[Note: This study is drawn from my forthcoming book, God’s Blueprints for Church Growth. To learn more about this book when it is published, join my online discipleship group.]
When the majority of people in the United States think of “church growth” they think of a church that has more people in attendance this year than last year, a larger budget this year than last year, and maybe a larger building.
In fact, one popular church growth book begins with the following statement:
Since 1966, [our church] has grown from 125 to over 13,500 in worship. We have gone through five building programs and two complete relocation projects, the last of which cost over ninety million dollars (including land, construction costs, and architects’ fees). We have gone from an annual budget of eighteen thousand dollars to an annual budget of eighteen million dollars.
This is the popular definition of church growth. According to most, church growth is measured with bodies, bucks, and bricks, with more people, more money, and bigger buildings.
Since growth is one of the top priorities of every church, those who measure church growth with bodies, bucks, and bricks will often use whatever means necessary to get such things. I have a comic strip in my files showing a pastor getting ideas on how to grow the church. And we have these two other men here giving ideas, and the pastor says, “Besides calling every Sunday ‘Easter,’ does anyone else have ideas for improving church attendance?”
I also read an article from TIME magazine of a church whose “Ultimate Goal” was to get 40% of the people in its area back to church within one year. The article went on to report that in order to accomplish this, the pastor sings and dances the Lord’s praises in an electric whirlwind he has termed, “Aerobics of the Lord.” He executes choreographed jumps, leaps and twists that the faithful try to copy. And when the spirit really moves, he pours buckets of holy water on his ecstatic audience.
And this is fairly mild compared to what some churches do. A pastor in California has been collecting a file of clippings that report how churches are employing innovations to keep their worship services from becoming dull. In only five years’ time, “some of America’s largest evangelical churches have employed worldly gimmicks like slapstick [comedy]…wrestling exhibitions, and even a mock striptease to spice up their Sunday meetings.” If churches want more bodies, bucks, and bricks, these are some of the things that churches can do to accomplish this kind of growth.
But what if this is not biblical church growth? What if God’s idea of church growth is not measured with bodies, bucks, and bricks, but with some other measurement entirely? If this is the case, then most of what we do in church could possibly be wrong! After all, if our definition of church growth is wrong, then the goals we have to achieve growth with also be wrong. And if our goals are wrong, then our means to reach those goals might also be wrong.
Thankfully, however, the solution is relatively simple. If a poor definition of church growth leads to faulty goals, which in turn leads to flawed methods to achieve those goals, then the simple fix is to get a right definition of church growth. Once we properly define church growth, then our goal and methods will fall into place as well.
Since the church is best defined as “the people of God who follow Jesus into the world,” then this means that church growth occurs when the people of the church grow into maturity and Christlikeness. The definition of church growth proposed in chapter 1 of this book was that Church growth is teaching and training the people who are in the church to become what God wants them to be so they can do what God wants them to do. This definition of church growth is drawn primarily from Ephesians 4:15-16. These verses show what church growth is and how church growth is accomplished.
What Church Growth Is
The definition of church growth was foreshadowed in Ephesians 4:13, where Paul described the model that church growth is patterned after. A completed building should end up looking like the model. The model in verse 13 was Christlikeness. This is what Paul states in Ephesians 4:15 as well. While the first part of the Church program requires us to protect the spiritual children, this is primarily so that the second part of the church program can be accomplished, which is to grow the children into adults. Paul wants his readers to grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ. In other words, a church is growing when the people in the church are becoming more and more like Jesus Christ.
Remember, the word “church” is not defined by how many people meet, or even when or where they meet. The church consists of the people of God who follow Jesus into the world. Church growth happens when spiritually immature Christians (the spiritual children of verse 14), are corrected, trained, taught, encouraged, and equipped (2 Tim 3:16–4:4) in such a way so that they become spiritually mature Christians. Church growth happens when the individual Christians who make up the church grow into spiritual maturity. They do this by learning the Bible, and learning to obey the Bible. They do this by learning what their spiritual gifts are and finding ways to put them into practice so that they become who God made them to be. Ultimately, they do this by learning to live and love like Jesus. That is biblical church growth.
