Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.
Here are the topics that you will find:
- The Need for Strong Churches (Mike Vestal)
- Strength Through Adversity (Cody Westbrook)
- Through Fellowship (Kevin Rhodes)
- Through Worship (Wayne Jones)
- Through Preaching (Clay Bond)
- Through Love (Ross Haffner)
- Through Service (Johnie Scaggs, Jr)
Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.
You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.
Copyright © 2016 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.
GROWING A CHURCH GOD’S WAY
“Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God” (Colossians 2:18-19, NASB, emphasis mine, hf).
Having been a preacher of the gospel for some sixty years, and having served as a local minister for over forty years (but still busy preaching every week), I believe I have some qualifications to address the subject of church growth. Since I am a preacher, I will write primarily from the preacher’s viewpoint. Thus, what I say could be viewed as my philosophy of preaching and church growth. Continue reading
Church growth is the LORD’S business. “The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). Let not man assume control of the Lord’s business. “Church Growth” experts do not know as much as our Lord knows about who should be added to His church.
The church’s role in church growth is to preach the saving gospel to the lost. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). There we have Jesus’ own word for that. Since He is the saved’s Savior, He will know who should be a member of His church.
The church must focus on its role in saving the lost. Jesus Christ said, “Go.” The modern “progressive church” says, “Come.” To obey the Lord, the church must—
1. Love the lost. Jesus, our example, loved the sinner Zacchaeus of Jericho and invited Himself over to Zacchaeus’ house to spend the night. He converted Zacchaeus that night. Read about it in Luke 19:1-10.
2. Seek the lost. Jesus said, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Jesus had to leave His heavenly home to come into the world to save the lost. Why would we think we can reach the lost without going into the world? God forbid that we are on a “church growth” mission rather than a “soul-saving” mission.
3. Teach the lost. They may not know they are lost. It is easy to be lost in the woods and not know it. It is as easy to be lost in sin and not know it. As we would show the person lost in the woods the way out, we must show the person lost in sin the way out. Christ is the way. Social services will not do it, friend. Neither will polite pleasantries about nothings do it. The gospel is God’s power to save the lost (Romans 1:16). Let’s be sure it’s the gospel we’re preaching to the lost. – Mack Lyon
Mack Lyon, speaker for the successful television ministry In Search if the Lord’s Way, may be contacted through their website: http://www.searchtv.org/
Here’s a neat story called “A Growing Church” that was passed along to me in an email. The email originated with a brother named Dave Hart, but the illustration itself was marked as “Author Unknown” so I don’t have any other “credit” to pass along for it. Also, the word “bus fare” may be a little “dated” or “out-of-place” depending upon where you live but it can be updated or changed easily to make this a very applicable illustration for any congregation today when it comes to church growth and the importance of serving our brothers and sisters in the church:
An elder called on a member of the church for a social visit. The conversation turned to the work of the church. They talked of the progress that had been made and how the Lord had blessed their efforts through the past years. Yet both agreed that other things were needed.
“It seems to me,” said the member, “That the church is always needing something. Every time we meet, there is a plea for more giving and more workers.”
“You are right, my brother,” replied the elder. “The church is always needing something. I had a little boy who needed something. One week it was shoes, another clothes, then lunch money, bus fare, spending money. I thought he asked too much. He hasn’t asked for anything for years now. He quit needing anything from me. You see, he died one night. And there are times when I would give anything to hear him ask for something just once more. I realized after it was too late, how much happiness I found, even in his begging. Perhaps you have never missed the church. It has always been there when you needed it, and you have taken it for granted. Frankly I confess I did not know how little I did for my son until it was too late.
So it is with the church. As long as the church stands, it will have needs. When it quits needing something, it will be dead. A dead church cannot offer a living hope to a dying world. The church that has no needs fills none.”
This just in from our good brother José Antonio in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil (my translation):
My student from the city of Itaberaba, Bahia state, requested we go there and said that he has many people interested in the truth. He also said that he has been a city councilman for a long time and the people there respect him a lot, since he never mixes politics with his religion where he serves as a deacon. I am planning a trip there next week, where we will teach them, and since he asked for the true baptism, with others there, I will try to start a church there also, and plan several trips there to teach them. The distance is almost 300 km, I will leave material there. Pray for this trip also.
This article hit a nerve, apparently, because it’s by far the most popular on my personal website over the past 30 days, and it’s been up only 12 days. “Why the church stops growing” is my take on recent news of church losses. It’s gotten amens and condemnations.
A hand pump, like we had on our back porch
Another little poem’s up on the Christian Poets website, “Thought, Deed, and Motive.” I thank John H. for his TFR plug of the last one. No poem was planned for today, but sometimes they just pop out. A statement here, a rhythmic line there, and off goes the mind to register its flow.
• Its’ called priming the pump. Probably nobody under 50 knows what that means, has ever poured the last bit of precious water into a hand pump to draw the cool liquid from the depths of the cistern.
For me, priming the pump is reading broadly, wildly, even. Finding a phrase to match the mood, to strike the match to catch a flame.
Oops, I switched metaphors on you. But what’s a metaphor for, if not to use and drop and swap?
• Let me get on my soapbox for a minute. Unlike churches, religious institutions are often self-perpetuating, with their “development” departments to raise funds and provide a constant stream of income. That’s why they’re especially dangerous, with their tendency to stray from their original purpose and compromise their commitment to truth. I’ve found them to be like presidential candidates: they show lots of promise, but ultimately disappoint. Continue reading