Biblical Church Growth
In my years of ministry I have frequently met church attenders and pastors of smaller churches who are content with the size of their church, and have no interest in expanding. Some to the point of being anti-church growth. And while I do not promote seeking church growth for church growth sake, true growth that comes from reaching the community for Christ is clearly demonstrated in the New Testament church. Below is an article from Brian Tubbs found at http://protestantism.suite101.com/article.cfm/what_is_biblical_church_growth , that clearly demonstrates this principle.
What Is Biblical Church Growth?
Lessons from the Life of Christ and the Book of Acts
Jan 22, 2008 Brian Tubbs
There are numerous books, articles, videos, and audios available today on the subject of church growth. Pastors and church leaders are bombarded with a large array of resources and models that promise “rapid” church growth, “easy” church growth, “massive” church growth, and the like. How should a pastor and church sort through church growth ideas and church growth models? Should pastors and churches even be concerned with church growth?
Jesus Drew Crowds
A historical look at the birth of Christianity should make something pretty clear: Jesus drew crowds. It is hard to justify a ‘small church’ mentality when looking at the example of Jesus. Of course, Jesus did surround himself with a smaller group of devoted followers, with whom he spent the most time. Yet Jesus didn’t remain in this small group setting. On the contrary, he continually reached out — speaking with and ministering to as many people as he could in Judeo-Palestine.
The Jerusalem Church: From 120 to 3,120
Following the ascension of Jesus, the remaining eleven of his primary disciples and those in Jesus’ extended circle of confidantes and followers gathered together in an “upper room” (Acts 1:12-13) to pray.
When the day of Pentecost came, the writer of Acts records that the Holy Spirit descended on the followers of Christ in “tongues of fire” and with a “mighty wind” (Acts 2:1-3). When this incredible and supernatural event happened, it attracted quite a crowd – and gave the apostle Peter a dramatic opportunity to stand up publicly and be counted as a follower of Christ (an opportunity he failed to take on the night of Jesus’ trial).
Following Peter’s sermon, the writer of Acts reports that “about 3,000 souls” were incorporated into the new Jerusalem church – the “church” being the fellowship of believers in and followers of Jesus Christ.
The Spread of Christianity
The remainder of Acts lays out the rapid spread of Christianity from Jerusalem through Judea and Samaria and into the Graeco-Roman world. This spread was powered by Jesus’ primary disciples, especially Peter and John, and Jesus’ half-brother, James, who became the leader of the Jerusalem church. And then came Paul, the most prolific pen of the first century Christian community and one of the most committed missionaries in the history of Christianity.
Lesson in Growth
The clear lesson from the life of Christ and the book of Acts (a lesson fueled by the epistles) is that the church is to be constantly expanding – constantly on the move. And that its impact should not be restricted to formal church services, but rather to the community itself, even to the point of reaching families “house to house.”
A local church that withdraws into closed-door legalism, “Comfort Zone” complacency, or elitist judgmentalism is a church outside of God’s will. This is not to suggest that a church shouldn’t stand for truth or practice sound doctrine. Both are clearly part of God’s mandate for the church.
The biblical model for a church is a church that actively and passionately ministers to both the physical and spiritual needs of those around it — especially, of course, the spiritual needs. Such a church should desire to grow — not for its own glory or satisfaction, but because of its love for God and the people within its reach.
So, how is your church doing?
Until Next Time,
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46 – 47 (NIV)