Logically, this means that it is possible to grow a church, and actually shrink in size. So, if a church of 100 loses 50 members, but the 50 who stay become more like Jesus Christ, then that church is growing. Alternately, if a church of 500 doubles in size, but few mature into Christlikeness, then that church is not growing, even though they have gone from 500 to 1000. With this understanding, it is entirely possible that a church is still growing even if they lose most of their people, hardly have any budget, and have to sell their building. A church without bodies, bucks, and bricks can still be a vibrant and growing church!
Church growth, therefore, is about building up one another to Christlike maturity and service. A church in which the people are maturing is a growing church, regardless of how many people there are, where they meet, or how much money is in their ministry budget.
It is helpful to think about church growth the way we think about family growth. Nobody thinks that only large families are successful. While I myself came from a family with ten children, and I believe my parents were very successful in raising all of us, my family was not “successful” because there were ten children. Similarly, we don’t think a family is a failure because they don’t “grow” from two kids to four, or from four kids to eight. A family with only one child, or even no children, can be successful as well if the members of that family grow together in unity, love, and faithfulness to each other and to people in the world.
Furthermore, we don’t think that a family is a failure because the parents don’t get raises at their job every year, or buy bigger houses. Some of the richest families are also the greatest family failures. Family “growth” and success is not accomplished by increasing the size or wealth of the family, but by growing into maturity and love with each passing year.
It is the same with the church. True church growth occurs when Christians grow up into Christ-like maturity, so that they love God, love each other, and love the world more with each passing year. The goal of the church, according to Ephesians 4:15, is for Christians to grow up into maturity, becoming more and more like Jesus Christ. When this happens, church growth happens as well, for the people are growing into Christlike maturity.
How Church Growth Is Accomplished
The entire paragraph of Ephesians 4:11-16 has been building up to the single point about how God grows His church. How does growth happen then? Paul says it happens by speaking the truth in love. The primary method to accomplish church growth is by speaking the truth, and speaking it in love.
Speaking the Truth
The phrase speaking the truth comes from one word in the Greek, which is used only one other time in Scripture (Gal 4:16), where it seems to refer primarily to teaching the Word of God or the preaching of the gospel (cf. Gal 4:13). If the phrase means the same thing here, then Paul is writing that the primary way church growth is accomplished is through speaking the truth of Scripture, and especially the gospel-related truths. This means that teaching and learning about Scripture is one of the primary keys to church growth. One reason God provided Scripture is so that His people could learn Scripture, and grow into maturity as a result.
Yet the preaching, teaching, and learning of Scripture is often the one thing that many Christians seem not to want or desire. Many local gatherings of believers tend to focus on everything but the teaching and learning of Scripture. In Scripture, the church has the largest and most fascinating collection of infallible truth that exists in the world, yet we tend to keep the light of God’s truth locked up in the closet so we can focus on the latest fads and newest insights from popular psychology. Walter Kaiser writes this:
In the midst of all the feverish activity to restore the church once again to her former position of influence and respect, all sorts of programs and slogans have appeared. But regardless of what new directives and emphases are periodically offered, that which is needed above everything else to make the Church more viable, authentic, and effective, is a new declaration of the Scriptures with a new purpose, passion, and power. This we believe is most important if the work of God is to be accomplished in the program of the church.
Though the church doesn’t have a monopoly on truth, and while many in the world are not ready to hear the truth, it sure does seem strange that the church is often cautious about boldly proclaiming the truth of Scripture to the Christians in our churches. Rather than offer the one unique and shining jewel that we do have, we instead try to keep people’s attention with poor copies of worldly music, entertainment, and social clubs. The one thing the church can offer, and the one thing the church is instructed by God to offer, is also the one thing we fail to offer. What is that one thing? Truth.
The truth of God is the one thing that sets the people of God apart from all other people on earth. We should, therefore, be focusing on the truth. When people start to hear the truth, and when their lives begin to get transformed by the truth, they cannot get enough of the truth. They soak it up like rain in a dry and thirsty desert. Only truth transforms lives. Only the truth of God helps people grow spiritually. And when lives are transformed and people begin to mature, then the church begins to grow.
But speaking the truth by itself is not enough. Paul goes on to clarify that we speak the truth, it must be presented in love.
