Summary: Three things that the church needs in order to grow.
INTRO.- ILL.- A cartoon once showed a little boy sitting beside his father and mother at church. The little boy said to his father: “Mom wants to cook the dinner, you want to play golf, I want to play football. Why are we here?”
Why do people come to church? Hopefully, they come because they do believe in God, Christ and the Bible…because they believe in heaven and hell…because they believe in the importance of worship and fellowship. BUT I THINK PERHAPS SOME PEOPLE ONLY COME OUT OF OBLIGATION OR DUTY. They don’t really want to come to church. They would rather do other things, like: sleep in, play golf or go play at something else.
ILL.- A minister asked a little girl at the door of the church what she thought of the church service. She replied, “The music was nice, but the commercial was too long.”
One reason why some people don’t want to go to church is because the sermon, that is, the commercial may be too long or perhaps too boring.
Why is it that some churches are growing in spite of perhaps longer services and boring services? What do some churches have that we don’t have?
ILL.- Mega-churches are defined as Protestant churches that attract at least 2,000 worshipers a week. Forbes magazine recently looked at the business ventures of several mega-churches.
The 23,093-strong World Changers Ministries in College Park, Ga., pastored by Creflo Dollar, operates a music studio, publishing house, computer graphic design suite and has its own record label.
The 25,060-member Lakewood Church in Houston pastored by Joel Osteen recently leased the Compaq Center, former home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, has a four-record deal and spends $12 million annually on TV airtime.
Brothers and sisters, obviously some large churches are doing things that we can’t begin to even think about doing. And we probably wouldn’t do them even if we had the resources.
But let’s consider our church. We are not located on the best street in town. We are somewhat hidden, but not that hard to find. We don’t have the biggest building in town, but it’s a very good building, neat, attractive, clean and with a great parking lot. We don’t have the greatest music program in the world but we’re trying to build our music program. We don’t have a computerized power point program in our church, but so what? I’ve been to churches where they had it and I didn’t consider it to be that big of an asset. We don’t have a band, but so what? We don’t bring in outside speakers for special programs. BUT WE MAY HAVE MORE GOING FOR US THAN WE REALIZE! Regardless of what we have or don’t have, we need to consider what we can do to help make the Lord’s church grow!
ILL.- What do baby boomers expect to see in a church? Boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964, between 40 and 58 years old. There are about 76 million boomers in the U.S.; which currently represent about 29% of the U.S. population.
Lyle Schaller, an Illinois consultant discovered these things: High-quality preaching, good music and social groups. Baby boomers also expect big meeting rooms, a quality kitchen, childcare, ample parking and clean rest rooms. I would say that we have at least some of those things.
What is amazing is this: THE EARLY CHURCH HAD NONE OF THESE MODERN THINGS AND YET THEY GREW! There were 3,000 baptized on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:41. In Acts 4:4 it states that many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about 5,000. Acts 6:7 says the number of disciples increased rapidly.
What did the early church have that caused them to grow that perhaps we don’t have or need to improve on?
PROP.- I want us to consider three things they had which we need today to see the church grow.
ILL.- A man, who never seemed to be able to make or keep friends, went to see a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist was interviewing him, but failed to catch something the man said and asked: “Would you mind repeating that please?” “I said,” replied the fellow, “for some reason nobody ever seems to like me. Why don’t you pay attention to what I am saying to you, fathead?”
You don’t need to be a psychiatrist to understand why this man never made friends. You don’t call people names or even think of calling them a derogatory name if you want to have friends or keep friends.
Prov. 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
A true friend loves at all times, not just when the person is doing well in life. A true friend loves even when the chips are down or the person fails in some form or another.