The longer Paul waited in Athens for Silas and Timothy, the angrier he got—all those idols! The city was a junkyard of idols. Last night I was having my study time, and came across this passage of scripture. I read this whole chapter and realized that Paul was a real strategists. He may not have proactively thought through his strategy, the Bible doesn’t tell us, it just records what he did. If you look at what he did you will find an interesting strategy for church growth, church planting, and the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It started with him getting mad.
It says, the longer he waited the more angry he became. He was passionate about the need for religious clarity. He was angry that these people were serving mere idols when all they needed was to know Jesus, to be informed. His anger moved him to action. His action however was not some arbitrary attempt at spiritual exercise that made him feel good about himself but did very little good for the kingdom or the people who so desperately need the truth. His action was purposed, clear, and effective. If you are planting a church, leading a church, or trying to grow a church this is a great blog for you.
How to make the church stronger in faith and larger in number.
1. Get mad (passionate) about the community you are in.
I don’t believe that God always sends people to a specific place, but to a specific purpose. Sometimes He clearly does send people to a specific place. Whether he mandates the place or not, one thing is certain. If you will grow a church in your community, you must be passionate about that community. Do you know your community? What are its successes or failures? What are its accomplishments or conflicts? What are the needs and demographics. Be passionate about it and get a revelation of the churches role in that community. Don’t find yourself answering questions no one is asking. Know the community and be a solution.
2. Gather Like minded leaders around you and talk about your vision to bring change or help.
Partner with other church leaders in the community, and your own top level leaders to gather around the same cause. Sharing the Gospel, helping the community, disseminating the truth.
3. Emmerse yourself in your community daily.
Teach your team and you yourself get to know the people and heartbeat of your city. This passage says that paul went out into the streets daily and got in discussions with people who happened along. Meaning he was friendly, connected, helpful, straightforward.
4. Build relationships with community leaders and people outside your church.
Through the discussions Paul was having he built relationships with people. Some people didn’t want to have anything to do with him, but others were interested in what He had to say. His relationships grew until they invited him into their circle. Gain influence with others to the degree that they will listen to you.
5. Research and study your community to the point you can speak intelligently about it and relate to them.
Paul talked to them using their thinking, their philosophers to relate to them and draw them around to his point. Remember Paul was driven by a passion for their souls, not by a need to be right, or prove anything.
6. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Paul did not beat around the bush or try to hide the fact that He was Christian and that was his purpose. When we are so mysterious about our agenda and what we are trying to do, it comes across inauthentic and is very off putting. We are in the community to help, to contribute, to love, but most importantly and primarily to share the Love and Grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Don’t sneak up on people, just be who you are.
So I can hear people now saying, what is so important about growing the church , we just need to share the love of Jesus and see what happens. Well lest you think that paul was not promoting growth, or being strategic about it, please hear this scripture. Acts 16:4-5 (MSG) As they traveled from town to town, they presented the simple guidelines the Jerusalem apostles and leaders had come up with. That turned out to be most helpful. Day after day the congregations became stronger in faith and larger in size.
God is all about growing the church spiritually and numerically and He is very strategic about it.