The last couple of posts cover church growth and congregational friendliness, today I want us to open the Book of Acts and see how the early Church grew. Let’s just call this what it is: Church growth the Bible way.
A quick survey of the book of Acts in the Bible and you quickly realize that the early church grew. No they increased, make that multiplied. Look at the early chapters and the growth of the church:
- Acts 2:41, 47; “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. . . . And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
- Acts 4:4; “But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.”
- Acts 5:14; “And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,”
- Acts 6:1, 7;”Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. . . . And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.”
- Acts 8:4, “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.”
- Acts 9:31, “And the church in Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.”
There it is! The is a simple Biblical formula that made growth possible.
1. They had peace. Not peace with Judaism. Not peace with Rome. Not peace with the world. Definitely not peace with Satan. But peace with God through Christ and therefore with each other.
2. They were being built up. Encouraged, edified, taught by God’s word and by each other’s example.
3. They walked in fear of God. Yes, fear as in reverence and awe. But also fear as in “this is Creator who spoke the world into existence and who caused the immediate death of two who lied to His Spirit (cf. Acts 5).”
4. They walked in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. They had the promise of Acts 2:38-40. They understood the seal of guarantee that Paul talks of in Ephesians 1:13-14. Their spirit in tune with His produced the fruit of Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.
5. All this lead to the final words of this verse “it MULTIPLIED.”
How is the church growing where you are? Are you part of the problem or the solution?