Monday, June 7, 2010

Romans 1:8-12 HOW IS YOUR CHURCH GROWING?


Is your church growing? I have spent the last 10 years observing and analyzing church growth. I find it quite interesting that rather than growing, birthing new Christians, churches have become satisfied with just more or less swapping members.
Scripture:
Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world9 God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you. 11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12   that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith.
Lesson:
Many books have been written concerning church growth.  Writers give many solutions to church growth but Paul give two solutions that are very crucial to church growth: prayer and fellowship that encourages each other’s faith.
First Paul mentions his praying for the church.  So many times we exhaust every avenue to solve problems and when all else fails we decide to pray.  Scripture tells us to seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added.  Many churches have given up their mid-week prayer services and replaced it with many other “good” things but nothing can take the place of prayer. I once heard the saying, “A family that prays together, stays together.” I believe with Paul, a church that prays together grows in faith together.
Secondly, Paul talks about togetherness, fellowship. As the spiritual leader, he says he will bring them spiritually what they need to help them understand the good news of Jesus. In return they were to be an encourager to him. Many take fellowship to mean church “pot-luck” dinners. While this could be a good avenue for some good fellowship, it is only that. The church should be encouraged by each other’s faith. A Church whose behavior is influenced by grudges, hurt feelings, different opinions, and unforgiveness, cannot encourage anyone.
When a church puts prayer and true fellowship up front then individuals will begin to testify to the changes that will take place within the body of believers. As a result, others will come from far and wide to see and be a part of such fellowship.
Application:
1)     What place does prayer have in your life/church? Is it a vital part or just a side-kick?
2)     How should the role of spiritual leader/learner compliment and support each other?
3)     Where do you fit in? Are you an encourager or critic?
4)     Do you take care of your spiritual leaders needs as carefully as you do the needs of other members?
5)     What would church look like if we focus more on prayer and fellowship (encouraging each other’s faith) than activities and programs?
6)     Consider ways to grow as a prayer warrior and as an encourager.
Prayer:
Dear Father, create in me a heart that desires you. Help me to so focus on you that my prayers do not cease. Teach me to pray for fellow believers, for the church, and its growth. Help me to be an encourager to all. And, father, place in my life individuals to encourage me, to keep me accountable in my Christian journey. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.