Can the church grow today?
There are some who just don’t believe churches can grow without radical change. One expert in ministry says, “Without major change in leadership style, congregational dynamics, ministry vision or some other significant aspect of church-life, churches that have existed for more than five years will most likely stay the size they are now, with only moderate growth over time.” Do you believe that? The only way to dynamic growth is a path of change in leadership, ministry, or some other major aspect?
It would seem the key to growth would be to do the things the early church did. If a church follows that pattern—the pattern God has already endorsed—they not only can grow but they will grow. Notice a few of things:
- They presented the Gospel as good news. Philip told the eunuch the “good news about Jesus” (Acts 8:35). The story of Jesus is a good story. Too often we focus on our differences when we teach others. Share the good story.
- They loved one another. The early Christians didn’t just profess their love, they put it on display (Acts 2:44–47). And Jesus said this would be the main indicator of our discipleship (John 13:34–35). When Christians act like a family, the church will grow.
- They multiplied messengers. When the church suffered persecution and was scattered throughout the world, it resulted in the message being taken to the world (Acts 8:4). In Antioch, we see several men who actively worked at spreading the message of the Gospel (Acts 11:20–22; 13:1). If the church is going to grow, it will need a group of messengers ready to share the Good News.
- They took the Great Commission personally. We know that Jesus said to go into the world and proclaim the Gospel (Matthew 28:18–20; Mark 16:15–16). They didn’t see that as church work. It was personal work (1 Thessalonians 1:6–8). We need to take the commission personally. Make it a part of our active service to God.
- They boldly opposed sin. In 1 Corinthians 5, we see that the church failed to respond to sin properly. But Paul’s instructions were firm and bold (1 Corinthians 5:1–5). We should understand that Paul’s words were the pattern We should understand that Paul’s words were the pattern–not the initial behavior by the Corinthian church. The early church didn’t wink at sin. They didn’t tolerate it. They boldly opposed it.
Can the church grow today? Yes. But only when we follow the pattern that has always helped the church grow. Growth isn’t about making significant dynamic changes. It much simpler than that. It’s just following the pattern God has already given us.