Cymbala on The Right and Wrong Way to Grow

As we think about the purpose of Multiply and the command Jesus gave to go and make disciples (Matt 28:18-20), there’s always the temptation to adjust our message in order to attract more would-be followers of Christ. However, the goal of making disciples will not be accomplished by our own ability or ingenuity.

Pastor and author Jim Cymbala gives us a healthy reminder that the call to spread the gospel is a call to remain faithful to its message:

“The apostles weren’t trying to finesse people. Their communication was not supposed to be ‘cool’ or soothing. They aimed for a piercing of the heart, for conviction of sin. They had not the faintest intention of asking, ‘What do people want to hear? How can we draw more people to church on Sunday?’ That was the last thing in their minds. Such an approach would have been foreign to the whole New Testament.

Instead of trying to bring men and women to Christ in the biblical way, we are consumed with the unbiblical concept of ‘church growth.’ The Bible does not say we should aim at numbers but rather urges us faithfully to proclaim God’s message in the boldness of the Holy Spirit. This will build God’s church God’s way.

Unfortunately, some churches now continually monitor how pleased people are with the services and ask what else they would like…

We have no permission whatsoever to adjust the message of the gospel. Whether it seems popular or not, whether it is ‘hip’ to the times, we must faithfully and boldly proclaim that sin is real but Jesus forgives those who confess.

God nowhere asks anyone to have a large church. He only calls us to do his work, proclaiming his Word to people he loves under the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit to produce results that only he can bring about. The glory then goes to him alone—not to any denomination, local church, local pastor, or church-growth consultant. That is God’s only plan, and anything else is a deviation from the teaching of the New Testament.”

— Jim Cymbala, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, 124-125

As we seek to obey Christ’s call in the Great Commission, we must rely on God’s Spirit to apply the truths of God’s Word to those we encounter. It is Christ who is building His church (Matt 16:13-20), not us.

We long to see people come to know Christ and grow as His disciples, and to this end we pray and seek to share His truth. But we must leave the results up to God. Our call, as pastor Cymbala says above, is to be faithful to our Lord and His gospel. At the Multiply Gathering, we will be challenged to do just that.

To learn more about Multiply, go here.

To learn more about the Multiply Gathering, go here.

To register for the Multiply Gathering (for free!), go here.

  1. Transformational Truths - For His Honor said:

    Do you folks have any “flyers” or advertisement materials we could purchase in order to present the November 9th meeting to the general public in our area? If so, let me know how to secure these as soon as possible. Thanks, Lamar

    • Hey Lamar – We are working on some promotional materials to help you spread the word. We’ll let everyone know how to get them as soon as they’re available. (And they’ll be free too!) While you’re waiting, feel free to share the videos that are on the Multiply website.

      • LAMAR CARNES said:


  2. Tara said:

    High five!! This is spot on and something I, as well as many other Christians, need a constant reminder of. It’s not about the number but about the truth we speak and the God who gives us those words. Thanks guys! God bless.

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