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Church Growth: A Flood, Not A Trickle

August 7, 2010

Here’s an interesting article from The Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street in New York City.

The thing that jumped out at me was his assertion that churches grow “exponentionally” rather than “linearly.” That means that when a church is growing it will gain members very rapidly (like a flood), not slowly and steadily (like a drip, drip, drip trickle).

That makes sense to me. Although I have also come to believe that much of the progress we make in our work, whether here in the church or anyplace else, is incremental. That is to say that change for the better–in my admittedly limited experience–seems to take place in drip, drip, drip fashion. It has also been my feeling that when we try to affect a flood of progress–when we try to create change for the better in fast and furious fashion–we often end up doing more harm than good.

But maybe Cooper’s point is that real change for the better–change ordained by God, not by us humans–comes fast and furious; that when God is spurring growth it comes in a gush. All we can do is welcome it into our midst and hang on to wherever it washes us.

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