By Johnie Edwards
The Sunday Herald Times had an article concerning church growth in the April 19, 1992 issue. I would like for you to just see what most churches are using to promote attendance and growth.
1. Some churches of Christ: “Morgan Street church of Christ in Martinsville has replaced revivals with educational meetings, and sponsored a film series on how to deal with family crisis.” Did you ever read where New Testament churches ever did a thing like this? I do read about them “sounding out the word” (1 Thess. 1:8).
2. First Presbyterian: “First Presbyterian Church in Bloomington has started volley-ball and softball teams, a young mother’s group, a men’s breakfast group, and bring-a-friend Sunday.” Didn’t the apostle Paul say that the power to save is the “gospel” (Rom. 1:16)?
3. Shiloh Temple: “Shiloh Temple, near Lake Monroe, has started a big brothers/big sisters program, sponsors outdoor concerts, and plans a new building with a gymnasium and lighting for theatrical productions.” Paul wrote the Romans, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink: but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17).
4. First United Methodist: “First United Methodist Church in Bloomington, is offering shorter-term Bible study groups at a variety of times, started a Christian Cookie Corps that delivers cookies to first-time attenders, and uses more story-telling in sermons to make them meaningful.” Sounds more like a “welcome-wagon” than a church! What do you think?
5. Sherwood Oaks Christian: “At Sherwood Oaks Christian Church . . . offers a cafeteria menu of more than 30 committees. They include athletics, property upkeep, sound equipment and lighting, homebound visitation,. big brothers/big sisters, communion and baptism, anti-abortion efforts, drama presentations, evangelism and outreach, finances, hosting international students, and music.” Jesus instructed the apostle to “go teach, baptize” and teach folks to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19).
6. New Testament Churches: New Testament churches grew when: (1) The gospel was preached (Acts 8:4-13); (2) When discipline was exercised (Acts 5:1-14); (3) When the church did its work (Acts 6:1-7); (4) When the church was at peace (Acts 9:31); (5) When Christians were persecuted (Acts 12:1-24); (6) When the decrees of God were declared (Acts 16:1-5). If we expect the church to grow and be strong spiritually, we must get back to this work as was done in New Testament times. Men are drawn to God when the word of God is preached (Jn. 6:44-45).
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 14, pp. 417, 439
July 16, 1992