If you’ve been in church for any length of time, you’ve participated in at least a few of the latest trends. They come and go. Some work, some don’t. It really doesn’t matter because the creator of the latest and greatest strategy got rich either way.
I find it all very frustrating. Reminds me of the crazes that trap us into yet another diet, a few lost pounds, then regaining more than we lost, forcing us to search for the next sure thing.
Each church growth craze I’ve witnessed has gained a few believers (Praise the Lord!) but it soon mellows out and life returns to the normal often times dead Christianity until a next strategy motivates us to temporarily act.
Does the Bible give God’s perfect, no fail strategy? I studied all the passages in Acts that stated something like, “and the church grew in numbers.” It sounded like a church growth strategy to me. Yet what I found was each time, the strategy was different. God was not limited in how He worked. I hope that doesn’t surprise you.
Acts 2:41: a mighty move of the Holy Spirit with the preaching of the Truth and God added 3,000 to their number that day.
Acts 2:47: A church (devoted to teaching, fellowship, communion, prayer, miracles, wonders, giving, daily meetings, praise, worship, favor of the community) acting out their faith in love to each other and God added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 5:14: Believers walking in holiness to the commands of God’s Word not tolerating sin in the body through the practice of church discipline…more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.
Acts 6:7: Effective leadership and the body operating in their gifts of the Spirit...so the word of God spread. The number of disciples increased rapidly.
Acts 9:31: A time of peace where believers matured in living in the fear of the Lord…and the church grew in numbers.
Acts 9:35,42: The result of miracles displaying the glory of God…this became known all over…and many people believed in the Lord.
Acts 11:21: The hand of God upon a refugees spread by persecutionbut preaching the truth as they traveled among foreigners…The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
Acts 11:24: Missionaries who are full of Spirit and faith going out with the Truth…and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
Acts 14:1, 21: Effective powerful debates on doctrine and theology and preaching the good news…and won a large number of disciples.
Acts 16:5: Churches strong in obedience out in their communities. The world takes note and wants salvation. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.
Acts 17:11-12: Deep biblical Bible studies for those eager to examine Scriptures and confirm the truth of the spoken message. Man of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent [Gentiles].
The truth is, they all work. The book of Acts proves it. Problem is, we need them all. We even need those no one can make money promoting, persecution and martyrdom.
We fail when we focus on only one verse, only one way. This creates program devotees, false martyrs, fanatical miracle seekers and over zealous strategist.