EMPIRE BUILDING     by Pastor Paul Locke

Empire Building is the common method used in church growth by most church leaders in this day and age.   What this term means is to focus on numbers of bottoms on seats and how much money can be raised to give the Pastor a living from the work.  This does not apply so much with the Mainline Churches but is a hidden agenda of all church leaders.  This agenda is akin to “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul.” (Mtt 16:26)

The size of the church is a measure they use as a sign of success, but God sees it in a different light.  Obedience is better than sacrifice so each person needs to be able to lay down what they have when asked by God.  The plans of man naturally focus on the worldly way to grow a church which in the end becomes a worldly church that rightly can be called a ‘Club’.  On the other hand Jesus said, “…upon this rock will I build my Church…” (Mtt 16:18)  This means He will build the Church upon Himself.

Gamaliel said of the Apostles before the Sanhedrin, “For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39)   He gave an illustration of Theudas and also Judas who built around themselves a following that failed when the leaders died.  A church in error usually is spared but the leaders die or are taken out of leadership.

The first sign of Empire Building is where nepotism or favouritism raises its ugly head.  Pentecostal churches are prone to this sin through the lack of oversight in a local environment.  This is the sin of witchcraft because it manipulates people, and you can be sure that if it is done, then that leader disqualifies himself in the sight of God.  The devil is quick to sponsor delusions of grandeur, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  (1Ptr 5:8)

The safe way to build a church is to, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Mtt 6:33)  Kingdom building is outside the walls of your church where the lost are in abundance and need to hear the message the Church has for them.  The guarantee of success in building a local church is “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” (1Cor 9:9)  For spontaneous church growth it is recommended to teach the commands of Jesus.

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