by Robert J. Young
Not long ago, in an assembly of preachers, a man who preaches for a fast growing congregation of several thousand was asked to share what the church was doing to promote such growth. Every preacher whipped out his pen ready to take notes of every fantastic program and idea that made this large church tick.
A very unexpected answer was forthcoming. The speaker said, "We have organized no programs, no promotions, no drives, no advertising, no buses."
In stunned amazement someone suggested that the preacher surely must do a lot of personal evangelism. Again the group was surprised when he said, "I do very little visiting. My time, at least most of it, is spent in studying for my classes and sermons. In fact, of the 50 persons baptized last year, I only worked with two of them."
By this time you may be wondering, as was I, the secret of their success...really it was very simple and very biblical. They feel it is wrong to organize programs and then shove and press people into them. Instead they believe in the priesthood of all believers and leave Christians free to develop their own ministries. They work on the principle that each one has a gift from God and that he ought to develop a work around that gift involving those of like interest.
Oh, yes, they do have a lot of work going on, but it is developed in a spontaneous way by the members themselves. Most of the growth has come through neighborhood Bible studies where members invite a few people into their home for Bible study. They select a book and go through it. Many such groups are now in progress.
This concept gets back to a strong tradition of how church work is done. It gets back to a biblical model and most important it works practically.
No one has to wait around for someone to start a project and put a deacon or elder or preacher in charge. We know our gifts (or if we don't we ought to study diligently Romans 12:1-8, and other related New Testament passages). Allow the Lord to use you and the church will grow.
©, 2001, Robert J. Young - adapted from materials by Robert Humphries
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