Speaking in Love
Some Christians seem to primarily focus on speaking the truth. If they see someone who is in sin, or who has a false belief, these people feel it is their responsibility to point it out. I’m sure we’ve all run into Christians over the years who only seem to be over critical and judgmental. They always are on the lookout for those who say or do something wrong. And when they find something, they feel that it is their responsibility to point it out. These people believe that truth is the highest ideal, and that they are God’s appointed defenders of truth in this world.
This tendency is what we sometimes see in those who claim to have “discernment ministries.” There are some ministries out there which seem to do nothing but point out the errors of other ministries. A while back, I watched one of these ministries attack James Dobson and his “Focus on the Family” ministry, Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, the theology of several well-known pastors, and the phenomenon of contemporary Christian music. And this was all in one year.
Of course, there are other people, pastors, churches and ministries who err just as much on the other side. They want everybody to get along, to love one another and be in agreement in all things. They only want positive words to come from their pulpits and out of their printers. They never want to rock the boat, never want to stand up for the truth if someone might get offended.
Jay Adams has noticed this modern tendency and writes:
In some circles, the fear of controversy is so great that preachers, and congregations following them, will settle for peace at any cost – even at the cost of the truth, God’s truth. The idea is that peace is all important. Peace is a biblical idea (Rom 12:18 makes that clear: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with everybody”), but so is purity. The peace of the Church may never be bought at the cost of the purity of the Church. That price is too dear.
But why do we think that we can get along in the world or for that matter, even in the Church, without conflict and controversy? Jesus didn’t. Paul didn’t. None of the preachers of the apostolic age who faithfully served their Lord were spared controversy. Who are we to escape controversy when they did not? The story of the advance of the Church across the Mediterranean world from Jerusalem to Rome is a story of controversy. When the gospel is preached boldly, there will be controversy..
So we have two extremes. Some who teach the truth without love, and others who teach love without truth. But Paul calls for both. He calls for a balance between the two. To err on one side or the other causes great problems. Truth without love is harsh judgmentalism and dogmatism. Love without truth is blind sentimentality. But truth in love is compassionate concern.
Truth without love makes Cactus Christians. All prickly, and full of good points, but painfully difficult to be around. Love without truth makes Cotton Candy Christians. Tastes good and looks good, but there’s nothing really to them. They’re just a lot of fluff. But truth in love makes Christlike Christians. Balance between the two is always needed. Truth, as important as it is, must always be taught in a loving manner.
I would go even further and say that love is the litmus test for truth. When we truly understand God, Scripture, and correct theology, it will lead us to love. If our beliefs, doctrine, and theology are leading us to be judgmental, mean, and rude toward other people, then the truth is not in us. If someone truly knows the truth, they will also be the most loving person you know. Where there is no love, there also is no truth.
This is exactly what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13. He says that even if you have all knowledge, but have not love, then you have nothing. This means that even if you can win at Bible trivia, and recite hundreds of Bible verses, and can argue theology with the best theologians in the world, but have not love, then you have nothing. Without love, there is no truth. Without love, knowledge counts as nothing. If you have love, then you know the truth. If you know the truth, it will lead you to love.
Furthermore, I would argue that love is the main truth which Christians should be preaching, teaching, and revealing through our lives and actions. Since God is love (1 John 4:8), all truth about God will be wrapped in love, focused on love, revealing love, and leading people to love. If there was only one truth that the church sought to teach and practice, it should be the truth of love. The main truth presented by the church should be that God loves us, accepts us, forgives us, and desires nothing more than to be in fellowship with us.
As always, Jesus is the perfect example of how this is carried out. During His life and ministry, He never avoided the truth, but spoke it plainly in the most loving words possible. God is the same way, which is not a surprise, because Jesus reveals God to us. Like Jesus, God does not point out to us our faults unless we honestly ask that He reveal them to us. When we are sinning but don’t know it, we often have to ask that God to search our hearts and see if there is any wicked way in us. And when we do, He kindly and gently takes us to Scripture passages that reveal our faults to us. Rarely does God come along side us and beat us over the head with some harsh judgmental attitude. Softly and gently, tenderly and kindly, He washes our feet with the water of the Word, and cleanses us from all sin.
