This is about principles not techniques for healthy church growth
From Acts 1 & 2
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach
The key to healthy church ministry is that it is the CONTINUING ministry of Jesus. Acts is not just the acts of the apostles but the empowering continuing work of Jesus. We can’t create growth.
We can position ourselves close enough to Jesus to follow His Spirit and do what he tells us.
It’s about following Jesus. That’s job 1! And it takes the pressure off.
But if it was all about Jesus, every church would be growing.
Before Jesus does something through us he wants to do some things in us.
Jesus had prepared the disciples for what lay ahead.
After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
God wants to do some foundational stuff, he lets us be broken down before he builds up through us. So much is seasonal in how he prepares us, it’s cyclical. Be alert to the season you’re in – if there’s not fruit work showing, maybe there’s root work growing.
We need a harvest vision.
“you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Get that ahead of now vision. God gives leaders a grace to see ahead of time. And he is able to do more than we can expect or imagine – that’s confidence not presumption. And you make your plan based on THAT. You see the big vision ahead and work back from that.
At this year (25 celebration) Stuart Bell said ‘hear that founding word again.’ So they say they want to play their part to see the UK come back to God.
If you’re stuck, maybe it’s a vision issue. Get back with God
LOVE where you are. Love your Jerusalem. Unless you love the place, you’ll never love and reach the people.
Ask the Holy Spirit to do an experiment with you to break the barriers.
When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.
The suddenly of God’s Pentecost starts because of the preparation in prayer. Yonghi Cho was asked how he got that amazing growth: ‘I pray, and I obey.’
Prayer is core to who they are. It grows out of him.
Prayer is not a monologue but a dialogue and he has a lot more interesting things to tell me than I have to tell him.
However you look at church history, revivals worldwide etc. – you see that when people seriously get hold of God in prayer, fasting, things happen.
In Sept 99 they started a pattern of fasting across the church
3 days one month. 1 day the next month.
They have ‘Deep Night’ prayer meetings regularly – create an atmosphere of presence, break through. We have to get hold of prayer and that’s how we advance and are protected. Don’t just have crisis prayer.
The disciples were used to walking to the upper room to prayer. Never assume that people have got the basics.
Cf Willow’s Reveal.
Are the people getting built into regular daily Bible reading and prayer.
Right Leadership – and transitions
There was this strange thing that then took place about how they cast lots. Not the way we’d do it – but there’s something about leadership needing to be right before the Spirit gets poured out.
They had a forced leadership transition. But they said ‘we want someone who has our DNA, who’s been on the journey.
Some parts of the church in the world is it’s hire and fire.
Some parts of the church it’s family.
Both ways of doing it can be problematic.
We have to have a flexibility in our culture where some can be elevated and others not and it be okay and nobody throws their toys out.
Don’t get someone in because of their gift – have they got your DNA? Watch how much influence you give them.
His church was having an amazing time charismatically and spiritually, lying on the floor having a good time while lost people were staying well away.
The way they administered the moves of the Spirit were not furthering the work of the Spirit.
Look at Luke’s description of the work of the Spirit – it’s a prophetic empowerment for ministry, not lying down.
We have to think wisely about what we do and when.
We can learn to be attractive by being a little more attractional.
Roll on the floor before.
Maybe we don’t have to do everything in one service?
Have a deeper night regularly.
If they had not made those changes, they would never have got where they are – and they see MORE of the Holy Spirit moving and changing lives now and tangibly there – more than they ever did back then.
This is not diluting the gospel, but wise in the way we administer our Sunday service.
You don’t hear ‘My friend came in and was freaked out’
You do hear ‘My friend came in and just started weeping because they knew God is here.’
Have a swimming pool. A big shallow end and a deep end too. Don’t throw them all in at the deep end and expect them to swim! They call theirs ‘Touching Heaven.’
Most of what church does is aiming at the 20%. How do we reach the 80%
Nobody gets saved just because the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost . You can have lots of Holy Spirit meetings.
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.
Do the work of an evangelist.
Lean into specials like Christmas. Where a whole lot of people invite a whole lot of people…
Get people to come, and then keep them coming…
Carefully crafted sermon series are key to reaching and keeping people. Keep people on the journey, and build them into this kind of community…
Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were