Growing the Church
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation. “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.
When the church is pleasing to God, He will increase the numbers. When we transform church into what we want, it will decline.
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Often we measure the success of our church by how full the Sunday service is or the amount in the offering plate. This is not how God measures the success of His church. God can see into our hearts. A Sunday service full of rich, lukewarm Christians is not success in God’s eyes. Does this please God? Rethink church.
Many churches from small to mega are struggling with finances. Budgets do not generally get smaller year to year. The home church does not struggle with finances as the church meets in a house that is paid by the person who lives in it. Pastors are not paid other than an honorarium that some may offer. Pastors are required to gain income by other means. Most of the money gathered goes to God’s mission field.
When church meets in a building, there is a requirement to pay for mortgage/rent, utilities, maintenance, office supplies, wages and what is leftover goes to God’s mission field. It does not need to be this way. When finances become an issue, the focus is taken away from God.
Churches need to look at their budgets and decide whether they are being good stewards. When we have a fully committed church, paid staff are not required as there are enough people involved to complete the work. Does this please God? Rethink church.