For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3, 4)
There are hundreds of books, professional church consultants and church development conferences available to teach Pastors how to grow their churches. Church growth (increased numbers of attendees, not spiritual growth) has become the way many now measure church "success". The churches with the greater number of people attending are considered the most successful. Conventional wisdom says that if you are not growing in numbers, you must be doing something wrong and its time to hire a consultant, attend a church growth conference or at least read a book on "How to Grow Your Church".
There are many churches with over a thousand members and some so called "mega" churches with ten thousand or more members. However, the average church in America has less than 100 members. Maranatha Bible Church is below average in size. When someone asks me; "How is your church doing and are you growing?", I might tell them that we are a "mega" home church and that I'm thinking about writing a book entitled; "How to Make Your Church Smaller!"
We need to be careful, of course, judging the success or failure of a particular church based solely upon the number of members. There are solid large churches that consistently preach and teach sound doctrine. Also, just because a church is small like ours doesn't necessarily mean that it is more spiritual. But it is equally true that large numbers alone are not what determines success, at least according to God's judgment, and His judgment is all that finally matters.
Unfortunately, most so called "mega" churches have large numbers because the Pastors and other teachers don't consistently preach the word or teach the biblical truths which they fear might offend someone. Usually the gospel, if even mentioned in their sermons, is watered down. Instead, their preaching and teaching purposely tickles ears with culturally acceptable and humorous, entertaining "sermonettes". There is little or no mention of God's coming judgment, wrath or hell. Difficult or controversial topics are avoided. Church services, music and programs are professional designed to keep people entertained, comfortable and coming back for more of the same. These churches are filled with comfortable, biblically ignorant unbelievers who are on the broad road that leads to destruction.
How is your church doing? Are you successful? All Pastors and Bible teachers, including me, need to remember James 3:1; Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.Maranatha!