How to Grow the Church
It seems that the church is regularly confronted with things like: “the six things necessary to grow a church” or “the seven failsafe activities guaranteed to take the church to the next level” and so on. Church Growth experts maintain their church growth business by constantly formulating the next “best approach” to “doing” church - many of the “secrets to church growth” are gleaned by going to a growing church and “borrowing” their techniques. Since it is working in Dallas, or Colorado Springs, or Washington, DC, it’ll work for you!
Although I understand that there are methods and means to make it “easier” for people to enjoy a church, the responsibility of the church is to grow according to the biblical mandates for the church’s activities. My father used to tell me: “What you win people with, you win them to.” Then, you have to continue to give them what you have won them to in order to keep them. With this in mind, I want to highlight what we are attempting to “win people to” through a biblical philosophy of ministry. Obviously, we are less interested in winning a person to the church and more interested in winning them to Christ Jesus as Redeemer, Master and Lord. Our aspiration, as voiced by Paul in Colossians 1:28 “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.” We do this through the biblically modeled approach to growing the church found in Acts 2:42 “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Hence, the centrality of exalting Jesus Christ and calling men to Him is the heartbeat of a growing church. In this way, growth has two applications - the growth in number by means of men coming to faith in Christ and joining the church; and, the growth in grace by those who are believers as they are more greatly conformed to the image of Christ Jesus. Here are the four pursuits that result in both of these kinds of growth.
- We must be devoting ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ through the “apostles’ teaching” - that activity of the church whereby they assemble for the purpose of submitting themselves to the authority of the message about Christ that the apostles delivered. This is essentially referring to the revelation provided through the apostles that is found in the Bible. A growing church will lift Christ up through the faithful, expository teaching of God’s Word.
- We must be devoting ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ through “fellowship” - that constant yearning to share with one another what Jesus Christ means to us, what He is doing in us, and how He is becoming increasingly relevant as the Master of our lives. This is NOT a reference to mere friendship - but takes a relationship deeper into the ability to actually rejoice with one another in Christ. A growing church will lift up Christ through the faithful exposure to the relevance of Christ in our daily lives.
- We must be devoting ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ through the “breaking of bread” - this refers to the regular occasions that we take to reflect upon the accomplishments of Christ on the cross. The “breaking of bread” is a euphemism for the observing of the Lord’s Table. This necessitates the proclamation that Jesus Christ died for our sins. Sin is thereby denounced and even exposed through the discipline of our own selves first and also any who would embrace sin to the detriment of the glory of Christ. Hence, a growing church will be one that proclaims the Lord’s death for our sins and celebrates the finished work of Christ on the cross.
- We must be devoting ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ through “prayer” - that activity that must be present in every and all activities of the church whereby we commit to the Lord our dependency upon Him to do what only He can do. This is the conduit to power within the church. A church that fails to pray will be a church that is playing a horizontal game without the power of God’s blessing. Thus, a growing church will be one in which prayer plays a major role in everything that is done.
May Grace Bible Chruch ever commit itself to the Lord Jesus Christ and the growth of His body through the power of God’s Word!