So why do pastors want and need for their churches to grow and make an impact? Certainly there are good, pure reasons, but is it possible that some of us have made our churches (or church growth) into an idol?
I’ve never thought of idol worship as a danger for me, because I’m a simple guy and I’ve always thought of idols as like golden calfs or carved up pieces of wood. I mean the Bible does talk about “making an idol” in a “form” (see Ex 20:4) and “carving” them (see Deut 27:15). But God also speaks of setting up idols in our hearts (Ezekiel 14:3-7) and so obviously an idol isn’t just a physical thing we bow down to and sing worship songs to.
So what is an idol, and what is idolatry? Here’s the best definition I’ve found:
“… anyone or anything from which you and I try to acquire life, value and meaning – outside of the true God – is a false god. Therefore, those positive behaviors aimed at generating life and acceptability for us are sins. So even though what we do may be right, the reason why we do it is idolatrous,” (Jeff Vanvondervan, Tired of Trying to Measure Up, p 101)
So have you made your church (or church growth) into an idol? I’ll give you a little test next time to help you decide.