Do you want to know the best way to speak the truth in love? Be willing to be part of the solution. Be willing to take the time and effort to help that person through their time of temptation. Do you remember the time when Jesus washed His disciples’ feet? When He noticed they had dirty feet, He didn’t just point it out to them and tell them to do something about it. He took the role of a servant and came alongside them to wash their feet for them. Do you see somebody with dirty feet? Don’t just point it out to them. Be willing to serve them by washing their feet. Speak the truth, but do so in love.
Another example of this is found in Acts 9:10-13. God tells Ananias to go see Saul who has been blinded. Saul’s reputation of persecuting Christians has preceded him, and so understandably, Ananias is a little scared. He says, “God, I don’t think that’s the best idea. If I don’t get killed, I’ll get put in prison for sure!” Ananias clearly and blatantly rejects God’s command.
Now if we were God, most of us would do one of two things in the face of such disrespect. We would either flat out rebuke the man. “You sinner! Away from me you evil doer!” This response would be truthful, but not very loving. This kind of response would be truth without love. The other way to handle such disobedience would be to just ignore it in the name of love. In this case, God could have said, “Ananias, I understand your fear. I would be scared too. So it’s okay if you don’t want to obey me right now. I’ll hope someone else comes along, I guess.” This seems to be loving, but there’s not much truth. In fact, in the name of love, there’s even a lie. It’s not okay to disobey. Very often, when love is the goal at the expense of truth, lies creep in (which is not very loving!).
These are two of the possible responses to Ananias’ disobedience. The first is to be so focused on the truth, that we beat people over the head with it saying “Obey or else!” The other is to be afraid of offending people, and say, “Okay, I understand that you’re scared. If you don’t want to obey right now, that’s fine.” These are the two extremes. One reveals truth without love, and the other reveals love without truth.
But in this instance, God speaks the truth in love to Ananias. In Acts 9:15, God said, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” God says, “Go. And let me give you some reasons why you should. I am not rebuking your lack of wisdom for resisting my viewpoint. I am also not denying your feelings of fear. Instead, I am telling you why you should obey, and also telling you that everything will be okay.” So in Acts 9:17, Ananias went.
That is how God deals with us. He never gives us truth without love, and never hides the truth in the name of love. Scripture repeatedly tells us that God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and wrath (Exod 34:6; Neh 9:17; Ps 86:15; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2). When we resist and rebel, He gives us reasons to obey. If we continue to resist and rebel, His reasons slowly but surely become much stronger, until, after a while, He begins to discipline us. Truth balanced with love is how God deals with us and how we are to deal with one another.
Here are eight tips on how to achieve this balance between truth and love. If you sense the desire to correct someone who you feel is sinning, you need to several things before you go talk to that person.
First, remember what the ultimate source of truth is. If you feel someone is in sin, you had better have a strong Biblical case. You cannot base truth on what your opinion is, or on what your traditions are, or on what some pastor, teacher or author said. God’s word is truth. Jesus prays in John 17:17, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth.” Before you confront someone with the truth, make sure you have a biblical case. This helps too, because then it is not you saying “I think you are wrong” but it is God’s Word saying “Here is what you are doing wrong.”
Second, make sure God is actually calling you to address the problem. Maybe He just wants you to pray about it. In fact, it might be a good idea to do nothing but pray about it for a whole month before you say anything—just to see God work. Also, it is often true that when God points sin out to us, it is actually our own sin He is pointing out, but we often project this conviction of sin onto others. Recognize that when you become aware of sin in others, it might actually be your own sin that God wants you to see.
Third, ask yourself what you might have contributed to the problem. Often, the problem you see in others is a problem that you yourself contributed to (Paul wrote about this earlier in Eph 4:1-6).
Fourth, try to discover what your motive is in pointing out the error. Maybe you simply want to get noticed, or maybe you want to get back at someone, or maybe you have had a bad day and feel like lashing out at someone. If you are unsure of your motives, spend a lot of time in prayer before going to the person.
Fifth, if you confront, are you doing it in a biblical way? Have you gossiped about this to anyone or, according to Matthew 18, are you following the steps for church discipline? Always try to keep the circle small.
Sixth, you might want to ask yourself if you are demanding perfection. Nobody is perfect except Christ – not even you. And remember that with the same measure you use, it will be measured out to you at the judgement day. Are you overcritical and judgmental, or are you gracious and understanding about other people’s failures because you know you have your own struggles?
