The quick, simple answer to the title of this article is, “You cannot.” Only God can grow His church. However, there are features you can undertake to improve The Holy Spirit’s work in and through your church. Using what Gene Mims termed as the 1-5-4 Principle, let me attempt to briefly address how church health leads to healthy growth.
God’s directive to us is the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). We carry this out through five functions of our ministries – Evangelism, Discipleship, Fellowship, Ministry, and Worship. When we have the Great Commission as our sole driving force and we work through the five functions of the church, we will see four areas of kingdom results.
At the time of rebirth or spiritual salvation, we receive a complete transformation. However, at that point we also begin a life-long process of transformation: A transformation to Christ likeness – being like Christ. In Sunday School and other small group Bible study classes, we study to learn the attributes and characteristics of living a Christ-like life. Studying in small groups with other believers helps us in the assimilation of Christ-like characteristics and assists us in processing and understanding Christian values through the support and testimony of one another. Through small groups, spiritual maturation comes to the individual and to the body as a whole.
As we grow spiritually, individuals and corporately, (as mentioned above) we realize the need for ministry expansion. As we study and grow deeper in Christ-like characteristics, God reveals to us missing ministry opportunities – new doors to ministry openings. Things like ministering to shut-ins, the need for more Bible study classes, better relationship building opportunities within the church family, etc. As we grow and spiritually mature, we not only see the needs, but people have a tendency to gravitate to the ministry opportunities where they have a passion to see improvement or to assist.
The next supernatural progression as we grow spiritually and we are expanding our ministries is people become aware of the need to be mission oriented. Missions is ministry outside the walls and family of the church. Ministries of the church endorse and support missions through the promotion of missions giving and providing opportunities for mission engagement on one or all three levels of missions – local, national, and international.
I believe if a church is healthy and actively pursuing the natural progression of the first three areas of results, numerical growth will be an automatic bi-product. However, that does not say that we should leave it to happen automatically. Numerical growth will happen because of the 1) spiritual growth, the more I learn about and experience God’s love, the more I want to tell others 2) ministry expansion, as God provides more ministry opportunities, the more I realize I know people who could benefit from these opportunities, and 3) mission’s awareness, as we share outside the confines of the church walls people come to Christ through our expression of God’s love.
How can you assist in improving the health of your church? In each of these four areas, how can you improve your act of service to God Almighty?