The God-Given Increase

    When it comes to church growth a question that typically comes up is one that has to do with the size of a congregation.  How big is too big?  How small is too small?  What is just the “right” size for a congregation?  Often someone really starts pushing for growth and almost always, in my perspective, is met with those who are against it.  I don’t know if anyone would come right and say that they are against but you do hear things like “I like the way we are”, “I don’t like a large church”, or “Those churches are just too big.”

    In response to that I think we find ourselves saying, while still trying to encourage growth but make it more palatable, “it’s not about the numbers.”  I know I’ve said that before to others when comments like those listed above were made as I attempted to find common ground.  But wait a minute…isn’t it all about the numbers?  Within the context of understanding that our motives are to save lost souls and not focused on just having a mega church, isn’t it all about the numbers?

    It donned on me that almost all of God’s faithful people that we read of in scripture, there’s always some aspect of growth and increase.  Think about Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, the Israelites even.  God’s people are always increasing in number and growing.  Exodus 1:7 – “the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.”  Even under persecution  “God dealt well with the midwives.  And the people multiplied and grew very strong.” (Exo. 1:20).

    You see the same evidence and patter within the New Testament as well.  In our efforts to be the New Testament Church that we read of in scripture let’s take a minute and note what characterized them. 

  • Acts 2:41 – “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.’
  • Acts 2:47 – “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
  • Acts 4:4 – “But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.”
  • Acts 12:24 – “But the word of God increased and multiplied.”
  • Acts 16:5 – “So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.”

    You can’t help but see constant growth and increasing in number when reading of the New Testament church everywhere it was found.  We’ve been commissioned (Matthew 28, Mark 16) to be spreading the boarders of the kingdom and we do that by reaching and teaching lost souls.  While its NOT about competiting with other congregations or having a “mega” church, it IS about spreading God’s word and increasing both personally and in number daily.  Let me encourage us all to strive each day to sow God’s seed with no partiality and grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (2 Pet.3:18)