Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Church growth

Last month we were in Israel, for the umpteenth time :) It has been more than thirty years ago that we first set foot in that country. And yet, each time we go again we discover new places; villages, beaches, forests, parks and excavations that we skipped during previous visits.

This is so much like my travels through God's Word. I am currently reading, for the umpteenth time, through the book of Acts... and yet, I discover news things again. In chapter nine, verse 31 I read the following: Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

We have come to believe that the church grows best during times of persecution and crisis. This is a principle of all times and places. But here it clearly says that the church grew during a time of peace. So, that is a possibility we should not ignore. It seems to me a great encouragement for the church in the Western world. We do not have to wait for persecution in order to grow.

I have been reading many articles recently about a general decline in church membership. But something has to be wrong in the way we think. From a biblical point of view the number of believers can grow in a country where there is freedom of religion and peace. According to the above scripture there are only two conditions:
  • living in fear of the Lord, and
  • encouragement by the Holy Spirit
The NKJV says in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied. Well, that is surely good news for all churches decreasing in  numbers. Let's put aside our plans, ideas and strategies and designate a few (Sun)days for all members to fall on their knees and to cry out to the Holy Spirit to do His work.

I would love to hear good reports.


  1. Hi Marja
    Oh, this is a dream of my heart, to visit Israel. I read an article the other day about a new book (cannot remember the name). It is about this man who stopped attending church to find Jesus. And I relate. Church is where there is a unity of all members personally with God and together as a body. Dave Hunt wrote in is book, An Urgent Call For AvSerious Faith, that bible reading, church attendance, praying, singing, giving, doctrines, creeds etc. do not give us Eternal Life. It is ONLY, only when we receive the Life of Jesus in our hearts through grace and then live in His freedom from all these "laws". There might not be wrong per se, but doing them to earn eternal life and God's favor just puts us under new laws. Paul told us in Galatians that it is either law or grace, and they can never be mixed.
    Blessings XX

    1. Thank you for your comment Mia, maybe one day you will have a chance to go to Israel!

  2. Hi Marja -

    Amen! I think it must hurt God's heart when people declare the church can only grow during persecution. What does that say to Him: that we only seek Him when there's trouble?

    Thanks for bringing a more balanced perspective.

    Susan :)

    1. You have a way of wording it even better Susan... thanks!

  3. I have read a few of your posts today and love what you say about Acts and how to be devout. How wonderful that you have visited Israel! Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving your comments. I will be back!

    1. I am enjoying this journey through the book of Acts so much, it keeps giving me new insights and topics to write on :) Thanks for stopping by Terri.


Thanks for your visit, it is my hope and prayer that this post was an encouragement to you! Feel free to leave a comment.