Growth is a major part of life. All parents are happy to have a part in their children’s growth. Stunted growth is unhealthy. It is so in the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of a person. Each of us ought to strive to grow healthily in every aspect.
The principle of growth is true also of the spiritual realm. The Lord wants His church to grow. A growing church is a healthy church. There are three areas in church life, broadly speaking: spreading the gospel, helping the needy and building up the family of God. All three are important to our growth as a church.
Committees are formed in a local church to plan and carry out activities. These activities are not planned for the sake of keeping us occupied; rather, they are efforts to help the church grow together in these three indispensable areas of our church life.
Most of us can quote the Great Commission texts of Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-16. Well and good. The local church has plans and activities to help the members to carry out the Great Commission. From training on how to discuss the Bible with others to door-knocking and tract distribution amongst others, we can all participate in the work of reaching out to the lost.
Helping the needy and downtrodden is a work our Lord wants His church to be active in. The saints care for one another, yes, and we care for others too. In our community and among our circle of friends and acquaintances, we learn every now and then of those who need relief from various burdens.
“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10).
Again, the local church will have plans and activities lined up for her members to get their hands on. The church is placed in a unique position to provide help for those who genuinely need it. We can provide counseling for the troubled, care and visitation for the sick, encouragement for the discouraged, a listening ear for the frustrated, etc.
Why do we do that? Because we are children of our heavenly Father. And He wants us to shine. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Mat 5:16).
We want people to know that the church is a community of like-minded folks who are not self-absorbed but caring. We do not live isolated on the mountain top of our spirituality but come down to the valley to serve as Jesus served.
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (Jas 1:27).
While we tell others of Jesus and His Kingdom and serve the needy among us, we also take care of our spiritual needs. The members of God’s family help each other to grow.
“Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church” (1Co 14:12). For all the spiritual gifts they might have by the laying on of Paul’s hands, the Corinthian Christians were told that the purpose of these gifts is the edifying of the church.
When the Lord’s church assembles, let us remember this important point: “Let all things be done unto edifying” (1Co 14:26). What we do when we gather for fellowship, for study and even for worship is to build up one another in the Lord. No one is an island. To grow, I need my brethren to support me just as I must be ready to support them.
In the family of God, we have a wide assortment of personalities. Each comes with his and her own strengths and weaknesses. Friction occasionally happens as a result. What then? The Bible says: “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification” (Rom 15:1-2).
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1Co 15:58).
It is the will of our Lord that His church grows in strength and remains steadfastly unmovable. A strong church abounds in the work of the Lord. The great motivation for us to strive in growth is in knowing that our God sees us and our efforts in His name. Our labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Like the saying, “Solid as the Rock of Gibraltar” is used to describe a person who cannot be overcome by adverse circumstances; a strong church by standing fast in the faith cannot be moved by false doctrines and worldly allurements.
We can only be as strong as we desire to be. And we must be willing to pay our dues to be strong.
The church must grow. The individual members must grow. To grow, we need to support and encourage one another. To grow, we need to be actively involved in the study of the Word and the work of the church. No one grows by proxy. I cannot do it for you and you cannot do it for me.
Let the church grow together in the Lord.