Today’s guest blog comes to us from Charles Stone for Stonewell Ministries. Dr. Stone is an engineer, author, and founder of Stonewell Ministries, an organization that seeks to help pastors leverage their leadership for greater Kingdom impact.
When I was in seminary Church Growth 101 was a required course. I took interest in the whole field and became a student of church growth. I read a pile of books and attended most of the big church growth conferences. Some of the principles I’ve applied have worked. And some have failed royally. When we look at the early church, though, obviously they did something right. They grew exponentially. In this post I suggest 5 church growth essentials from the Apostle Paul that we see from his first missionary journey.
Principle 1: Rely on the Holy Spirit.
In these two chapters we see the obvious work of the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, while not dismissing good leadership, thorough strategic planning, and great outreach events, only God by His Spirit grows the church (Col. 2.19, 1 Cor. 3.7). In chapter 13 we see the work of the Holy Spirit in several ways.
- He was involved in the selection of Paul and Barnabas to go on this missionary journey (13.2).
- He planted in their hearts the desire to go (13.4).
- He gave Paul great courage to confront a wizard who wasn’t too happy that Paul was evangelizing his boss (13.6-12)
So, if you want to see your church grow, make sure the Holy Spirit is guiding and directing your plans and decisions.
Principle 2: Evangelize through your most natural relationships.
When Paul would enter a city, he would make a beeline to the synagogue. Why? Because he was a Jew and Jews would be there. Their common Jewishness bound them together. It was also natural for him to go there first, because the Jews were already religiously minded and Paul could easily talk about what was common between them, the Old Testament scriptures, prophecy, and the longed for Messiah.
Some of the most fruitful ways to grow the church is to find those most open to the gospel, often those already in our circle of relationships.
Click here for the full article and to read the remaining three principles.
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