Churches should grow. Not all churches will necessarily become mega-churches but all churches should grow both in spiritual depth and by reaching new people. Acts 2:41-47 shares the story of a growing church. In this church there were people who were hearing God’s word, believing, being baptized, giving to the needy and more. In other words, they were growing in spiritual depth.
Their spiritual growth prompted them to reach out into their community, and as they reached out we read that “God added to their numbers daily” (vs 47).
This process of people growing in spiritual depth resulting in them reaching out beyond the walls of their church and in turn God adding to their numbers daily is a continuous process by which the church grows. Vergil Gerber states that this process in Acts 2, “was a continuous process (‘being saved’) in which the church became both the goal and the agent of dynamic evangelism” (see his diagram above). In other words church growth is the goal, but also a growing and healthy church means that the church will continue to grow because it will produce individuals who are growing in their faith and reaching into their community and bringing new people to the church.
Some churches, however, do not grow. Somewhere the Acts 2 cycle gets broken. Perhaps they don’t teach the word and people don’t grow in spiritual depth. Perhaps the church doesn’t “fellowship well” and people feel uncomfortable inviting new people to come to church with them. Perhaps the church gets so inward focused that they fail to reach into their community at all. Whatever the reason, when one part of the cycle stops the whole cycle of church growth ceases. If churches are not growing they would be well served to look at Acts 2 and asking where system is broken down.