Reverse Church Growth
Earlier last week I found myself studying through Acts 2:41-47 and I noticed something very interesting about the beginnings of the church:
“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:41-47
Did you notice the word “added” at the beginning and end of this section? The church started off with a bang growing by leaps and bounds. Churches all across the country hope for the same kind of growth.
In order to do so we develop all sorts of events and programs in the hopes that we’ll see just a sliver of the growth that the church saw in its earliest days, but few churches ever really see this kind of growth. The reason for that is because they practice what I’m calling Reverse Church Growth. Reverse Church Growth is where we hold up the numbers as the goal and then develop plans, programs, and ministries to try and get the most people in the doors. This is not what we read about here.
In the verses between 2:41 and 2:47 we see why the early church grew. They studied together, ate together, prayed together, spent time in fellowship together, believed together, and shared together. They didn’t have ministries for feeding and sharing, they just did it and the growth followed. If we want to see growth in the church today, it starts and ends with us living like the church in Acts 2.