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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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CHURCH GROWTH

Samuel A CainAnd let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:47 ESV)

Often, Christian leaders seek to encourage church growth by preaching messages that will be popular in our post-modern culture. Yet, the Apostle John writes:

“They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:5-6 ESV)

Popularity is the goal of false prophets (preachers); their messages are dominated by the secular views of success in this world and therefore, the ungodly rush to sit at their feet. People attend, not to make gospel progress, but to feel better about themselves and the way they currently live. The Apostle John calls this “the spirit of error”.

preachingMany church leaders hurry to check out any new “Christian” marketing tools that might appeal to the ungodly.  “Numbers” is the name of the game.  Psalms and hymns, Sunday School, prayer and preaching must be renovated by the god of social psychology.  The pews must be filled, even if truth must play a secondary role. Offerings must increase to pay for programs to meet the “felt-needs” of the congregation. Church leaders fail to demonstrate conviction or gospel progress since they are devoted to the idea of building a mega church.

Real church growth is the product of the Holy Spirit. The gospel must be preached with anointed power in order for people to grow in Christ. Godliness is a product of the Gospel; not gimmicks. We must trust in the Holy Spirit to build a church that glorifies God. The power to be born again lies in the Word of God accompanied by the Holy Spirit. Only the gospel can make faith grow. Consider the seed in Jesus’ parable. There are all kinds of seeds, but what is this seed? This seed is the Word of God. This seed is the gospel. (Matthew 13:1-43 ESV) If the church wants to reach more souls, it must preach Christ and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 1:23 ESV)

God’s Word gives spiritual life and growth. Forgiveness is given by the Word of God. It will make you holy before God. The Word of God applies the shed blood of Jesus to repentant hearts. In light of this, we plainly see that the church is for edifying Christians. The church does not exist to tell the ungodly what they want to hear to keep them attending. When we think about growing the church, we should think about helping Christians to mature in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The idea of church growth should not focus on numbers, but on helping those who come to the church become more Christ-like. I believe the only secret to church growth is to preach the Word of God and rely on the Holy Spirit for the results.

 

*Beginning today, February 17th, I will post articles that I have authored once a week on Tuesdays. During the remainder of the week, I will continue to post articles and quotes from some of the great Christian thinkers and preachers of the past – as well as the present.

Grace to you,

Samuel

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3 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.

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  2. Reblogged this on My Delight and My Counsellors.

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  3. This is excellent. We can plant the seeds, but only God causes the seeds to grow.

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