Summary: A sermon examining the success that is exemplified in the actions of the early church.
A Biblical Model For Success In Ministry
Almost every week I receive emails, electronic advertisements and brochures in the mail box pushing the "latest and greatest" church growth method. Each of these contain statistics and results of how this specific "program" was successful in other churches across the nation. All we have to do is purchase the materials and in 4 to 6 weeks we will receive everything needed for our church to grow numerically.
I have no doubt that some churches have experienced had great success from using these methods. I also must admit that they have some neat ideas for reaching out to the community. But I firmly believe that all we need to know about ministry and church growth is found in God's Holy Word.
Recently we embarked on a new journey here at Stockdale. We call it A.C.T.S (Advancing Christianity Through Service). For the most part we are taking a new journey down an old path. All we need to know about how to build a church God's way is outlined in this great book that was inspired by God Himself and penned by Dr. Luke.
This morning I would like to look at one of the most familiar accounts in the book of Acts and see the "church growth method" that was implemented by the Lord's Apostles. In Acts chapter 3 we find "A Biblical Model For Success In Ministry". These few verses show us the proper preparations, procedures and purpose of a successful ministry and they also show us the progress that will follow. I invite you to look with me to verse number one as we examine:
I. THE PREPARATIONS OF A SUCCESSFUL MINISTRY
Many people have the best intentions when it comes to accomplishing certain things in ministry. Some see a need for a new church to be planted, some feel lead to begin a specific ministry in an existing church, some have a desire to go on a mission trip to another country and some may even feel lead to devote their life to foreign missions. These are all wonderful aspirations and in many cases these are God given callings. But in order to be successful, certain preparations have to be made.
Peter and John had been commissioned by Jesus. He told them that they would be "witnesses of Him in Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and the uttermost part of the earth."
I am sure that the Lord appreciates eagerness among His followers. But the Apostles did not just run out and get to work. They had been instructed to wait until the time was right. In Acts 1:4 Jesus commanded the Disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait until they received the promise from the Father. So between the ascension and Pentecost the followers of Christ waited and prayed. As a church and as individuals we have specific missions... each of us have a calling. But before we will be successful we must make proper preparations.
We have some exciting things on the horizon as a church. There are some ministry opportunities that many of us would like to dive into immediately. But if we do things in our time rather that God's time we will surely fail. Peter and John we two of the most successful men in the History of the Church, so let's se if we can learn from their example. Look to v1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.
Before these men began their work they made preparations. They were prayed up, spirit filled and obedient to their calling. We need the same attributes if we are going to be successful in ministry.
- For us to be successful....
A. WE MUST TALK WITH GOD - There in the upper room, Peter, John and about 120 other disciples gathered together and spent time in prayer. (Acts 1:13-15). Throughout the entire book of Acts we see the importance of corporate prayer (the church praying together). When it comes to your specific ministry calling... PRAYER IS VITAL FOR SUCCESS! When it comes to our collective ministry as a Church... PRAYER IS VITAL FOR SUCCESS!
- As we prepare for our next step in ministry let us make prayer a priority in our preparations. Not only must we talk with God it is also true that.....
B. WE MUST WALK WITH GOD - The Apostles were in the right places. They were where they needed to be to receive instruction from Jesus just before he ascended. And they were where they needed to be when the Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost. Likewise, we must be where we need to be in order to receive instruction from the Lord.
This illustrates the importance of being in the Word of God... for that is where we will receive instruction. It is also vitally important that you are regular in your church attendance. If God reveals His plan for our future on a certain Sunday Morning, you need to be here to hear it!