or and upgrade often just moves the problem, it the proverbial lipstick on the pig. Sure it looks a little nicer, but it’s still a pig. In fact, I believe that new technology may only magnify your current irrelevance. It’s like putting new siding on a building with a bad foundation or a new paint on a car with a bad or blown engine. It may look better but it’s still going to crumble or stop running.
The false hope and belief that something new can spark growth or change the current reality leads many churches to get out the lipstick, somehow hoping against hope that nobody will notice the stench that is still there.
Reality check. Buildings and technology are a means to an end. They can help facilitate growth but in no way are they the secret cause.
I think the biggest proof of this is the fact that you can have a growing church in a centuries old building and you can kill or have a dead or dying church in a brand new multi-million-dollar facility.
If you are counting on facilities or technology to somehow be the thing alone that brings growth to your ministry, you better get ready for a major disappointment.