Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Secret to Sustained Church Growth

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.… And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.  (Acts 2:42, 47)

From the start of the New Testament church there is worship.  God is speaking (through the Apostles’ teaching) and believers are listening.  God is giving his gifts (through the breaking of the bread) and believers are receiving gifts.… They have gathered around “the apostle’s teaching,” and “the breaking of bread” (as well as baptism, see Acts 2:38-41), corporate “fellowship,” and “the prayers.”  God comes to them and they respond with faith and devotion, not to mention a little bit of “awe” and service to those in “need.”  From the start we see there was worship, witness, and service to neighbors.

But there’s something else very intriguing about this worship.  It appears that it facilitated the incorporation of new believers into the community of saints.  And even more, implicit in this worship was the presence of the outreach going on among the “fellowship” of believers.  When “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved,” it implies that those who were “added to their number” were added through nothing other than the means which the believers had devoted themselves to—“the apostles’ teaching … the fellowship … the breaking of bread and … the prayers.”

Lucas Woodford, Great Commission, Great Confusion, or Great Confession?, 183-4

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