Should the Goal of Your Church be to Grow, Multiply or Expand?

See what you think of this quote by Tim Suttle:

The church’s job is not to grow, multiply, or expand. The church’s job is not to take back the culture for Jesus. The church’s job is not even to survive. The church’s job is to be the church—to be the faithful people of God who organize their common life together in such a way that they image God to all creation. Sadly, most American churches do not image God so much as they image American story of bigger, better, stronger, higher, and faster. The story of God is quite different. This story says the last will be first and the first will be last. Authentically Christian leadership does not embrace success as a worthy objective. Instead the Christian leader must embrace the way of descent, and the cruciform life of dying to self and others. The American way is up. The Jesus way is down.

What do you think?

Can I admit something?

I’m a both/and guy. Not an either/or guy.

Sure… the church should be the church. We should be faithful. And we should image God to all creation.

But to say it’s not the job of the church to grow, multiply, or expand is an either/or rather than a both/and statement.

I’ve always been of the mindset that if the church was really being the church (even with the above definition), it would be growing, multiplying, and expanding.


And if it’s not, then we’re not being the church very ding-dang well.

That said… I like Tim’s piece (you can read it all here, where he shares ‘5 reasons your church should be smaller’.)  I like pieces that make me think. But wanting your church to be smaller, more pure, anything else as a reaction to church growth ideas is… well… a reaction that kind of goes against our call to reach people.

If we’re really reaching people, they should be assimilating somewhere… right?




  • Jade April 7, 2015 Reply


    I agree with you I think you can have your cake and eat it to here. I think if you are following the heartbeat of God then you will indeed see the results of that. While I don’ think we should be growth focused but Christ focused, I think we can tell if we are the right track by the number of people we are winning to the Lord.

  • Cavell Samuels April 29, 2015 Reply

    Todd, this is an excellent post. Our one and only desire should be that the will of the Lord be done. His will is found in His Word (Matthew 4). Growth is a by-product of what we are doing. Growth however is not revealed by numbers as many in society would view it, but growth in the Kingdom is through self denial (Matthew 16).

Leave a Reply

19 Total Shares
Current Events Humor Leadership Staffing
Soup Kitchen Shut Down for Two Months and Came Back Stronger

Greenpoint Reformed Church in Brooklyn had plans to feed 25 people...

Is New York City Trending Toward a Revival?

The Barna Group believes that according to surveys conducted in the...

Declining and Growing Churches Differ in Theology

A study of growing conservative churches and declining mainline churches found...