I’ve asked my husband Jamie to share a bit on the blog today; he’s a walking concordance and Bible dictionary! Many times I’ve asked him over the years for a scripture reference and his reaction is always the same: looking up with squinted eyes he will answer, “You should find it somewhere around…” And of course, he is right nearly every time without fail. When people remark that his energy, enthusiasm, vision, and love for Africa are amazing, I answer, “Yes, he is pretty amazing.”
This entry was written back in 2007 when the first church we had planted in Malawi was not even a year old. The simplicity of these thoughts astounds me as you can attend church growth seminars, read books, spend hundreds of dollars getting church growth “experts” to come and give advice on how to get your church to grow – but the secret to church growth and maturity is found in the few short verses below. Enjoy!
Acts 2:42, 47NLT“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer…And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”
All the believers in the church in Acts 2 devoted themselves to four things and as a result people were getting saved everyday as well as getting connected into the life of the church – they were being “added to their fellowship.” These four things brought numerical growth and spiritual growth to the church. If we dare implement them today, we’ll experience what they experienced.
1) The apostles’ teaching – This speaks of teaching and preaching the Word. There needs to be solid teaching and preaching present to help believers grow in their Christian walk.
2) Fellowship – This speaks of relationships being established. People were created to be in relationship and that need is met when people get together purposefully to get to know one another and do life together.
3) Sharing meals (including the Lord’s Supper) – This speaks of keeping the cross as our focus because as we partake of the Lord’s Supper we remember what Jesus did for us at the cross – we remember His death, burial and resurrection.
4) Prayer – This speaks of keeping prayer at the center of everything we do; without prayer, our lives will be void of growth and power.
Also, notice it says, “the Lord added to their fellowship…” We need to stay involved in connecting people as much as possible but when it’s all said and done, “unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it…” (Psalm 127:1) Programs and systems are all void of power to connect people meaningfully to the church unless those programs and systems are God-inspired. Without His hand in connecting people to the church, our efforts will be in vain. The assurance of His involvement in whatever system we implement is found in His presence as we pray and ask for His strategy and blessing.
If we want the results of the early church, we have to do what the early church did to get those results. There must be a devotion to: 1) The apostle’s teaching 2) Fellowship 3) Sharing meals (including the Lord’s Supper) and 4) Prayer.
Pastor Jamie Peters