How to Grow a Church Biblically and Trust The Lord

By lan Warner

One of the dangers of the church today is that people are always trying to find out how to grow a church but often look anywhere but the Bible. It doesn’t make sense that we know that the church belongs to God, but we look to business, the world, and many other places to figure out how to grow the church instead of looking to what scripture says first. If you want to know how to develop a church biblically, start with God’s word and don’t look any further until you do what the word of God says.

What Do People Get Wrong When Seeking How to Grow a Church Biblically?

More People Does Not Equal Better Church

The problem with humans is that we assume if everyone is doing it, then it must be a good thing. This is how I lost my virginity and entered a lot of sexual sin in high school. I saw everyone was doing it and figured it was a good thing, and later did; I found out that God’s way is better than mine. We take this into everything we do! If everyone is watching a movie or an event, we assume it’s good, and we rarely measure it up to the standards God has set.

When it comes to churches, this same thing gets people. They come to a church and look at how many others are going. How good is the parking for the church? Do people think the preacher is good, and then people start attending? It’s rare that people look to the Bible and start from where God wants his churches to be. There is nowhere that says God demands his churches be massive. More people does not mean more success.

The prosperity Gospel has multiplied in the USA because it tickles people’s ears. It lets people know that if they give more money to the church, God will reward them financially. But unfortunately, it’s a false Gospel that makes people believe that God wants them to be wealthy and healthy all their lives. It sounds excellent, and it pulls many people away from the truth.

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. 

There is No Seeker Church

The who seeker movement is a joke. Not because all seeker churches are bad, but because all churches should be places where people who don’t know the Lord should be able to come. But in the same respect, that does not mean you should bend an entire church to feeding new people and not provide real food for the more mature people.

Hebrews 5: 11 – 14

We have much to say about this, which is hard to explain since you have become dull of hearing. Though by this time, you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

When you think you have to water the Gospel down, it comes from a lack of faith that the Word of God is not enough to turn or change hearts. Instead, you can preach the word in a way that feeds people with real food while allowing others to get the drops of spiritual milk to keep coming back.
To say you have a church defined explicitly for people seeking Christ makes no sense. Churches should have both mature Christians being fed as well as new Christians.

God May Have Different Plans

People often don’t consider that God has a plan to have small churches too. Not everyone wants to walk into a church with 2000 people in one service. Some people want to go to churches with less than 100 people where everyone knows everyone. There is nothing wrong with this and is probably a more realistic picture of what the first churches looked like in biblical times when people gathered in homes to break bread and worship.

What is better? A church that has 2000 people or a church that has 100 people and plants five churches? I would say that it’s the one that is continuing to replicate itself and reach people in more areas. A church is not healthy until it can repeat itself. When you think about most of the Apostle Pauls’s letters, he writes them to churches with conflicts. He knows the conflicts will get the church’s way from fulfilling the great commissions. You can’t be disciples of all nations if you are fighting with your church body.

How to Grow a Church Biblically

All Good Things Come From God

James 1:17

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

If your church flourishes in any way, it will come from God. It’s not going to be because of what you do; it’s going to be because of God blessing you. You can’t start this conversation any other place than here. If you do, then the church will grow because of great music or fantastic preaching.

If it comes from God, it means your church is where it needs to be. If we are doing the things God has called us to do, which we will discuss in the next point, then we trust God to do what he does best. There is no biblical mandate that all churches grow to be massive mega-churches. However, that does not mean a church with 50 people is doing something wrong.

Don’t Forget What The Church Is When Seeking How to Grow a Church

1 Corinthians 11:26 

As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Matthew 18:20 

20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

What do churches need to do according to the Bible?

  1. Gather
  2. Worship (not limited to music)
  3. Preach the word
  4. Sacraments

The church is the people of God gathering together in the presence of God. The church represents the body of Christ. Jesus died for his church, and it is his beloved bride. When people are gathered together in the presence of God, we have the opportunity to worship God. Worship is not just a signing song but a form of worship. Everything we do that glorifies God can be a form of worship. We are in our rightful place when we worship his name.

The church also needs to preach the Word of God faithfully. We will discuss this a bit more in the next point, but preaching is a part of the church. Hearing the word regularly is a part of the church. You can read the Bible at home, but we still need to come together to be encouraged by the word of God. Then last but not least, you have the sacraments. Depending on the domination, this list can be different, but some of the main ones include confession, baptisms, and communion.

If a church is focusing on doing what the Bible calls churches to do well, then they will glorify God, which is what matters. Location matters so much for growth. For example, if a church does all those things well, but every person in their town already goes to church there, then there is not much that can be done. Unless more people move there, the church will not grow. In bigger cities, there are more people, but there are often many more churches.

Preach The Word In Full

Expository preaching is another sign of a healthy church. Expository preaching helps a church to teach the Bible in full. When you teach through a book and go line by line, you are not ducking and dodging complex parts of the Bible. Every preacher has their favorite topics and their favorite verses. If people are not careful, you can teach them things you like. Expository preaching forces you to dive into some biblical theology and showcase God’s overarching story.

This does not mean a church can never do a topical series to help its congregation move forward through a particular thing that the body is struggling with. What it does mean is that your go-to should be expository preaching the majority of the time. Churches should not look to ticket ears and teach what people want to hear. Churches should want to bless people with God’s entire word.

Hospitality is a Must

Hebrews 13:1-2 “Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. 2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!”

Churches have to get hospitality right if they want to grow. Finding a new church can be complicated and awkward, and you never know what to expect. We are called ambassadors of Christ to make strangers feel welcomed. Jesus was an expert at making random people who came up to him feel loved. When people walk into churches, they should handle this, but sadly, they often don’t. They feel like they are not welcomed and have no idea how things work or where they should go.

If you want to be a church that grows, focus on being as hospitable and welcoming as possible when people walk up to your doors. If you make people feel loved and known, they will keep coming back for that alone. There are not many places we go in life where we feel known.

Serving Changes Everything When Figuring Out How to Grow a Church

One reason can often be a lack of service when people have been attending a church for a long time but don’t feel known. Serving is one of the quickest ways to gain your tribe of people. It puts you in a position where you have to roll up your sleeves and work with someone, creating almost immediate bonds with people. When you have those bonds, you suddenly have people you love coming to church to see.

Serving also helps people get out of feeling like the church is just something they come to gain from. The church is much more than sitting down and getting. The Bible tells us that giving is better than receiving, so we also expect this to be true in his church. When we give what God has given to us to others, it changes everything. We start feeling a part of his church instead of just being audience members. Churches that do well have committed followers of Christ ready to make disciples.

Steward God’s Money Well

One crucial point in all of this is that God’s money needs to be managed well. You can do all of the above rights and have one sinner mismanage all of the money and it will bring the whole church down.

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