Summary: What is necessary for church growth? This message examines three things that promote church growth.
BEATITUDES OF CHURCH GROWTH
INTRO: "I want to grow," "I want my church to grow," are statements which reflect the desire of most Christians.
Growth is not only our personal wish but the purpose of God for every person born into his kingdom. If we are really serious about growth, there are some things that we can do to cause growth to take place.
Let’s look at three things that make up the BEATITUDES OF CHURCH GROWTH.
I. CHURCH GROWTH IS BIBLICAL.
Jesus stated this foundational truth in the Magna Charta of the church: "Upon this rock I will build my church" (Matt 16:13-18).
1. The church is built ON Jesus. He is the foundation. We read in 1 Corinthians 3:11 that no other foundation will do.
2. The church is built BY Jesus. Every model, method, and principle of church growth must pass through this prism, as must every means of measuring growth.
3. The church is built OF the faith of believers. Simon grew into Peter—Cephas, the rock—just as Jesus said he would when his faith matured.As individual persons grow into the fullness of Jesus, the church grows. The normal, healthy condition of the New Testament church produced growth.
In Acts 2:47 the Lord was adding every day those who were being saved. 1 Corinthians 14:26 says that all singing, teaching, reaching, tongues, and interpretations—in short, everything done in the church—should be done for the purpose of edifying or growing the church.
II. CHURCH GROWTH IS BALANCED.
Luke 2:52 informs us that Jesus grew in "wisdom, and in stature, and in favor with God and with man" (RSV). This is the pattern of total growth which is healthy and balanced. Jesus grew intellectually, physically, spiritually, and socially. Anything short of this balanced growth is considered unhealthy. Acts shows the apostolic church growing in numbers (2-3, 4-5, 6, 7-following), in teaching, in body life, and beyond themselves.
All of us have seen and some have experienced a church where a bus ministry, building program, touring youth choir, or some personal pursuit of the pastor succeeded brilliantly while the rest of the church program suffered because of unhealthy imbalance. Balanced growth in numbers, teaching, body life, and missions emphases produces the healthy church.
A healthy balance among the various areas of biblical church growth contributes toward growth in each area: for example - teaching benefits evangelism, which together benefits the life of the body, which in turn benefits missions.
III. CHURCH GROWTH IS BENEFICIAL.
The growing individual within a growing church benefits. The cycle of growth shows a growing person contributing to church growth and a growing church contributing to personal growth in ever broader spheres. Many of the present generation of Baptists have never been a member of a growing, enthusiastic congregation. They are, on the other hand, well acquainted with the decrease of numbers and the high cost of maintenance. Far too many have adopted a point of view that the struggle to survive is the task of the church.
A growing church benefits individual members in that it not only...
1. provides opportunities for that person to practice his faith but
2. it provides an atmosphere of enthusiasm and accomplishment within which to perform ministry. In order to carry out her mission to reach the whole world with the gospel, the church must:
a. grow more people who understand and are deeply committed to Scripture;
b. who desire to and learn how to minister to others;
c. who are willing to go or to stay home and send;
d. who will provide more leadership and financial resources;
e. and who are personally winning others people to faith in Christ. Persons who are being evangelized, ministered to, and discipled into growing Christians benefit from church growth. The church is blessed and the person who wins a soul to Jesus is blessed, but the one who is being saved is the number one beneficiary of church growth.
CONC: Biblical, balanced, beneficial church growth doesn’t just happen. It is hard work. The only way we will experience church growth here is to desire church growth, then work toward that goal.