Church Growth – Jesus’ Way

Posted on 22. Jul, 2017 by in Re-Imaging Church, Kingdom Lifestyle

pewsA Unique Approach To Church Growth

During a recent online discussion with ministry outside the USA, the topic shifted to the challenges of “church growth” and retention. One perspective I presented was that Jesus did not call us to build or grow churches. In fact, Jesus stated: “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18).

While all of scripture is truth and valuable and profitable for us (2 Tim 3:16), I believe our first example should be Jesus, God incarnate, himself. Regarding Kingdom (church) growth, Jesus demonstrated a principle in his ministry that I contend is still valid for His church today and will address the common laments of the lack of growth in churches today.

After His temptation, Jesus came out of the wilderness with his inaugural message: Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 4:17) It is then recorded that He “went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” (Mt 4:23) This resulted in his fame spreading through the area and it caused others to bring the sick, the possessed, the lunatic and those with palsy for them to be healed. I also resulted in a great crowd that followed him from the surrounding areas (Mt 4:24-25).

The first point I see here regarding Kingdom growth is that Jesus’ message was the good news of the Kingdom. The focus was to change or transform the mind because the power of the Kingdom was at hand. This message would have been in stark contrast to the Pharisees legalistic message of that day. I can only imagine the hope it would have brought to the average person.

The second point I see regarding Kingdom growth is that Jesus demonstrated the power of the Kingdom by performing the miraculous. Prior to Jesus, we do not have record of the Pharisee’s ministry involving healing or restoration. Now, Jesus steps on the scene, not only declaring the Kingdom, but proving its existence by demonstrating its power! The results – He attracted a crowd and following.

The third point regarding Kingdom growth is that from the crowd, believers or disciples developed. In many places in the Gospels of John, it tells us that after the miracles there were those that believed on Him. (Jn 7:31, Jn 8:30, Jn 2:23 Jn 11:45)

Summarizing these three points, Jesus’ principle of Kingdom growth is to preach and demonstrate the power of the Kingdom. This attracts crowds and from the crowds he made disciples.

Further, we see these Kingdom truths and principles were passed to the disciples. When Jesus sent his disciples he specifically commissioned them: “as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils:” (Mt 10:7-8) (See also Lk 9:1-2 & Lk 10:9). Jesus sent his disciples preaching the same message he preached, the Kingdom, and empowered them to demonstrate His kingdom.

These principles were true in my wife and I’s personal spiritual growth. As newlyweds, we moved from our small hometown in Michigan to the metro Atlanta area. It was here that we were born again in a little Pentecostal church, back when Pentecost wasn’t cool! This little church was so on fire for God and demonstrated His presence so much, that we didn’t want to miss a service. When we started attending it was easily less than 100 people. Four years later, when we moved into the gymnasium of our “under construction” new sanctuary, we numbered over 350. This “little church” eventually completed the new sanctuary and over the years grew to fill it and is now at multiple services and it is one of the larger churches in its organization. Why? Because it has focused on the Kingdom and the manifest presence of Jesus!

So, regarding the “church growth” dilemma that seems to plague Christendom: Preach, teach and demonstrate Jesus and his Kingdom. Manifest the power of God in such a way it is undeniable and people will come. Those that are hungry will stay – then make disciples of them, sending them to preach and demonstrate the Kingdom! – repeat!

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2 Responses to “Church Growth – Jesus’ Way”

  1. Mark Tipton

    22. Jul, 2017

    Martin this is such a missing revelation that should be shared across the church body. I have always said that if we were to preach the love of Jesus and the saving power he has to offer and let signs follow us we would become attractional to the lost world. I often wonder why we try and build churches with our “new concepts” while failing to model “What Would Jesus Do?” to help us show the true Kingdom. My question is how do we get this revelation into open hearts and minds?

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    • Martin Schmaltz

      22. Jul, 2017

      Mark, do not have the complete answer to spreading this revelation. The challenge is that so much of western christianity is locked in it’s traditional way of doing church. My hope is that those who understand it will continue to “preach” it and network among each other. Eventually, the hungry will hear and catch on.

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