The growth of the gospel happens in the lives of people, not in the structures of my church. Or to put it in terms of our opening metaphor, the growth of the trellis is not the growth of the vine. We may multiply the number of programs, events, committees and other activities that our church is engaged in; we may enlarge and modernize our buildings; we may re-cast our regular meetings to be attractive and effective in communicating to our culture we may congratulate ourselves that numbers are up. And all of these are good things! But if people are not growing in their knowledge of God’s will so that they walk ever more worthily of the Lord, seeking to please him in all things and bearing fruit in every good work, then there is not growth to speak of happenings at all.
This quote is an adequate summary of the book so far. The authors propose a paradigm shift from programs to people. Christians are in the business disciple making. This means people growing. I remember reading an article by Dr. Litfin on pastoral ministry. He says that the pastor should always be busy trying to work himself out of a job. At the time this seemed odd to me. But anything short of this attitude is a wrong-headed approach to ministry.