"He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."(NIV) Mark 16:15
The elders were at a loss. After a congregational meeting, a retreat, sermons and several meetings with the deacons, the congregation still was not growing.
Their latest meeting was getting testy. One of the elders wanted to fire the preacher. Another touted a new book that claimed to have just the right program. The last elder just wanted to stay quiet and keep the peace. Disgusted, they just went home and grumbled to their wives.
Congregations are always running after the perfect preacher, program and publicity campaign to help them grow. However, most of them overlook the most successful plan available to them.
The New Testament provides a plan that will work. It requires more than many brethren are willing to give. It asks for a sacrifice more personal than money and commitment more tangible than a surrogate.
Church growth must be organic, emanating from the inside of a congregation. If a group is cold, comfortable, lifeless and bored, church growth is impossible no matter how much money is spent on preachers and programs. No one wants to be with the dead.
As God's people, we live in Christ through his blood (Acts 2:38, 47; Galatians 3:27). We enjoy all the spiritual blessings available to us (Ephesians 1:3) as we glorify Christ (Ephesians 3:20-21) and walk in him daily (Ephesians 4:1).
United in the Spirit, we learn from Scripture how to bond together in unity and peace (Ephesians 4:3). We build a church family and community that loves being together, and we depend on one another in everything (Colossians 3:12-15). Worship and Bible study become spiritual feasts.
Our love for the Word and each other (Colossians 3:16) will naturally spill over into all of our lives, and we will share that with others. Accordingly, people will be intrigued by such joy and want to come and see whether they can be part of an exceptional harvest of blessings.
Can we not see why evangelism must emanate from within? Please, allow the light of Christ to shine into a dark and sinful world and people will flock to its warmth!