What sort of growth are communities looking for?
Personally I think that the kind of growth we should aim for would be "If we disappeared tomorrow would our local community miss us?
We should be looking for growth in local influence and societal change this a much healthier growth to focus on than bums on seats every Sunday morning.
I once heard someone say that too many churches concentrate on growth, when they should be concentrating on health. I think it might have been Rick Warren?
I believe in growth and want to see christian communities growing in number and size but if growth is the primary aim it may never happen. Alternatively if you concentrate on health your community will definitely grow. Look at the roots of your community if they are healthy they will enable your community to be fruitful. A tree produces fruit if it has a healthy root.
Concentrate on the root not the fruit.
What makes a healthy church or community?
My only concern would be that in the process of concentrating on the root and getting healthy we become introverted communities. Not fully engaging with the world until we feel we are strong enough. Smaller communities can be a little guilty of this, I have even seen some develop a theology of small, which is scary and kind of based on fear and insecurity.
We get healthy not just by what we feed on but by exercise. For any community to grow it is important not only to have healthy teaching but also healthy practice.
We must put our theoretical knowledge into practice, a healthy community should have good praxis.
Or as James put's it "Faith without action is dead". Sounding good and looking good are not good enough.
A healthy well rooted active community will grow, both in influence and size.