The Pastor\’s Pen

An Independent Baptist Preacher\’s Musings and Observations

A Crowd Ain’t a Church

Posted by Pastor Szekely on July 26, 2008

I received the following from Pastor Ken Blue of the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Washington. What do YOU think about it?

A guest speaker said, “A crowd ain’t a church“. I wonder what his intent for that comment was. Do crowds intimidate him? Is he opposed to promotions that might bring a crowd? Is he jealous of those churches that have a crowd?

Certainly, not every crowd constitutes a church; but every church should want a crowd.   Every pastor [along with every church member – me] should do everything he can to attract the largest crowd he can get. Then he must preach the gospel to them and [see] as many saved as he can. Common sense dictates, the greater the crowd, the greater the chances you will reach someone for Christ. A crowd may not glorify God, but neither does an empty building.

Jesus gladly preached to the crowds. He wasn’t fooled by them, nor was He foolish, thinking they were unimportant. The Lord instructed His servant to, “…Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Luke 14:23.

If we think the lost man will come to our church because of our alliterated outlines, our King James Bible, and our independent stand, we are mistaken. These things are imperative for us, but they will not attract a lost crowd. I can hear someone say, “I don’t believe crowds are important.” I say to you, “If you had one, you would believe it.” May God help us to be wise enough to know how to attract a crowd, and give us the message needed to reach them for Christ.

1.   We should do all we can to reach people for Christ
2.  We should thank God for those we have
3.  We should never become complacent

So what say you? Is this a point well-taken, or would “doing everything we can to attract the largest crowd” be considered a cross into compromise? I believe it to be a point well-taken…how ’bout you?


5 Responses to “A Crowd Ain’t a Church”

  1. Elaine said

    Bro. Szekely,

    Since we don’t have the context of the sentence it is hard to say what the man was intending to come across. But to speculate, I would say that a crowd is not a church. A church being made up of believers to worship and praise God. However the crowds should be preached to in an effort to win them to Christ. Too often we bring the crowd into the church before salvation, corrupting it. I hope what I am trying to say is coming across the right way. I am not downing bring the lost to church in hopes of them getting saved, but too often we rely on this instead of doing the witnessing we are suppose to.

    So a crowd is not a church, but a church can be a crowd.


  2. G’day Elaine,

    I hear what you’re saying – “Too often we bring the crowd into the church before salvation, corrupting it.” – and I totally agree.

    Too many times churches TOTALLY rely on “visitors”. But I believe we see in that first church they went out from the congregation, made aquaintances, witnessed and preached the Law and Gospel, saw folks get saved, THEN brought them to the congregation…to the church.

    Also just another thought – most with this mindset of bringing folks to church to get saved [which I too am not against] get to believing it’s the “pastor’s job” to lead them to Christ. Of course, it’s not just his “job”…every church member has been given the Great Commission.

    Thank you for your comments, Elaine…hope to hear from you again around the blog…

    Lord bless!

  3. Engelbert said

    Yes Jesus did preach to the crowds – but he never took money off them.

    I’ve never seen a protestant church yet that doesn’t take the opportunity to take money off the crowd – so if you’re heart is to reach the lost in the crowd – then you ain’t gonna acheive it if you take money off them.

    The day I see a preacher speak to a crowd without having one of his lacky’s get up and preach some goo gah about the cattle on a thousand hills – I’ll say to myself ‘there goes a man of God’

    Secondly, your assumption that the guy was ‘jealous’ cause he didn’t have a crowd seems like guesswork. – it’s just an assumption – lot’s of people don’t like crowds for whatever reason.

    Thirdly – your next comment that ’empty buildings don’t glorify God’ is sort of ‘religiosity’ at it’s most insidious.

    The early church never even had buildings, not for about the first 300 years. Do you honestly think that God’s ability to reach the nations by His Spirit is limited to man-made buildings?

    Yes, I do agree with you on one thing – crowds can be useful to preach the gospel – but where are the men of God who are prepared NOT to spiritually manipulate the crowd for their own agenda ? ie: to build their own kingdom, ministry, following, etc.

    That is what is lacking , not the crowds.

    Crowds are easy to get – even bad rock bands can attract 10,0000 or more if the weather is nice.

    The whole assumption that we are ‘winning’ for the Lord because we’ve got a big crowd is kinda inept. The same logic would suggest MacDonalds must be the most nutritious food in the world, because look at the amount of it they sell.

    It all depends on what is being said and imparted to the crowd – and who brought the crowd? Did God bring it? Did satan bring it? Or was it just manufactured by men? These are the questions to be asking when contemplating crowds.

    Next time you’ve got a crowd, brother – preach the gospel to them without taking up any money – then I’ll be inclined to believe you.

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