Summary: A survey of hundreds of pastors has allowed us to compile a preliminary list of measurable quality factors in the life of a congregation in ranking order. The twelve factors are:
What Are the Qualities of a Successful Fellowship Acts 2:41-47
Illustration:A survey of hundreds of pastors has allowed us to compile a preliminary list of measurable quality factors in the life of a congregation in ranking order. The twelve factors are:
1. Bible knowledge. Church members are increasing in their grasp of the teachings of the Bible. They can integrate this with a theological system that enables them to apply the Bible’s teachings to their life situation.
2. Personal devotions. Members spend time daily in prayer, Bible reading, meditation, and other personal spiritual exercises.
3. Worship. Members regularly participate in the worship services scheduled by the church.
4. Witnessing. Members regularly attempt to share their faith in Jesus Christ with unbelievers.
5. Lay ministry. The lay people of the church are engaged in such ministries as teaching and discipling. In some cases this happens through consciously discovering, developing, and using their spiritual gifts.
6. Missions. The church actively supports missions, organizing and sustaining a strong program for recruiting, sending, and financing home and foreign missionaries.
7. Giving. Members give an appropriate portion of their income to the local church and/or to other Christian causes.
8. Fellowship. Members are growing in their personal relationships with each other through regular participation in church fellowship groups of one kind or another.
9. Distinctive life-style. Members generally manifest their faith in Christ by living a life-style clearly and noticeable distinct from that of non-Christians in the same community.
10. Attitude toward religion. Church members regard their involvement in the church primarily as a service to God rather than a means to fulfill personal needs.
11. Social service. Members are serving others outside the congregation. This includes direct personal involvement with the poor and needy, or in programs designed to help the needy.
12. Social justice. Either through the congregation as a whole or through specialized Christian agencies, members are striving to make changes in sociopolitical structures that will contribute to a more moral and just society.
C. Peter Wagner, Leading Your Church to Growth, Regal Books, 1984, pp. 25-27.
As a direct result of receiving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, the believers experienced great personal and group changes. Not only were three thousand new people attesting to the wondrous power and truth of God, but house fellowships became the most effective way of nurturing believers in to mature leaders. The following is a list of some of the most significant features that characterized the first century church fellowships. Ask the Lord to help you plant and develop many similar fellowships as the best ways of advancing His kingdom and righteousness throughout the whole earth:
A). They showed that their conversion to faith in Christ was genuine by publicly testifying of the great things God had done for them. Ask the Lord to help you teach people how to share their testimony in a way that will bring others to find eternal life through and fulfillment through Jesus.
B). The early believers loved one another as Christ loved the apostles. Great attractive powers were evidenced through these early small group fellowships because of the agape love they had for others. Ask the Lord to help you show love in word, deed and attitudes to those who you come in contact with
C). The first century church fellowships were characterized by exciting worship services. Ask the Lord to help your worship be known for its celebrative, buoyant, and edifying atmosphere.
D). The early Christians shared with one another as they saw genuine needs. Ask the Lord to help you to minister to peoples’ social, emotional, physical, mental, economic, moral, educational and spiritual needs by the leading of the Holy Spirit. Trust the Lord to help you to serve without creating dependence
E). The power of prayer helped the early Christians to see signs, wonders and miraculous answers from God. Ask the Lord to help you develop your personal and church prayer lists that will encourage others to pray more effectively and grow in spiritual maturity.
F). Christians met in one another’s homes as a way of transparently sharing who and what they were. Ask the Lord to help your fellowship avoid the trap of spiritual hypocrisy and superficiality of many church fellowships.
G). Believers shared in the communion of the Lord’s supper often as well as eating together to express their common commitments. Ask the Lord to help you frequently participate in the Lord’s supper with others and share meals in a spirit of generous hospitality, confession and consecration.
H). Early Christians took turns in explaining the large and small principles of the apostles’ teaching. Ask God to help you to share responsibilities in teaching one another relevant Biblical principles.
I). The first century believers often gave God great thanks for the many answers to prayers despite their persecutions. Ask the Lord to help your fellowships to be characterized by thankfulness instead of a bitterness, divisions and a complaining spirit.