Seventh, if you do confront the person, can you give input in the form of constructive suggestions rather than outright criticism and complaint? Rather than just point out sin, provide some steps to correct it, or explain how you yourself struggled with this problem in the past, yet was able to experience victory over it.
Finally, are you willing to be part of the solution? God may be showing you this error because He wants you to help out, not to criticize. This final point is critically important. Since we are all part of the church body, we are all supposed to help and love each other into wholeness. If we are not willing or able to love and serve others in their areas of sin and weakness, then we probably have no business pointing out their sin to them. It is not loving to point out someone’s sin if we are not also willing to help love and help them through it.
These eight ideas will help us keep truth and love in balance. And as we speak the truth in love, both personal growth and church growth will be accomplished.
Since God wants His church to grow, and since the church consists of the people of God, this means that the first stages of church growth will be the personal growth of individual Christians. When we speak the truth in love, the first consequence is personal growth. Paul says in the last half of verse 16 that we will grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.
From this, we learn several things about personal growth. First, we learn that we grow up in all things. This is a growth into complete maturity. When we grow in this way, everything about us changes. Yes, this change and growth is difficult, but it is worth it. God wants us to grow and change from spiritual children to spiritual adults. But this requires going through spiritual adolescence.
Junior High is a rough time for most people. The main reason it is so rough is that adolescents are changing from children into adults. It is during these years that people change mentally, emotionally, and physically. Legs and arms get longer. Male voices start to deepen. Hormones begins to rage. Some kids become quite awkward as they try to deal with all these changes.
The same thing can happen as Christians mature. As we grow and develop, we sometimes enter into a stage of awkwardness. But God wants us to grow up into all things. He has given us everything we need for life and godliness, but we need to grow into these areas so that we can become mature adults.
And just so we know what a mature adult looks like again, Paul writes in verse 16 that the goal is to become like Jesus Christ. Paul says we are to grow up in all things into Him who is the head, namely, Christ. If you ever think that you have “arrived” as a Christian, just start comparing yourself with Christ, and see how far you still have to go.
Again, Junior High students provide a good example. One of the things that this age group develops for themselves are heroes. Musicians they want to sing like. Sports heroes they want to emulate. Movies stars they want to dress like. And it is often these heroes that cause Junior Highers to make choices about life and preparation for their future. It is not uncommon to see a Junior High girl trying to look and act like some famous female musician or movie star, while Junior High boy try acting like NFL quarterbacks or rock stars.
As Christians, our hero should be Christ. We should want to talk like Him, and be like Him, and live like Him. We should make decisions and choices in our lives with this goal in mind. When people look at us, they should be reminded of Jesus Christ. With Jesus Christ as our head, we will experience personal growth into all things. And when the individuals grow, the church grows too.
Paul concludes this revolutionary passage on church growth by summarizing and reminding his readers that all growth is accomplished only when every part does its share. Just as a body will never mature if the arms refuse to work, so also a church will never grow if certain members refuse to take part in God’s work. Paul writes that:
… the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Verse 16 is really just a summary of everything Paul has taught up to this point. He has already mentioned the spiritual gifts God has provided to the church to help lead and train the rest of the church body to carry out the ministry of the church. Paul circles back around and points out that when this happens, then church growth will also occur.
Church growth is not primarily when more and more people are added to the church, but when each individual person in the church grows into Christlike maturity and starts using their spiritual gifts to love and serve other people within the church. When every part does its share, the church grows into health and love. This is true church growth.
A healthy and mature body knows what each part does best and how to use those parts correctly. An eye does the seeing, the ear the hearing, the mouth the talking, the feet the walking, the hands the working. And according to verse 16, every part, even down the joints, needs to do its share if the body is going to effective.
God is the one who has created the church, just as He has created our physical bodies. And He put together the church in the same way He put together our bodies. Each part of our body is like each person in the church. Each part serves a purpose and has a function, and each part is connected to every other part so that the whole body works together as a whole to accomplish what God wants and desires. And when every part does what it is supposed to do, then the body grows into a healthy, mature, and complete person, glorifying God and serving the world.
