“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:47
Church growth is a buzzword in modern ministry. In America, pastors and ministers are constantly thinking about growth. More people means more tithers, which means more money to do more ministry. So there are growth seminars and growth websites. There are growth consultants, growth plans, and growth strategies. There are blogs on growth written by pastors of growing churches about how their growth came about, in the hope that another church might grow by adopting the same tactics.
In the early Church, though, we see growth that is very different. Acts 2 shows us a church devoted to Bible teaching, worship, prayer, and ministry to the community. It shows us a people who met daily, who persevered…who were living so differently than everyone else around them that they “enjoyed the favor of all the people.” And then, at the very end of the passage, a word about growth, “God added daily to their number.”
In this early Church, growth was not the goal. It was the by-product. God did the growing as the Church spent her time being the Church. As our culture changes, and the pace of life intensifies, church leaders – and by default those they lead – begin to look for ways to be an influence in their communities. If we adopt a few cool concepts, a branded look, some relevant teaching with a current topic theme, we’ll attract new people, and we’ll grow. And growing brings all kinds of positive things with it.
Growth in the Church isn’t bad. Often when we see new people come into the Church it’s through life change…coming to know Jesus and beginning a discipleship journey. But we must keep the goal clear: growth is not the goal. It is the God-given by-product of a church that is worshiping, discipling, serving, and sending in its community and beyond.
God, thank You for my church. I pray You will show me ways I can be involved in ministry through my local church. I pray as I worship, disciple, serve the community and go on mission, that you will use my personal ministry to impact the lives of others. I pray our congregation will be an influence for Christ in our city, our nation and around the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.