HGH (human growth hormone) and illegal steroids have rocked the baseball world. It’s big news. And I do feel sorry for or sympathize with some of the guys listed in the Mitchell Report. Guys like Brian Roberts who says that he only used steroids one time in 2004 and he decided immediately to never do it again. Guys like Andy Pettit who used HGH only a few times when recovering from a major injury. These guys and others admitted that these shortcuts were wrong and they regretted them.

I guess the reason I sympathize is that I think I’ve been guilty of taking CGH (church growth hormone). If there is such a thing…I’ve done it. This church steroid is something that comes in various forms and many church planters and pastors desperate for church growth take the pill or order the injection. Here are some of the forms of CGH that I’ve tried:

  • 20,000 piece direct mailers to the community
  • hanging door hangers every Friday
  • copying an Ed Young message series
  • doing the latest, greatest 40 day campaign
  • spending a big chunk of change on a community carnival
  • a complete redo of the website
  • implement everything I learned at the latest conference
  • skating parties and cookouts and movie nights

Here’s the deal…none of those things are absolutely wrong or sinful. They are not even on the “banned substance” list. But so often we are looking for something to give us the jolt of growth…only to come up later regretting the time and money spent. At Life, we are truly experiencing our best season/year of growth, now in the 6th year of our church. Here’s what is actually working…

  • Focused prayer on God-honoring objectives (our 2007 prayer card)
  • More preaching series based on passages/books of the Bible (less based on random topics)
  • Improved worship experience (better music, setting, flow)
  • Emphasis on small groups
  • Keeping it simple…saying no to CGH

Sometimes we have the learn the hard way. If there were a Mitchell Report listing pastors guilty of trying CGH, I know my name would be there…most names would. Here’s my conclusions:

  • avoid the church steroids
  • promote the Gospel and talk about Jesus
  • be consistent and excellent in what we do
  • keep it simple
  • and let God bring the growth
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