All over the world the poorest and most persecuted Churches are growing the fastest. In Western countries the richest and most comfortable churches are growing the fastest.
The poorest and most persecuted Churches practice the love and generosity we see in the first Church. They want to know what they can do for the Kingdom of God. They want to help, love, and encourage one another. They want to spend more time in Worship. More time on prayer. More time studying His Word. They’re willing to lose everything to share the gospel with the lost.
Many Westernized churches look for the path of least resistance. They want to know how they can get the most out of Jesus with the least effort. They want to know how they can be “blessed” with more material possessions. How they can spend less time at church. Less time in the Word. Less time in prayer. Less time in worship. They want things their way. They want to be surrounded by people who are like them. People that have their act together. The churches that make these things happen grow the fastest in our culture.
God still adds to Churches who seek to be more like the Church was designed to be. Churches that spend time in the Word. Churches that love and encourage one another. Churches that make disciples. Churches that seek out opportunities to help others and share the gospel with the lost.
A couple of days ago I was asked why churches are not growing. I gave what many will find to be a very conceited answer. I said that I’ve never pastored a Church that didn’t grow. What will appear to be more conceded than that? Well, how about the fact that I don’t believe I’ll ever pastor a Church that doesn’t grow.
I struggle with finances. I stumble over words. I forget important things. I’m overly emotional from time to time. I’ve wrestled with addictions. I’ve experienced major depression. I have no real skills. No talents to speak of.
But… I know a man named Jesus. He’s an awesome man. I love Him. I trust Him. I’m growing in Him. I want to point others to Him. I don’t make decisions based on keeping my “job”. I don’t worry about pleasing everyone. I love everyone enough to tell them the truth about Jesus and His Word. I have faith in my Lord and Savior. I know He loves every man, woman, and child. He will grow His Church.
No Church should be dying. A dying church is a man focused church. Not every growing church is of God. Every dying church is of man. God never fails.
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.(Acts 2:41-47)