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8 Ways the Assemblies Can Grow in 2016

8 Ways the Assemblies Can Grow in 2016
Jan 01 Tags: church growth | 13 Responses Print Save as PDF

Since starting assemblyHUB just over a year ago we have received dozens of emails, Facebook messages and even phone calls from believers all over North America.  The majority have been telling us of their situations and how the Lord is working.  There is a growing excitement building and the Holy Spirit is moving among his people.

As we look to a new year ahead here are 8 ways we see the assemblies moving forward and making progress.  There may be many more but these are the main points.  We pray that these become a vital part of every assembly in 2016.

  1. Urgency to pray. Believers are getting together to pray in ways we haven’t seen in decades. These are prayers for revival and growth in our assemblies. They are happening in homes and assembly buildings; in groups of men and women, young and old, seasoned Christians and young in the faith.  Assemblies who go beyond the traditional “mid-week prayer meeting” and cultivate a dependency on prayer will grow as prayer changes lives. See Acts 4:31.
  2. Desire for fresh Bible Study.  One of the most exciting ways the Spirit is moving is in hearts of men and women who are engaged in digging into the Word of God.  There is a desire to listen to the Spirit speaking without preconceived ideas.  Young people want reality when it comes to the application of the Word. They want to ensure their Christian lives are guided by Scripture and not the teachings of men. This is fundamental to growth as only the Spirit through the Word of God can move the hearts of his people.  See Acts 5:42 and Acts 19:9-10
  3. Rediscovering biblical shepherding.  The next generation of leaders are being raised with true shepherding in mind. This type of leadership is more about relationships than it is about programs and administration. Getting back to the true model, our great Shepherd, reveals a dynamic, selfless and powerful leadership model to follow.  The assemblies need leaders who will submit themselves to the will of the Spirit and be open to follow whatever path he takes each assembly. This will take courage to move forward and not be tied to the past. See 1 Peter 5:1-4.
  4. More than just doing church. The idea of biblical fellowship has been lost in many assemblies.  In many ways assemblies can become well-oiled machines following a robotic schedule. The adherence to meetings has become in many places the standard of spirituality, yet little is done as a church at any other time. Assemblies that take fellowship outside of the assembly’s 4 walls will grow as people become more involved in each other’s lives. See Acts 2:46-47.
  5. Evangelism that relates.  Evangelism is key to growth. Some assemblies haven’t seen anyone saved in years.  Assemblies that engage the lost where they are and present the gospel in a relevant way will see growth. It’s not just a matter of preaching the gospel and patting ourselves on the back. It’s about being intentional about how we present it.  The ones who sow and water do so with purpose and not just carelessly. We see this both exampled in the Lord and the apostle Paul. Does the Lord expect us to see men and women saved and discipled? Yes, and we should too. Let’s make it happen in 2016.  See Acts 8:4.
  6. Opening up discussions. Many assemblies are hurting and some are even ready to shut down.  In some places, the exodus of young families has been devastating.  Assemblies that are willing to recognize the need for discussion and engage the young families and young people can reverse the trend.  Elders who open up the discussion and really listen can do great things in 2016! See Ephesians 4:15-16
  7. Willingness to change.  A refusal to change has sent many young people away from the assemblies. There is, however, a growing number of assemblies who recognize this and are embracing New Testament principles in a fresh and relevant way that engages young men and women instead of creating division. Elders who are willing to let go of past traditions and apply New Testament principles in a current and relevant way can see a new vitality in their assembly.  See Mark 7:8-9.
  8. Lay down the weapons. The church has been divided for centuries. The way Christians have treated each other has put a dark stain on the name of Christ.  Strife and wars are abundant. Judging, critical spirits, selfishness and pride, bitterness and jealousies are used as weapons by some believers to beat down those who do not agree with them.  Maybe more than anything we need a fresh glimpse of the Saviour who fought the fight to bring us together into ONE body, HIS body.  He hates division. He hates when his children fight against each other.  It’s time for us to lay down our weapons and come together to represent his character of love, grace, forgiveness, goodness and kindness.  See Ephesians 4:31-32.

