Summary: If a church is to grow, it must have gifted leadership and a committed membership.
It has been said that the same law which God has instituted in nature which declares that healthy living things will grow naturally, applies to the growth of the local church. Since the church is an organism, rather than an organization, if it can maintain its spiritual health and vitality, it will grow supernaturally!
Since it should be our desire for our church to grow to the glory of God, we need to pay attention today to what Paul tells us here about growing the church.
As we consider his description of healthy church growth, we can learn some things that will help our church grow to God’s glory.
1. The essentials of church growth - vs. 7-12
Two things are essential if a church is to grow -
A. Gifted leadership - v. 11
1) Apostles - Start churches. Missionaries today carry out an apostolic ministry.
2) Prophets & Evangelists - Stir up churches. The prophet’s ministry is directed toward believers, while the evangelist’s ministry is directed toward unbelievers.
3) Pastors & Teachers - Stabilize churches. It is right for pastors and teachers to be mentioned together, because one cannot be an effective pastor without teaching and one cannot be an effective teacher without pastoring.
All these individuals are gifts given by God to lead the church. This implies two things:
A) Their’s is a great privilege.
B) Their’s is a great responsibility.
“Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.” - Hebrews 13:17 (NLT)
“If called upon to name the key to church growth, it would be
leadership.” - Dewayne Davenport, The Bible Says Grow
With such pressure, church leaders are in need of affirmation,
encouragement and, of course, prayer.
“Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” - Ephesians 6:19 (NIV)
“70% of pastors in America say they have lower self-esteem than when they started in ministry.” - Dr. Jerry Oliver
One young preacher was having trouble with a critical member. This fellow had as his favorite expression, “Great Day!” In business meeting or wherever, he would express himself by saying, “Great Day!”
One Sunday morning the young pastor said “I’m preaching on the text, ‘And Jesus fed five men with five thousand loaves of bread and two thousand fishes.’”
The critical brother jumped up and said, “Great day, that’s no miracle, I could do that!”
The young preacher was so shaken that he couldn’t even preach his sermon. The next Sunday, out of spite, he announced correctly, “And Jesus fed five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes.” He looked right down at the outspoken member and said, “And I guess you could do that too?”
“I certainly could,” he said. “How?” the preacher questioned.
“With what was left over from last Sunday,” the man insisted.
Seriously, the Bible is quite clear as how a church is to go about
rewarding or disciplining a pastor if necessary.
“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and "The worker deserves his wages.’ Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three
witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that
the others may take warning.” - 1 Timothy 5:17-20 (NIV)
But leaders owe it to their people to seek to improve themselves. A leader must always be growing, seeking to be as effective as possible, realizing that leadership consists of more than filling a position.
Dr. John Maxwell says that there are five areas where a leader must continually seek to develop:
1) Attitude - Without this he will hurt himself.
2) Relationships - Without this others will hurt him.
3) Persistence - Without this problems will defeat him.
4) Priorities - Without this the insignificant will hamper him.
5) Credibility - Without this no one will follow him.
Successful leaders . . .
1) Influence others - he must be a motivator.
Manipulation - getting others to do something to benefit the leader.
Motivation - getting others to do something to benefit everyone.
2) Set priorities - he discerns between the urgent and the important.
“There are three kinds of people in the world - Those who don’t know what’s happening; those who watch what is happening; and those who make things happen.” - Nicholas Murray Butler, Former President of Columbia University