Oh, and it’s popular. I hear it all the time on the lips of those scared that their congregations are dying, and of course on the lips of those gurus whose financial health depends on the fear of dying congregations, and the belief by those congregations that a magic program/strategy/personality-type exists to answer once and for all the problems this phrase points up.
Every pulpit committee I’ve ever worked with wants candidates to have a ready answer for the questions prompted by this stupid phrase. Rural congregations. Small town congregations. Suburban and urban congregations. They all seem unreasonably confident that there is something out there—which they haven’t happened upon yet—that will allow them to escape with their lives and their budgets still intact—if someone will just tell them how to … Grow. The. Church!
It’s usually phrased in a question or as the subject of an action item list:
“How are you going to grow the church?”
“11 Things Your Pastor Should Be Doing to Grow Your Church.”