Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Where do the people come from?

I'm always interested in learning about churches that have been effective in reaching more people for Jesus. In the process of reading a biography of the 18th century preacher C.H. Spurgeon, I came across this quote of how he had built such a large congregation. Here's what he said:

"Somebody asked me how I got my congregation; I never got it at all. I did not think it was my duty to do so. I only had to preach the Gospel. Why, my congregation got my congregation. I had eighty, or scarcely a hundred when I preached first. the next time I had two hundred: every one who heard me was saying to his neighbour, 'You must go and hear this young man!' Next meeting we had four hundred, and in six weeks eight hundred. That was the way in which my people got my congregation. now the people are admitted by tickets. That does very well; a member can give his ticket to another person and say, 'I will stand in the aisle,' or 'I will get in with the crowd.' Some persons, you know, will not go if they can get in easily, but they will go if you tell them they cannot get in without a ticket. that is the way congregations ought to bring a congregation about a minister. A minister preaches all the better if he has a large congregation. it was once said by a gentleman that the forming of a congregation was like the beating up of game, the minister being the sportsman. But there are some of our ministers that can't shoot! I really think, however, that I could shoot a partridge if I fired into the midst of a covey, though I might not do so if there were only one or two."

It sounds to me that Spurgeon found that people would come if they were invited to something and found out that there was a good reason to continue to come. I doubt that it will work for us to have bouncers at the church door with an exclusive guest list, but that would certainly be cool to see.

What do you think? Whose job is it to bring more people to church? And does a pastor tend to preach better if there are more people there to hear him? I'd love to hear your comments.


  1. I tend to think that when people are weak at bringing others to church, it is because they should really bring people to hear/learn/meet God instead of trying to bring them to the church building. It changes the whole outlook when it's about meeting God. Get them to think about what they heard about God. Not what they think of the building people etc. If people lived their lives passionately about God everyday, people would follow them to church, instead of having to be invited. Pat D.

  2. Who is responsible? I think we are all responsible for bringing people to church, the congregation and the pastor. Naturally the number of people invited by the congregation should far outway the number of people invited by the pastor. Unfortunately that doesn't always happen.

    Do pastors speak better if there are more people? Depends what your definition of "better" is...

    Will you speak more accurately the word of God?

    Will you speak more enthusiastically or pursuasively?

    I would hope that whether you are speaking to one person about our Lord Jesus Christ or ten thousand it shouldn't change.