Summary: A message on where we are and where we are going and how we are going to get there.
I want to start off by saying that I am pleased with where our church is at this point in history, we are healthy, we are growing, we are persevering, but in the same breath, let me say that I believe that we are capable of so much more.
We are growing spiritually but we need to grow more.
We are growing into the apostolic, becoming the church that God desire, but we need to grow more.
We are growing in prayer but we need to grow more.
We are growing in praise and worship but we need to grow more.
We are growing in our relationships but we need to grow more.
We are growing in servanthood but we need to grow more.
We are growing numerically but we need to grow more.
Christianity... that is your relationship with God is not something that is supposed to be stagnate, ungrowing, and unfruitful. It is supposed to be the opposite.
That is why we do the things around here the way we do. That is why we have the focus on five. That is why we are teaching on the apostolic. That is why we are urging you to become the people God wants you to be. We need to continue to grow.
We must grow spiritually.
Jesus spoke to the churches of the world in Revelation 2 and 3. To one church He said, “Wake up!” And to another church He said, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So because you are lukewarm… I am about to spew you out of my mouth.” NIV
We grow by being in the Word of God and by meeting together to study the Bible and to worship God.
Solomon said, “as iron sharpens iron so does one man sharpen another.”
Paul said, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 KJ
Spiritual growth is absolutely necessary for the believer.
We need to grow apostolically.
Most Bible scholars will tell you that the Apostolic age ended when the last apostle died. The last apostle to die was John.
Webster defines apostolic as “pertaining or relating to the apostles.” Therefore for us to grow apostolically we must model the First Century churches. The specific examples of how a church should operate are primarily found in the book of Acts. To sum it up, Jesus is the center of it all. Worship is important as is prayer and faith. An Apostolic church is a place that will teach the uncompromised Word of God. It is a place, in which the people are growing together, working together, and sharing with each other.
It is a place that is committed to advancing the Kingdom of God.
If we are growing Apostolically, then we will be growing in other areas. We will grow in prayer because we will have a deeper desire to be close to God and hear from Him. We will also grow in praise and worship. These things become more important to us because we learn that without them we are empty.
We will grow in our relationships with others. We will truly learn how to love and practice love through servanthood.
Prayer, praise, worship, proper relationships, love, serving each other are all Biblical principles. We must grow in these areas even more than we all ready have.
We must grow numerically.
Most people in small churches are looking for some magical formula or program that will help them grow their church when all the while they have everything they need to grow their church right under their nose.
Do you want to know the most important ingredient for growing a small church? The people in the church having one-on-one conversations with non-Christians that leads to their conversion to Christ. This goes for the pastor, the youth pastor, and everyone else.
A 2005 study of 700 church plants funded by The Lilly Foundation and the Lutheran Brotherhood titled “New Church Development in the 21st Century” proves this point. The study included churches from seven mainline denominations (You can read about the complete finds in the book Extraordinary Times, ed. By H. Stanley Wood, and published by Erdman’s).
The study compares church plants that grow beyond a small church with those that either failed or succeed and then hit a plateau and didn’t grow beyond a small church.
The key finding of the study is - The more focused the pastor is on evangelism the larger the church becomes. I am committed to evangelism. I am committed to seeing the kingdom of God advance and as committed as I am, you also have to be committed and focused.