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).
The new convert must be taught obedience to the words of Christ, and this instruction is done best in the local church.
6. Sunday School is imperative - absences are serious.
Believers must attend both worship service and Sunday School. "Daily in the temple and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ" (Acts 5:42). Preaching means the worship service. Teaching, means Sunday School or Bible study.
Growing churches must involve everyone in Sunday School because:
a. The Sunday School gives a complete coverage of the Word of God. In Bible study all pupils from kindergarten through adults study the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation.
b. The Sunday School gives a comprehensive study of the Word of God. In Bible study people learn God’s Word by doctrinal study, biographical study, devotional study such as the Psalms, survey study, and topical study.
c. Because the Sunday School effectively applies the Word of God to the life of all pupils. When the teacher first begins asking questions, students become involved with the Word of God, and the teacher can systematically apply the Word of God to the age-graded learning level of each pupil.
THE LAW OF SUNDAY SCHOOL OUGHT
Everyone who ought to be,
Ought to be in Sunday school.
Everyone who ought to be in Sunday school,
Ought to be on time.
Everyone who comes to Sunday school,
Ought to stay for the worship service.
Everyone who comes to the worship service,
Ought to come early for Sunday school.
There is a place for both to attend both,
And if both don’t attend both,
There is something wrong with both.