I’ve recently been knocking around in my mind what our church and ministry can do to reach out, build up, and grow. Of course, such a thought experiment can easily turn into a disaster. That is, if disaster is defined by trying to build Christ’s church by man-made methods.
And so, the constant question comes “why are other churches growing and prospering and mine is not?” And for us Reformed folks the usual answer is “well, because they are tickling ears and getting growth by gimmicks.” Well, that’s not always the case. What about other Reformed churches which do not compromise? Now things are get tricky. And the easy response is to attempt to “fix things” by looking to yourself.
But I keep coming back to the Word and the Spirit. Is the Bible really sufficient for the church, and is the Spirit really sovereign in the work of salvation? And, of course, we must answer “yes.” And this has proven to be a great comfort. The Bible really is sufficient for church growth and renewal. The Spirit of God really can revive his people again. Jesus really is enough for Christians, even in the most tragic of circumstances. You want the church to grow? Preach the Christ of the Word, and the Word of Christ! You want people in your church to wake up from their spiritual slumbers? Preach Christ and him crucified from all of Scripture! You want to save sinners? Preach the Gospel which is contained in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation! You want straying sheep to repent of their wanderings and come back again to the fold? Preach the Word, in season and out of season! And trust in the same Spirit who inspired the text to do the secret work needed to convert sinners and to sanctify the saints!