Summary: This is part 2 of a series I preached about working toward church growth. Herein, you will find some ideas/tools for helping your church grow.
Church Growth Sunday, part 2
I talked to you this morning about the fact that every person plays a vital role in seeing church growth. No person in this body is an exception. Everybody has a calling to help, and everyone will also reap the rewards. When people start coming in, we’ll all become excited again, as we’ll see our crowds grow, there will be more workers, etc.
It’s simply up to us whether we want things to go or not. God certainly does, but he is looking for some vessels to work through.
There is a word given for soul winning; it’s called evangelism. Evangelism simply means we are spreading the good news of Jesus to those around us. And evangelism is not merely limited to the lost, but also to those who are hurting/struggling in the body of Christ. It’s feeding the hungry in spirit, and healing the broken.
Any church that is not evangelistic in its efforts is a church that has missed the direction of God. Jesus made it clear that he wanted his message told to the whole world. (1)Mark 16:15 "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature", (2)*one of only prayer requests Jesus gave to man* Matt. 9:38 "Ask the lord of the harvest therefore to send out workers into his harvest field" (3)John 20:21 "Peace be with you. As the father is sending me, so am I sending you" (4)Jesus gave his sign of the end of time by saying this in Matt. 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come". **IT’S PRETTY PLAIN: HE WANTS HIS MESSAGE TO GET OUT!**
There has never been a time when there is a greater need for evangelism. (crime, hatred, violence, school shootings, etc.) But not only that, but there has never been a time when there was a greater opportunity for evangelism either. God is opening doors like never before across the globe for this message to spread. EXP.
But I want you to notice something here in the text: "you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem.." The first place he mentions is Jerusalem- the place where they were. There is a word to be seen in this: I never have and might not ever get to go preach in Africa, Asia, Europe, etc. And you might not either. But our evangelism must start in our Jerusalem- where we are. And we can do it if we’re willing.
But the one thing that must be considered is this: times are changing. And as much as people don’t want to modernize the church/try different things, in order to reach a new, radical generation there has to come a point in time when we’re willing to change some of our methods without ever compromising our message. And it can be done. *The most difficult thing the church world has ever dealt with is change. But at some point in time we need to realize that if what we’re doing ain’t working, let’s try something else that might!
Sometimes it seems like Christians believe their particular methods of doing things are endoctrinated in the Bible as the only way to get it done. But all Jesus said was "go". He didn’t say how we have to do it, just do it. Whatever it takes, we must reach this world!
There is a 3 fold ministry of the church: Empower, Equip, Evangelize. And in order to effectively evangelize, we must be empowered and equipped.
We have all memorized the text, but let’s take a look at what it’s really saying. You remember Jesus said in Luke 24:49 "Behold I send you the promise of my father. But tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you be endued with power from on high". He reiterates that statement here in Acts, saying "you’re going to receive power after the HG comes upon you". Power for what? For service. To touch lives for the kingdom. To minister the gospel effectively. And when this power came upon them, they literally turned their world upside down.
I can tell you that we too need that same empowerment from on high. A church without the HG will be ineffective. A ministry..., A Christian... We need the HG power moving inside us. We need him actively at work in our services. We need him empowering us to teach our classes, sing our songs, preach our sermons, etc. And we need him to empower us while evangelizing this world! *That’s why Jesus said to wait on it, because if the HG was not poured out (and continually being poured out) on them, they would not be able to accomplish what they did.