Patterns of church growth
What is the greatest contributor to the growth of a church? Some people might think it’s by having a gifted pastor or a great worship band; or by the quality of the children’s ministries and at-home Bible studies.
The Book of the Acts directs us on how God had made the church grow wider and mightier; and no, it’s not by having all these aforementioned programs or things, but He used ordinary, humble people from the villages in upper Galilee.
To summarise what we’ve learned so far, in Acts 1:8, we learn the Holy Spirit was promised to empower the disciples to be Jesus’ witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Then in Acts 2-5, the believers had to pay a high price to convert Christians in Jerusalem; they faced opposition, imprisonments, and discouraging experiences. Yet in Acts 6 and onwards, we finally see the gospel going beyond Jerusalem. So, let’s look at the patterns of how the Holy Spirit enabled the early church to grow.
God only works in a positive way through a holy instrument. The church that wants to reach the world must be pure. John MacArthur says, “We do discipline in church because it’s vital to the spiritual health and the testimony of the church. Ignoring church discipline is the most visible and disastrous failure of the church in our time, because it conveys to the world that we’re not really serious about sin.”
Peter and John, having been drawn into the resurrection of Jesus, can’t remain silent about the truth or about their involvement with Jesus. The authorities insist on shutting them up, but in verse 29, Peter and John say they must obey God rather than human beings.
The early church was not only committed to the preaching of the gospel and one another, but they also put God as their number one priority (as we can see when they went to worship in the temple daily at daybreak).
PERSECUTION (V.27-28, 41)
One of the worst countries to be a Christian is also the country where the church is growing the fastest. Comfort, ease, prosperity, safety and freedom often cause a tremendous inertia/deadness in the church. For them, being persecuted is a privilege. We must not be conformed to this world, which means it often brings us discomfort to be a Christian. But, we should rejoice, because God has counted you ‘worthy of suffering disgrace for the name’.
In chapter 5, the apostles are arrested again. And again, they are questioned. And again, they proclaimed the gospel message. They were persistent in preaching the gospel despite the persecution they faced; they displayed true perseverance.
What are the current patterns of your church? God has not promised that the sky would always be blue; that there could be sun without rain; joy without sorrow; and peace without pain. But God has promised strength for the day through His Spirit and His unending love.
Thank You for Your never ending love. I thank You that by Your Spirit, my heart has been enriched in the Word of God. How I rejoice in knowing that You want me to grow as an individual and with my church. I pray that the Holy Spirit will give me strength and boldness to face temptation, trials, and persecutions, so that my faith is found pure, like gold, before you.
In Jesus’ name,