This is an article worth summarizing, particularly if you have been a church-growth junky in your past life (as I have). It is written by Ray Baumann:
I used to be a Church Growth Hormone addict. For my first eight years in the ministry, I was on a daily diet of books and videos centered around the latest church fads and trends that focused on church growth. I was on the cutting edge of ministry thinking, learning more and more about marketing and the psychology of connecting people. I believed that numbers equaled success...
For pastors, it's the number of people that are sitting in the seats that seems to be the measure of success. This is something, however misguided it may be, that we all strive to obtain. Now, more than ever before, there are numerous books that place emphasis on the subject of church growth and there seems to be a greater desire to be a mega church. This desire then facilitates the thought pattern of, "If I grow the church, I'm doing more for God than the next guy."
Just like the professional athlete on steroids, pastors have been caught taking Church Growth Hormones for growth's sake. Many have seen the fast, "successful" results and have signed on, thus endorsing this dangerous pill. They have improved their performances on Sundays and Wednesdays to attract people. The Church Growth Hormone contains some very ugly ingredients. Let's take a look.
The ingredients are as follows: man-centered theology, relevant messages that solve people's problems by meeting their needs, events and programs that reach out to the community, and music that is contemporary and entertaining. For best results, remove pews, dress casual, and install a 5000 lumen projector. If taken weekly and if you follow a regimented marketing strategy, you are guaranteed growth. The side effects may include unbelievers in leadership, false converts, uncommitted members, and shallow minds.
On my own, there is no way that I could see the damaging effects of what I was participating in. To top it off, I was encouraged in this sin by many people. If anyone asked how the church was doing, what they really wanted to know was how our attendance numbers were, not how God was working or what He was doing in our congregation.