Summary: Discussion: How to grow a church.
HOW TO DOUBLE ATTENDANCE AND GROW THE CHURCH
A. BEFORE YOU BEGIN: EIGHT BASIC ASSUMPTIONS
Before I begin to discuss how to grow a church, there are certain assumptions that we must agree on. These assumptions are based on the Word of God and come from the nature of God. Without these assumptions, the following steps are just speculation. With these assumptions, we have a mandate to grow a church.
1. God loves the world and has a wonderful plan for each person in the world.
This is a positive motivation, and a growing church begins with the positive motivation that God loves every person and has a unique plan for their happiness and prosperity.
2. All people are lost because of sin.
"All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). We must reach every person with the Gospel or they will die and without Jesus Christ, they will go to Hell.
3. We have a command to go and preach the gospel to every person.
First, we are told to preach to every person, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). The second command gives us a strategy of how to reach these people. The original King James says, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations" (Matt. 28:19). The New King James Version explains the word "teach," with the translation, "make disciples." "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the ages" (Matt. 28:19, 20). What does it mean to "make disciples?"
Get people to follow Jesus Christ, i.e., like Matthew who left his tax table and followed the Lord. This involves the initial act of salvation and the continual process of following Him. The best way to "disciple" people is to reach people for Jesus Christ through the local church.
4. We must get people into the local church.
Disciples follow Jesus Christ when they are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Baptism is more than just immersion into water. Baptism is identification with Jesus Christ and his death, burial and resurrection. Since we are identified with Christ in His physical body on the cross; after we are saved we must be identified with Jesus Christ in His local body (i.e., the church) through water baptism. This places the local church at the heart of evangelism.
DEFINITION OF EVANGELISM
"Communicating the Gospel in an understandable manner, and motivating a person to respond to Jesus Christ, and to become a responsible member of His church." Evangelism and Church Growth: A Practical Encyclopedia, edited by Dr. Elmer Towns and Executive Editors representing twelve leading seminaries in America.
5. Bible education must follow evangelism.
The Great Commission involves post-evangelism or post-conversion ministry. After they accept Christ, make sure they grow in Christ and become members of His church. "Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:20).