Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in
and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. ( Jerusalem Acts 6:7)
Where there is life, there is hope—we’ve heard that. Another truth is that where there is life, there is growth. A healthy child with proper nourishment will grow, and so when churches are healthy, they grow as well. That is the pattern in the early church.
The church grows by CONFRONTING PROBLEMS. “Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.” (
6:1) This church made
progress, but wasn’t perfect. When
problems inevitably came, they confronted and corrected them. Ignoring a minor infection can lead to a
life-threatening condition—and this is also true of the Body of Christ.
Growth also requires CONSIDERING PRIORITIES. “Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.’” (
Acts 6:2) It
wasn’t that caring for these widows was beneath the dignity of the preachers—it
was just that their mission and gifts were in other areas and they dare not be
diverted from their calling. A way to
meet this need was found, but the primacy of prayer and preaching could not be
The church grows then by CONSTRUCTING PLANS. “‘Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”’ (
Acts 6:3-4) The larger the church, the greater was the
need for organization. Sustaining and expanding the work demanded larger
ministries and leadership development.
When a church listens to God and leans on the Holy Spirit, He guides us
to strategically install personnel and implement programs for healthy growth.
Underscore this, then, that the church grows by CHOOSING PEOPLE. “And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.” (
Acts 6:5-6) Everything rises and falls on
leadership. The “church staff” can never
do it all. A healthy church needs all
the members of the Body functioning.
The church continues to grow by COUNTING PROGRESS. “Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in
and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.” ( Jerusalem Acts 6:7) We don’t
choose between diet (teaching) and exercise (evangelism and ministry) since
both are required for health. What gets
measured gets done. A church must check
its vital signs regularly. Even the
hard-hearted priests experienced life-change—and spiritual transformation leads
to numerical multiplication. May God
make our church have such an irresistible impact!