Church Growth: Sola Scriptura– What the Bible Says About Growth

Posted: November 21, 2011 in Church Praise and Worship
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Praise and Worship for the Modern Age vs Church Growth
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Sola Scriptura – What the Bible Says About Growth

The call of Martin Luther and John Calvin’s Reformation was Scripture and Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura). The foundation of this book likewise is Scripture and it is Scripture upon which it rests. If you are looking for graphs and demographics, the Church Growth Movement has plenty of that to go around. However, if you are looking for the guidance of Scripture and Scripture alone, then you have come to the right place. With that in mind, this book contends that the very premise of the Church Growth Movement is wrong because it is founded on ideas that are in direct contradiction with the Bible.

Consequently, “’Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.’” (Matt 7:15-20 MKJV)

God’s Word clearly indicates that it is the pastor’s job to take care of his congregation and that he should allow God to take care of the growth rather than trusting in formulas for success. Jesus’ command to Peter was “’Feed my Lambs’” and “’Take care of my Sheep.’” (Jn 21: 15-18 NIV) Church growth is God’s concern. It is the shepherd’s business to minister to the flock. Therefore the Apostle Paul wrote, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” (I Cor 3:6-79 NIV)

The problem here is not that there is biblical silence regarding how churches should grow. The biblical lesson is quite evident. Growth comes as a result of Christians living as Christians while doing the things Christians should do through the power of the Holy Spirit. The prescription for biblical church growth was detailed with exactness by Luke who penned, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47 MKJV)

What made the early church grow? The same things that made the Biblical Church grow for the next 2,000 years. These early Christians were instructed in the Word as they met, they fellowshipped together, they prayed, they witnessed God’s power and depended upon it, they were generous, they met together in their homes, and they praised God. They did the work of ministry.

The Early Church depended upon the filling of the Holy Spirit for power as they served the Lord. It was in the power of the Holy Spirit that they found their church growth strategy. Therefore Jesus told the disciples to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit before they set out to share the Gospel to the world. (Acts 1:4b) As a result of this instruction they remained in the upper room and constantly prayed. (Acts1:14) Too many times in the church’s rush to grow it is forgotten that revival begins with prayer. However, because it is God who does the work, it is God who we must first seek before we can hope to see that which only He can produce.

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:1-4 NIV) It was then that Peter preached that great and inspirational message where 3,000 were saved.

The filling of the Holy Spirit for ministry remained consistent for the rest of the story of the Early Church. When Peter defended the faith before the Jewish leaders of the day he was “filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 4:8b NIV) When Peter and John were released from prison as a result of their testimony the Bible states, “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” (Acts4:31NIV) When Peter and John saw that the converts in Samaria had not received the Holy Spirit they recognized the deficiency. Therefore “they placed their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:17b NIV) After Paul was saved Ananias laid his hands on him and said, “’Brother Saul, the Lord – Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here – has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 9:17b NIV) Paul himself greatly depended upon the Holy Spirit in his ministry. (Acts 13:9)

As the Book of Acts clearly demonstrates, it is God’s job to grow the church. The main biblical marketing tool of the church, therefore, is evangelism that ushers out of the work of God’s Holy Spirit. It is through living the Christian life while sharing Christ with others that the church grows. (Matt 28:18-20) And that growth is the result of something actually productive – bringing souls to Christ.

Stay tuned for more!

The preceeding blog is an exerpt from Don Wigton’s book “Holy Wars.” Click here to purchase: http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=267348

For free praise music, charts and study helps go to the Wigtune Praise and Worship Sitehttp//www.praisesong.net

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