CHURCH GROWTH - Plant and Water

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I know some Christians don't like the phrase "growing the church" because they believe only God can grow the Church. I'll address this mindset later in this piece. Michael Jordan cannot crawl up and down the court with his eyes closed; both hands tied behind his back, get beat in a basketball game by a 5 years old kid and then say "I did my best." Growth requires effort but this requirement doesn't mean everyone is going to be exactly like Paul or Peter. It means we need to stop slacking and making excuses for it. We can wait till Jesus comes back and ask Him why growth is a necessity - just like the "one talent" guy who refused to put his talent to use, or we can simply start doing the very best we can to grow, by putting one foot in front of the other. Just remember that a seed does not wait until harvest to start growing because growth is a process. Everyone has a responsibility to grow and learn for their own good. This in turn helps with Church growth. Here are two important bible ways of growing a Church and some individual ways to growth.

1Our job is to PLANT by preaching the gospel of Christ so God can keep adding those who are being saved to His Church. This creates growth in numbers a.k.a. "PHYSICAL GROWTH" (Acts 2:47).
2. Our job is to WATER correctly by teaching the saved to observe what the Master teacher taught us through the scriptures (Matthew 28:20). This is how God helps us increase in our "SPIRITUAL GROWTH" (2 Peter 1:5-11).

1. Paul said we "GROW" by "speaking the truth in love" - Ephesians 4:15
2. Peter said we "GROW" when we "crave pure spiritual milk" - 1 Peter 2:2
3. Jesus said we "GROW" when we remain in Him and "bear fruit" - John 15:1-2

"Growing the Church" occurs both locally and universally. Sadly, some congregation choose competition over co-operation. They forget that they can productively work together while remaining independent. The first thing that comes to mind about Church growth is usually numerical or physical growth. We get excited, as we should be at the end of the year to announce how many baptisms occurred. Everyone cheers for the numbers but nothing is ever mentioned about where these "newborns" are. We may baptize ten but nine left the faith in the first few months and the only one left standing is probably a relative or a child of another member. In some cases, all ten are gone in a matter of weeks or months and no one knows what happened to them.

Abraham Inetianbor
Christians who do not like to hear the phrase "grow the Church" will respond by saying "only God can grow the Church." They say this by quoting "Paul planted and Apollos watered but God gave the increase" - 1 Corinthians 3:6. This is very true but it's the same as saying "I am saved by grace so I don't need to do anything." This was the mindset of some early Christians in Hebrews 10, which led the writer to caution them in verse 25. We all know that God is the ONLY one that adds us to His Church but it's our job to plant and water for this to happen. You cannot expect something to grow without plating and you cannot expect the growth to mature if the proper care like watering is not there. The contextual fact about this verse is that members of the Church were taking sides and Paul had to quickly remind them that the ONLY side we should be choosing is God's side. We humans make up the Church and we belong to Christ - not Paul or Apollos or anyone else. Paul PLANTED by preaching the truth and Apollos WATERED by teaching the truth. Therefore, choosing sides is ridiculous because we are all humans belonging to one God.

Doing my Christian duty is not tattooing a bible verse on my arm, writing a blog like this, posting on Facebook, attending every single worship service or events. Christian duty is doing the very best we can (including those things listed above) WITHOUT looking for a human "pat on the back" and knowing fully well that God knows where your heart is. Church members are SLACKING these days and continue to not prioritize growth. Take a survey and you will find out that most Christians show more disappointment for missing a TV show or sports event than they do over missing a worship service or a church event.

We can't always get it right but we sure can do better. The devil is always waiting to pounce so arm yourself the best you can with prayers. Don't be the one who intentionally stands in the middle of the highway and asking God to protect you from oncoming traffic. Take one step at a time and you'll be glad you did. Stay blessed my friends.

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