Thoughts on Church Growth

"Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events. The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the PEOPLE. And all the BELIEVERS used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the PEOPLE. Nevertheless, more and more men and women BELIEVED in the Lord and were added to their number." (Acts 5:11-14 NIV, highlights-mine)

Here is what seems to be a puzzle: no one from the people joined, but believers were added.

Luke tells us a background of the church at this time. After the supernatural deaths of Ananias and Sapphira, the general public – the people, were afraid. They understood the gravity of God’s presence and reality, but they have not yet made a decision to forsake their sinful ways and turn to Jesus. Their fear of God brought them farther away in darkness.

However, to the believers, this fear brought reverence and holiness. They rushed closer to the light. When God’s presence is so strong, and we strongly receive it, His presence will be evident to all – inside and outside the church.

As a result, “sinners” didn’t come to church. As such, the apostles came to where they are – out there in the streets, and they performed many miraculous signs and wonders among them. That is where God’s power should be displayed all the more – not just in church, but among the people to get them saved. A miracle will settle their unbelief, most of the time.

In this way of evangelism, “people” became “believers,” and these are the kind of people that were added to the church. They were no longer joiners – people with no commitment, but believers hungry to be touched by God.

Today, some churches have an unpleasant social status: It’s complicated. Sinners join God’s people and play Christian, while Christians engage the world and play sinner. This complication tells us two things:

1. The joining sinner does not fear God

2. The Christians’ fear of God is not respected by the world

Because of these, we need revival! We need so much of God’s presence that we go back to the ‘original church template.’ May we have so much reverence for God that the world puts us on high regard, and joiners become true and committed believers. May we grow the church this way before Jesus comes.

(inspired by P.DES)

(image by MSOffice)

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