Sadly, the church does not always function in a healthy way. Pastors often hear complaints from various people that they are being overlooked or neglected. These Christians complain that nobody is reaching out to them and meeting their needs. This is tragic. But based on what Paul has written here, it seems that he would say that when a part of the body is not functioning as it should, this is likely because another part of the body is not serving them as it should. So if a group came to Paul and said, “We’re not being served! Our needs are not being met! When is someone going to take care of me?” Paul would turn around and say to them, “Whose needs are you meeting? Who are you serving? What part of the work are you sharing?”
The best way to have your own needs met is to start meeting the needs of other people. When you help, love, and serve them, this allows them to become more healthy and mature, so that they can turn around and start helping, loving, and serving you. The church is often sickly and weak because far too many people are sitting around saying, “Help me! Feed me! Clean me! Take care of me!” In response to these cries for help, Paul says, “Go help others! Go feed others! Go clean others! Go care for others!” As you do your part, it will strengthen and edify them, and in return, they will begin to function properly to meet your needs.
When each part does its share, then each part is cared for by all the others and so the body remains healthy. The mouth could not eat if the hands did not bring food to the mouth, but in the same way, if the mouth refused to eat, the hands would not have enough energy to bring food to the mouth. When Christians refuse to get involved by using their spiritual gifts, they are really damaging themselves and are causing sickness and weakness within the entire body. But when every part does its share, the entire body is strengthened. When every part serves, the body grows.
There are no gimmicks, ingenuity, creativity, or cleverness. It’s so simple it’s amazing. Every part of the body has a task, and if every part does its task, the church grows! It is so simple—only God could have designed it. These are His blueprints for church growth.
The End is Love
Notice finally that Paul’s instructions on church grown ends with love. As Paul laid the groundwork for what he would write about church growth, he frequently mentioned the importance place of love in the life and health of the church. We are to be rooted and grounded love (Eph 3:17), to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge (Eph 3:19), and bear with one another in love (Eph 4:2).
Now here, in Ephesians 4:15-16, as Paul concludes this section of his letter about church growth, he once again returns to the centrality of love. We are to speak the truth in love so that we may all work for the edification of the body in love. What this means is that church growth only happens within the context of love. Love is the beginning, middle, and end of church growth and personal Christian maturity. If you want your church to grow, don’t focus on programs, budgets, or attendance numbers. Instead, just focus on love. As we love and are loved, we will all grow into the love of Christ, and each person will become mature spiritual adults, who is able to love God, love each other, and love the world just like Jesus Christ. This is true church growth.
 Bob Russell, When God Builds a Church, (West Monroe, LA: Howard, 2000), 3. Later, on page 8, he does qualify this statement by saying that “Although we rejoice over our numerical growth, we know that God doesn’t measure success in terms of attendance, offerings, or size of buildings. He measures effectiveness in terms of faithfulness to His Word, conformity to Jesus Christ, and ministry to those in need.” The rest of the book is excellent in laying out 10 principles to grow your church, but still, it seems that the focus is “Do these 10 things, and you too can have a church that grows numerically.” Cf. p. 10-11.
 See my book, Church is More than Bodies, Bucks, & Bricks (Dallas, OR: Redeeming Press, 2015).
 Sol Biderman and Sao Paolo, “Padre Marcelo Rossi” TIME Magazine (Feb 28, 2000).
 John MacArthur, Ashamed of the Gospel (Wheaton: Crossway, 1993), xvii.
 See my book Skeleton Church (Dallas, OR: Redeeming Press, 2015).
 This is seen partly by the noun “growth” in verse 16: auxesis is only used of Spiritual growth (cf. Col 2:19). The verb in verse 15, auxano, is sometimes used of physical growth, but always has in mind factors outside oneself, or an element of life placed within a person by God, which brings about the growth. This kind of growth is never a self-achievement.
 Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Toward an Exegetical Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981), 242. Italics mine.
 Jay Adams, Preaching to the Heart (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Press, 1984), 17.
 Modified from Cathy Miller, “Ten Questions to Ask Before you Complain to Church Leaders” (Moody Magazine, Issue 96, 1996), 80. See also, Ken Sande, The Peacemaker (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997).
 Cf. Bob Russell, When God Builds a Church, (West Monroe, LA: Howard, 2000), 153.
 This does not hold true for predatory sins that harm others, such as rape, murder, abuse, or threats of physical violence. In such cases, it is your responsibility to go straight to the police or authorities.