This week we conclude our sermon series: “Growth Check”. Preaching from Nathan Gordon. Service led by Terri Whiston.
Today marks the final segment in our 3-part series concerning our local church vision – Spiritual, Relational, and numerical growth. From the outset, you may be thinking it’s a no-brainer that we should be praying and seeking for numerical growth in the church. More new Christians, the baptismal pool in regular action, and more new members added to the roll – happy days!
However, this morning we are going to look at the biblical model for growing in number, in particular healthy and unhealthy motives for seeking numerical growth in the church.
One would think that [persecution] would be an obstacle to church growth when joining the church meant a death sentence. And yet, the age of persecution was the greatest period of church growth in history.Gene Veith
Context of 1 Corinthians 9
- Paul opens chapter 9 by listing his apostolic rights in the church of Jesus Christ. (Some Corinthians were questioning Paul’s authority)
- Paul defends the right of those who serve the Lord in full-time ministry to receive financial support (v6-13)
- Paul shares that he did not make full use of his rights – (v15)
- The reward of preaching and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ surpassed any object of material gain for Paul (v16-18)
Key link to verses 19-23 = Paul expressed a clear conscience and pure motive for sharing the Gospel. It was not about enlarging the kingdom of Paul; it was about advancing the kingdom of God!
So, should the church of today be concerned about the numbers? – YES because Jesus demonstrated his concern for every soul…..however we must ensure our motives are correct for seeking numerical growth.
- Tailored growth for preferences
- More money for the church
- To boast of the biggest church in town (Competition)
- Personal achievements in soul-winning
- To manipulate and control people
- To fulfil the great commission
- To glorify God and decrease the impact of Satan on the world
- More opportunities to care for people (People, not statistics)
- Greater impact and influence within the local community for Christ
- To reach and welcome all people
- Read I Corinth 9:1-14. What is Paul getting at when he talks about surrendering our rights? What rights do you have that you are willing to give up?
- Read 1 Corinthians 9:16. In this passage we see that Paul is compelled to preach the gospel. Should this compelling to preach or share the gospel be limited to leaders of the church or all Christians? Discuss how this is reflected in the congregation today.
- Read vs.19-23 When we talk about rearranging our lives for the sake of the gospel, give an example of what that looks like for you.
- What is your greatest roadblock to “becoming all things to all people so that by all possible means save some”? Is it time? Fear? Embarrassment? Lack of training or study?
- Does having the right motives towards the gospel always result in numerical growth in the church? discuss your reasons.