Church growth has, in the past some twenty years, held a significant position in Christian literature and documents, as well as in sharing, sermons, prayers and hymns. Such an emphasis on church growth is a good indication of most Christians' concern for the expansion of God's kingdom. But, what has ultimately transpired in the vicissitude of time?
Even in prominent churches, prayer meeting attendance still consists of the usual few. Be it a workshop or a seminar, oftentimes, the only ones present are the few faithful seniors. What has gone wrong? The Bible has rightly said, "But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner" (1 Cor. 14:40). The ancient Chinese book of wisdom, Ta-hsueh (The Great Learning) has also said,
All things have roots and branches, and all affairs have beginnings and endings.
The person, who is able to set the proper priority,
truly understands the teachings of the great learning.
Ta-hsueh has further emphasized that:
With the roots in a chaotic turmoil, healthy branches can never be developed.
No person will grossly neglect what is of crucial importance,
yet painstakingly care for what is of trivial importance.
Anyone who abandons the roots in pursuit of the branches or upsets the order of proper priority, will surely find it difficult to succeed. Spiritual things are likewise the same!
Organizing seminars on church growth and studying documents and literature about this topic are, of course, valuable and helpful in attaining church growth. However, the assumption that church growth will come about by merely analyzing the external factors and recommending techniques and procedures is unrealistic! These are at best techniques trying to cope with the symptoms of a problem, rather than principles striving to cure the roots of the problem. To cure the roots of the problem, we have to find answers from the Bible. It is my prayer that the principles suggested in this book will be helpful to God's Church. These principles are based upon my few decades of pastoring bestowed by our gracious Lord.
More than 10,000 copies of the Chinese edition were sold within a brief period of time after the first print, and it has been reprinted again and again. Many churches have used this book as a guideline for church growth, and some have even used it as an outline for training church leaders. For this, I humbly thank our Lord! May the Head of the Church, who has revealed to us His promises and required conditions, bless all who are willing to fulfill these conditions, that they may enjoy the realization of His promises. Amen!
This English version is the result of the tireless effort and dedicated love of the following brothers and sisters. I would like to express my special appreciation to sister Ruth Taniguchi for translating and editing the book. I would also like to thank Penny Wong, Mike Taniguchi, Eugene Wilkerson, Charles Lee, Hannah Lee, . David Shigekawa, Gordon Yee and Pastor Jackson Lau for proof-reading. A special thanks is also extended to Harold Wong for word processing and Marshall Kwong for designing the book cover. May God's name be glorified!