Last week in my evangelism class I spent a few minutes talking about this one passage:
1 Corinthians 3:6-9 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. (7) So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (8) The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. (9) For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
After talking about the meaning of the verse and several points of application I added something I really hadn’t planned on adding to the lecture. I told this group of students that one of my biggest frustrations today is with the Church growth movement. I want to see my Church grow. I am trying to do everything I can to plant seed, water seed and even till the soil. (Some people say I add a little fertilizer too). But if I read the verse right then God gives the increase. My creativity, my leadership, my effort, my great sermons, my deep insights, and anything else you want to add to that list do NOT grow the Church. God may use those things or He may not.
I need to be constantly reminded that the difference between a growing congregation and a non-growing congregation is not the pastor’s ability or lack of it. It may be that God is doing something unique in each situation. I need to trust God far more than anything else in the role of Church growth and evangelism.