Obviously in a short article like this more needs to be said to fully develop these thoughts. These are meant to get discussions going within your assembly. What areas need improving or changed? What is your assembly’s vision for growth?

Together with the leading of the Spirit, our assemblies can change our families and communities. We can make an impact on the lives of those who are part of our local fellowships and those who are searching for a Savior.

May 2016 be a year of blessing and growth in your assembly!

Crawford Paul

Crawford is an elder at Thorold South Gospel Chapel in Ontario and has a passion for the assemblies. He and his wife Beth serve in various ways within the assembly to build up and encourage the believers. He is president of Believers Stewardship Services Canada, an organization focused on helping individual Christians, local churches and Christian organizations with financial, legal and governance matters. Check it out at bsscanada.org

13 Responses to 8 Ways the Assemblies Can Grow in 2016

  1. This is SO good! Every point. Prayer, Bible study, evangelism, fellowship, discussion, change. May it be so!

  2. David

    You could be speaking about and to the assemblies in New Zealand. We face the same issues here and your thoughts speak into our needs too. There are 180+ asseblies across this land and we see a real need for conenction and unity in our autonomy. I received your article from a friend via FB. Rich blessings

  3. Greg Goebel

    Some of this also fosters discontent dear brother. You are posting opinions (some good, some not so good) and tacking on a scripture reference at the end that may or may not apply. I almost wish you’d stop posting things. Post what changes you want, and what it means to open discussions (women speaking?) and be more specific. These generalizations are used by some less mature ones to foster their discontent and other things. This is not a scriptural pattern. Its the same thing I saw with your elder criticism. Dear brother, I almost wish you’d stop posting altogether.

    • Hanniel Ghezzi

      I don’t see any hidden agenda, brother Greg. If anything, AssemblyHUB’s agenda has been quite open since its inception, e.g. How to approach mental illness and more recently, Are we open to changing our hymn selection? Our Lord was grieved by the legalism of His day, specifically confusing man’s traditions with God’s commandments (Matt. 15:9; Mk. 7:7). In a similar manner, I think AssemblyHUB is asking, Are we being truly biblical or merely traditional?

      It’s rather brave of the author to be even discussing the possible negative traits of elders when he’s an elder himself. By doing so, he’s declaring that he’s not above criticism.

      I think the fact that this discussion even exists is healthy, but do you really think that implying that the author is suggesting that women speak in the church is healthy when he didn’t make that suggestion at all?

    • Barry Morris

      True believers are not afraid of questions. You are.

    • William Wallace

      Greg, I’m curious as to which points you disagree with/you think are unbiblical.

    • David Donehoo

      I agree with you brother Greg concerning one thing; it’s easy to criticize and say we need change but I’m very curious as to what sort of change he advocates. I would also point out that simply because a Church is large and growing does not mean it is fulfilling God’s purpose or that because one is small it is not. Many small Assemblies have had a greater impact on world wide evangelism than many large ones. A lot of Churches offer gimmicks to attract young people. Including entertainment, rock style praise bands, coffee shops, day care, gyms, sports teams, etc., etc. But if they ever eliminate whatever it is that attracts a certain group of people, they find that those people quickly disappear also. If you’re coming to Church to be entertained or to receive some other selfish benefit you’re coming for the wrong reason. Church is a place Christians come to worship God and serve, not be entertained and be served.

      • M van Heer

        I commend the author for having the courage and perseverance to write this article. It is much easier to simply walk away from a struggling community of believers than to take the time to pen these points.

        Your point that “elders who open up and really listen can do great things in 2016” brings to mind the story of a certain well respected leader who not only listened to the feedback to another of much lesser status than himself. He actually took his feedback. That leader was Moses. He listened to Jethro’s feedback.

        The need for point #8 is only underscored by some comments criticizing churches that choose to worship in ways that are different to one’s own. The assumption being that “gimmicks” equals inferiority, “unchristian” or lacking service. Oddly enough, the critic fails to recognize that these “gimmicks” take a great deal of work and service to set up and run. And what does it matter at the end of the day? If one has to bake a thousand pies or set up fifty rock bands or serve a thousand cups of coffee? If that is what it takes to get someone’s attention long enough to introduce them to Christ, then it’s worth it! We’d do well to remember Paul’s words ‘I will become all things to all men that by some means I might save a few.’

