Thursday, August 23, 2012

Church Growth

 The early Christians were persecuted and ordered not to witness. However, during the first few decades of the Early Church the numbers of people who came to faith in Christ were astounding. Beginning as a separate group from Judaism, the founder, Jesus Christ, was tried in court, found guilty and crucified.  No PR firm today would suggest that this would be a great way to start a movement.

One thing was different: That crucified, dead and buried man rose form the dead and revealed himself to hundreds of followers. Jesus walked and talked and even ate among his small band of uneducated followers for a season. Then Jesus disappeared into the air. However, he said, "Wait for the Holy Spirit."

They had to scratch their heads and wonder, "Wait for a dead man who disappeared into thin air to send someone to us? What is that all about?"

On Pentecost the Holy Spirit came. It was then that we got a taste of the way God was going to "Build His Church". It would be through Holy Spirit empowered men and women. From then until about 300 AD small bands of people sprang up all over the known Roman world. They were educated and uneducated, rich and poor, bright and not so bright, Jew and Greek, pretty and ugly. You get the picture.

Their genius was how they acted out their faith. they went house to house eating and drinking and worshiping the Lord. they prayed for the sick, took in strangers and witnessed to the risen Christ in power. There were no Bibles, no buildings, no books, no music leaders, no formal pastors and no money. However, they had a lot of the Spirit.

They met in houses and had nothing but small groups because the houses were tiny.  Their structure was relational with God and each other. The evangelism was daily and baptisms followed on that decision immediately. Whoever led the person to Christ dunked the Seeker. Nobody had to ask permission from headquarters because the Head was Jesus and He was quartered inside each believer.

The Spirit produced love, power, gifts and truth. Those basics showed the others that God was real and life in the Spirit was good. It was very good. People would flock to receive God's love, power, truth and healing.

Oh why not tonight?

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