Acts 2:42-47 How to Grow a Church with Vision
Good evening. Welcome to this Joint International worship service. I want to thank you for coming. I am so glad to see people from all the various language groups. So just for a moment, let us have a short introduction. Please stand when your church is called:
If you are from the German church – the Kreuzgemeinde, please stand.
If you are from the Arabic church, please stand.
If you are from the Chinese church, please stand.
If you are from the Spanish church, please stand.
Finally, if you are from the International Baptist Church, please stand.
Thank you for your participation. I wanted to see where each group was sitting because I want to address each group this evening. I want you to know that every church represented here can grow into a healthy church. Every church here is in a process of growth. Some are at different stages. For our church, the IBC, we have just made a step of faith and growth. I stand before you as the full-time pastor of the International Baptist Church. This is one indicator of growth and health. Having a full-time pastor also shows a bit of independence that should come naturally as a healthy church grows. While a mission church starts as a baby of another church, it later grows to become an adult. One characteristic of an adult is independence. For members of the other language group churches, this independence will also come.
Every church here can be a healthy growing church. So let us look in the Bible at a model of a church with vision. A church with vision is one that is growing to become healthy and balanced.
I looked at the preceding verses to see all the kinds of people that were in the church of Jerusalem. I found that it says clearly that there were Arabs in Acts 2:11. We also know that the Gospel was presented to most of the Roman Empire, so perhaps Germans were there. There were probably people all the way from Spain. The Bible says in Acts 2:9 that there were people from Asia. Here is where we may see the Chinese church. (Although in reality, this Asia is not the continent Asia.) This Jerusalem church was international like our church. Just like IBC, there were people from all over the world. Of course, I don’t see America. But I digress. Let me get to the point.
There is not just one key to church growth. There are a variety of things. But all growing healthy churches have five functions in common. Let me give you five parts to a church vision that will help your church grow.
FIVE PARTS TO A CHURCH VISION THAT WILL HELP A CHURCH GROW
1. Churches grow WARMER through fellowship. (2:46)
The first church spent lots of time together. If you are going to grow, you have to spend time together. When a group gets together, people start to talk. When people start to talk and eat, they share. As they share, they get to know one another.
Warm fellowship can happen in big and small group settings. They met together in the temple and from house to house. So, it is important to build relationships with some people. These relationships will help you when times are hard. Warm fellowship helps you when times are hard and cold.
speak together, learn from the Bible together, share together, and have fun together. This is contagious and it will attract people.
2. Churches grow DEEPER through discipleship. (2:42)
People want to know God more. They want churches that preach positive messages, but also those that teach the Bible. One of the best ways to get to know God better is to know what He said in His word. Having times when the Bible is taught is very important. You cannot grow deeper with God without learning His word.
Some churches make the mistake of compromising the Word of God to attract people. If there is anything I have learned of people here, it is that they are hungry to hear the word of God. The Bible is relevant to our lives. It has the answers to everything we may encounter. We need to use it often.
3. Churches grow STRONGER through worship. (2:46-47)
The church in Jerusalem had worship services every day. They continued to praise God in the temple and God brought people. Good worship attracts a crowd. People get interested when they see a church that loves their God in praise. There are many expressions of praise. But God begins to bring more people to Him who really takes time to worship His name. When we spend time worshipping God, He brings people to check us out.
4. Churches grow BROADER through ministry. (2:45)
Ministry means “meeting the needs of other people.” Notice that in the Jerusalem church, members of the church sacrificed financially so that they who needed something received it. There were members who gave to those who did not have anything. In this case, it probably was food and clothing.
People in the church have needs. Some need fellowship. Some need advice. Some need assistance. Some need financial help. Some need a family. There are all kinds of needs. But a church will be able to reach more people and grow a broader (or wider) church if they meet needs.
5. Churches grow LARGER through evangelism. (2:43-44, 47)
The founder of the church is Jesus Christ. He is the Lord we serve. He is the one the world needs. He is the one we should share with our friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, co-students, and everyone else we build relationships with. God brings more people into the church when we share with them Jesus Christ.
This is the Good News, and it needs to be Good News. We need to share to others about Jesus so that they will want to accept Him and commit to Him. God will bring the people, but we are called to share the Good News. God will change their hearts and these people will join.
Church growth can only occur when our message is Biblical and our mission is balanced. We build a church with vision that grows when a church (all of its members) do all five of these things. When we look to God and follow what He plans for the church, the church will grow. May we all see God’s kingdom grow as we work in different languages for the same Lord.
 Rick Warren. The Purpose-Driven Church: Growth without Compromising Your Message and Mission, pages 48-49.