        Now are some people simply there for the gimmicks? Indeed. However, every church has some folks who are there simply because they are “going through the motions” regardless of whether the church has a rock band or a bunch of sisters who bake some pretty awesome pies!

        It’s really sad to see Christians criticizing other Christians for how they choose to reach the lost. It’s a silly thing to assume that evangelism is a singularly defined process when the Lord himself demonstrated such diversity in engaging individuals. How can it be wise to criticize a brother who is reaching a group of people in a place or manner he is called to? If that is his way, his gifting and he uses it to glorify God, then let him. Do not judge his methods. Pray for him for it is likely he is working a much harder field than you are.

        I know a few people who use bands, coffee shops, social media and pretty much everything the Lord puts in their hands (including a very large proportion of their personal income – double and triple tithes) to reach the lost. Those are the visible things. What many people don’t know is that many of them fast at least once a week, that the church prays together twice a week (standing room only) and that they started off the year fasting and praying for weeks! People have given up jobs, lives, left families, shut down their businesses, left their countries etc. all for the sake of the gospel. Just because you see a rock band up front, don’t assume that there isn’t the hard work, the sacrifice, the prayer and most of all the mustard seed faith driving these brothers and sisters in the Lord. If you do, you are very mistaken. And you do the Body a great dis-service to criticize them. Not only that, it takes away from the Lord, because although the rock band is what we see on the outside, on the inside, it is the Lord who is working in and through them to change the lives of many young people. Young people who are now turning around and reaching not just their peers, but some of them are even reaching their parents with the gospel.

        One of the leaders of such a “rock band church” put it best when he said, “Jesus Christ gave everything He had for what He valued most, which is us. And now we have the opportunity to give everything we have so that other people can get what we value most, which is Him.”

        And he doesn’t just say it. He does it.

        I’m not suggesting that all churches should start having rock bands. What I am suggesting is that we should stop criticizing other believers and start asking hard questions about ourselves, our priorities, the depth of our love for the Lord and His focus – the one sheep.

    • Jim

      Psalm 139
      23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
      Try me, and know my anxieties;
      24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
      And lead me in the way everlasting.

      I am glad that our brother, Crawford, has posted this article. I agree with you, Greg, that many people can take points for discussion and turn them into points for discontent. The conversation, however, must take place. The day we stop asking our God to search us and lead us (aka: evaluate and help make the changes that we need to make) is the day we stop growing, personally and corporately. I will admit that I have been guided and corrected by different brothers over the years. Some I would agree with, while others I would not, but I am thankful that the issues were raised. We must be willing to receive feedback and respond Biblically if we hope to grow. May we all seek to be lead by the Word of God as we enter 2016. Whether we are shepherds or the sheep may we all acknowledge our need for a better understanding of what it means to be full of grace and truth, like our Savior so perfectly exemplified.

    • David Boisvert

      A great article posted in response to the criticism received from this one. Something to chew on and consider. http://www.cominguntrue.com/2016/01/i-almost-wish-youd-stop-posting.html

      Keep on posting Crawford and God bless!

  4. Very useful points indeed. It’s applicable everywhere. Thanks for sharing these valuable thoughts. May the Lord help each one of us to consider these topics in detail and apply in our respective assemblies / places.

  5. Stevo

    Incisive article! Well put! We don’t need to change things as much as we need to be faithful to the words and work of Christ. The Lord chose to seek sinners. He preached where people gathered. He was not content with the outward formalities. He was concerned with inner life. Taking a hard look at our understanding of effective and responsible gospel outreach and
    assembly “inreach” (loving each other) is a necessary aspect of a healthy and growing assembly. Yet, spiritual vitality and Spirit led activity is the backbone of any effective and healthy assembly.

  6. James

    Yep. Especially 1,2, 4, and 6.

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