Monday, April 17, 2006


Bob Jones, founder of the conservative university that bears his name, once said, "Jesus promised that 'where two or three are gathered, there am I in the midst of them' but that doesn't mean that He doesn't like a bigger crowd." (supply rim shot here)

I happen to agree with Jones on this point. All things being equal, God desires for His church to grow numerically as well as spiritually. What indicators do we have that Jesus would "like a bigger crowd"?

1. God doesn’t want anyone to perish

• "The Lord is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but wants everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

2. God wants his house to be full

• "Go out into the country...and urge anyone you find to come in, so that my house will be full." Luke 14:23

3. God’s body is alive and growing

• "Under Christ's control, the whole body is nourished...and grows as God wants it to grow." Colossians 2:19

4. God is building His church

• Jesus said, "I will build my church." Matthew 16:18

Some may look at CTK and see that it is “small pieces loosely joined” and come to the conclusion that we prefer small over big. We don’t actually prefer small over big. We prefer more, over bigger. That is, we want to reach an unlimited number of people (more people than you could ever put it any one facility), but we feel that the best way to do that is to be in an unlimited number of places. We don’t feel that our calling is to build a church, but to reach a community. And we feel that trying to reach large numbers of people in one place is a very limited idea. So at CTK we feel we need to grow larger and smaller at the same time! We need to keep “breaking it down” so that we can always make good on our pledge: “Always A Place For You.”

When I was a kid, I remember when a new fast food restaurant came to my home town of Anchorage, Alaska. There were big yellow arches out front. They had a clown named Ronald. But what I remember most was the sign. Right from the start they had a sign up that read “40 million served.” I remember thinking, “Wow, how did they do that?” My parents filled me in: “Son, they are a chain, which means that they have restaurants in lots of different places. That’s how they did that.” Evidently McDonald’s was faced with a choice. Build a bigger restaurant to serve more people, or build more restaurants to serve more people. They went the “more” route. The rest, as they say, is history. They quit putting those signs up after they got into the billions.

Early in CTK’s story, we were faced with a choice. Either reach more people by being “bigger,” or reach more people by being “more.” We decided that instead of trying to reach “thousands by hundreds,” we would try to reach “tens of thousands by tens.” We dreamed, “Instead of trying to create a ministry, what if we could inspire a movement?” The conventional church growth theory is “Bigger is better.” If we had chosen to go that route, there would no doubt be a church in Mount Vernon now of well over 1000 people. But by believing that “more is better than bigger” we have become a church of thousands that now is free to become a church of tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands.

How big God’s church gets is His business. We just know that we want to reach out to an unlimited number of people, or as many as we possibly can. The best way we know to do that is to be in as many places as possible.

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