Our Gospel Meeting with Mack Fox of Mattoon, IL begins in just a little over a month. Often times as we begin to prepare ourselves for these meeting we talk about what helps to make meetings successful, how can we reach out unto our communities, and what can we do to help our church to grow.
In the book of Acts the early church was revealed to have experienced great times of growth. On the 1st day there were about 3000 souls added by the Lord (Acts 2:41). They added to that number daily (Acts 2:47). By Acts 5:41 they were no longer just added daily, but were adding multitudes daily. Acts 6:1 shows us that they ceased to add and began to multiply. And by the time they added “deacons” to the church they were multiplying greatly. Let us therefore learn from their great example and see what we need to do to go from adding every now and then to multiplying greatly.
The word was preached. Twice in the pages of Acts we see the preaching of the word resulting in the growth of the church. The church was established upon the preaching of the good news of Jesus Christ (Acts 2). Then in Acts 5:42-6:1 again show that the church grew as a result of preaching Jesus. I want you to take special notice of where the preaching was being done, “In the temple and at home.” This means that the church was able to see growth because they were teaching in public. This includes, but is not exclusively what was done when they were gathered as a church. Yes, the early church did meat in the temple, however, their “worship service” was not shut up in a special building. They worshipped where all could hear and see what was going on. More importantly, the apostle did not share the gospel only when assembled with the saints. They preached where they could find religious minded Jews; in the temple. But, as mentioned above, the early church also preached in the privacy of the home. The spreading of the Gospel cannot be limited to just sharing Christ for two gospel meetings a year. We need to be sharing Christ with others when the opportunity arises. The more we seek to share the gospel, the more we will see these opportunities.
They walked worthily. While the phrase itself is not found in any of the “church growth” texts, the concept is found. At the end of Acts 2 Luke informs us of the daily walk of these approximately 3000 souls that were initially added to the Lord’s church. They continued steadfastly to the apostles doctrine, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer (Acts 2:42). These acts seen here are acts of the assembly. (Preaching, Fellowship, Partaking of the Lord’s Supper and Prayer). The early church so growth because remained steadfast in them. To remain steadfast in something is to give unremitting care unto it. Can we say we are willing to do the same if TV, school functions, extra curricular activities, vacation, etc keep us from gathering with a local body of Christians? Acts 2:44-45 also revealed that the early church took care of its own. (This too is evidenced in Acts 6:2-7). The early church was not handing out free handouts. However, they would not see their own suffering either. Those that had no worldly ties onto one another where selling their possessions to take care of what seemed to be perfect strangers. No one in the early church went hungry, without shelter or clothing. They may not have been wealthy, but there needs were met. Furthermore, the saints were taking meals together (Acts 2:46). The world could see they were not just giving on themselves to save face in the assembly (like the Pharisees were known for doing). They actually liked spending time with one another. This was not just done in the general assembly, but in one another’s homes. A genuine family-like environment existed in the early church and this helped the church to see increase. Finally, according to Acts 2:47, they were finding favor with all the people. Yes, Christians would ultimately be persecuted by Jews and Gentiles alike. However, the early church did not have “problems” in their community. It is one thing to be hated because we teach the truth. It is quite another to be hated because of an ungodly like attitude. Beyond doctrinal issues no one had a complaint against the church. Because of this, people were being added daily (Acts 2:47). If we hope to see increase as a result of the works which we are doing in our communities, we need to be certain that our neighbors see in us a genuine Godlike attitude. Give them no reason to discredit the ministry (II Cor. 6:3).
With the gospel meeting right around the corner, let us begin today setting the groundwork for a successful one by seeking the old paths towards church growth! ~WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
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What Causes a Church to Grow?
Volume 3 Issue 39 August 26, 2012