christian mysticism This is the quantitative and qualitative development of the church. It is different from ‘swelling’ which is common and dangerous in the contemporary church. The African Church is dismissed as a mile wide and an inch deep which implies that other parameters other than numbers account for church growth. Church growth could also be seen as an application of Biblical, anthropological, and sociological principles to congregations, denominations and their communities in an effort to disciple the greatest number of people for Jesus Christ. Believing that it is God’s will that His Church should grow and His lost children be found, church growth endeavors to devise strategies, develop objectives and apply tested principles of growth to individual congregations, denominations and the worldwide body of Christ.
Church Growth Eyes: This is a characteristic of Christians who have achieved an ability to see the possibilities for growth and to apply appropriate strategies to gain maximum results for Christ and His church.
Church Growth Principle: According to McGavran and Ann, this is “a universal truth which, when properly interpreted and applied, contributes significantly to the growth of churches and denominations. It is a truth of God which leads his church to spread his Good News, plant church after church, and increase his body”(1977, p.15).
1. Prayer or Spiritual Warfare
Prayer is indispensable to church growth. John Stott comments that following Jesus’ ascension, the prayers of the disciples had two characteristics which “are two essentials of true prayer, namely that they persevered, and were of one mind” (1990, 10). The principle of unified prayer, or prayer with one mind and purpose, is a thread that runs throughout Acts. Luke’s initial description of the 120 (1:5) shows that they followed Christ’s command to wait for the Holy Spirit by obediently praying as a group WITH ONE MIND. See also Acts 4:18 (Sanhedrin); Acts 12:5 (Herod); Acts 11:11 (Peter’s rescue).
2. A clear and unique vision
In the King James Version, Proverbs 29:18 is rendered, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. Vision is God’s dream of what he wants to accomplish in and through our lives and the lives of our churches. Several churches have vision statements they never use. What God blesses with success in one place is not necessarily His plan for any other. Every growing church has a sense of unique vision and purpose – a clear sense of direction. The church planter and the laity share a common vision for what God wants that church to accomplish. In most cases, the church planter and the people can clearly describe and articulate their vision. This gives the people a sense of direction. They are moving toward an objective. They are not merely existing.
A vigorous growing church is catalyzed by dynamic leadership that draws the entire church into action. For the church planter to function as a good leader, s/he must have certain specific character qualities and carry out certain specific leadership responsibilities. The church planter must truly desire growth for the church and must be willing to pay the price in hard work. The leadership must lead the work to organize the mission, set goals, develop plans, and mobilize the people to accomplishment. S/he must be creative, innovative, and assertive with regard to the vision and mission God has for His work.
4. The recognition and importance of the laity
The people of the work must be equipped to discover and use their gifts. They must be ready to assume new responsibilities and willingly hand over various leadership positions to other new people as the church continues to grow or expand.
5. Strategic Planning
The idea is to develop ongoing strategies that will help achieve the mission of the church. These should move the church toward realizing the accomplishment of its vision. With specific instructions from the Saviour, the apostles established a strategy to reach Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Nehemiah positioned his people in areas of interests. Paul went to the synagogue and then the agora which was both a market place and centre of public life (Acts 7:17). A good church website can help your church to grow. Unfortunately there is an on-going war in this technological age: Technophilia vs. Technophobia. Many Rip Van Wrinkles exist in contemporary times. Several church leaders are yet to realize potential of a website for church growth. Yet a church website, specifically designed to reach outsiders, integrated with other appropriate outreach strategies, could be a major key to drawing non-Christians to your church.