Preachers want to make church seem attractive; in fact, most churches operate on an attractional model of growth. They want to get bigger by attracting people to join up. Motivations for wanting to grow may vary. Some are of the opinion that people outside their church are living an inferior life and they want to save them from that life. Some realize that it is often more efficient to share costs among more people. Some think that bigger is better. And many haven’t thought about it at all but are just following protocol.
Preachers have many reasons for wanting the church to grow, and it is only natural that they would design their gatherings and their speeches to enhance the attractive value of the church.
If preachers disparaged their churches in public it would be a cause for concern.
I believe that it is for the purpose of attraction that much current sermonizing has turned in a therapeutic direction. We want to attract people by telling them that their lives can be better than they are right now. We want them to want the improvement we can offer them.
When growth of the church has become the goal, the means to achieve the goal will follow along. The true purpose of the church will become forgotten and left behind. And that is exactly our situation today.
We are supposed to be a community of God’s people. We are supposed to exemplify the gospel as depicted in chapter 12 of Paul’s letter to the Roman churches. We don’t always—or even usually— have it together. To lead people to expect a community that will solve their problems will lead to a letdown.
Somehow, I imagine, if we get the message right and get the community functioning properly, all the other stuff will fall in line.