Gather Grow Go

Gather Grow Go March 11, 2024

Gather Grow Go

Gather Grow Go 

Matthew 28:16-20

As we begin 2024, I want to challenge the church with a new set of strategies. Three simple words: Gather Grow Go. Say these words with me: Gather Grow Go. That’s the strategic challenge for our church. It is reflected in the word of the Great Commission given by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. If we want to strengthen our church, then we need to Gather, Grow, and Go.



The eleven disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but some doubted. (Matthew 28:16-17, CSB)

Here we see that the disciples traveled with the purpose of coming together to worship with Jesus. When it comes to the church, we gather for worship. We do that in regular Sunday morning worship, as well Sunday evening and Wednesday.

We also gather in groups. Most notably, our Sunday School groups. Friendships are built when we gather. The gathering leads naturally to the next strategy.


Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth… make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you…(Matthew 28:18-20, CSB)

Jesus has all the authority and that means that as we can make disciples. While this text has been interpreted that we should help other people to become disciples, the emphasis can also be placed on oneself. Jesus has the authority to help me make myself a better disciple. He can help me grow. He teaches us everything in His Word. We just need to obey.

The first step of personal growth is to be baptized. The second is to be taught (which is why we come together.) But growth happens in community, not just a classroom. At some point, we become teachers, and not just students. Some of us in this room can lead another Sunday School group. But it will take effort to grow disciples. It requires that we go.


Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them… And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20, CSB)

Disciples are not born. They are recruited. If we only rely on family generational growth to make disciples, we won’t grow for long. Soon, we will decline and die. We must actively recruit new disciples to the kingdom. We will talk more about recruiting in the last sermon of this series.

For 2024, I believe that we need to focus in four areas. Our emphases should be in these four ways in which we can gather, grow, and go.



The first is prayer. We will take this year to put more emphasis on prayer in our gathering. On Sunday morning, we will spend more time making prayer an emphasis to increase. Our prayers will be about how to increase our strategy of gathering, growing, and going.


Sunday School will probably be the most important emphasis that we focus on this year. If we can increase our Sunday School effort, then everything else will increase. There is an old strategy used by Southern Baptists for decades, even though many may not actually know it. It uses the Sunday School as the emphasis. It’s called Flake’s Formula. This formula is basically a strategy to increase Sunday School.


Flake’s Formula is a five-step strategy for growing a Sunday School ministry, developed by Arthur Flake, a lay leader and businessman in the early 1900s. The five points are:

  • Know the possibilities: Identify and reach out to the unchurched people in the community.
  • Enlarge the organization: Create new classes and groups to accommodate the potential members.
  • Enlist and train the workers: Recruit and equip leaders and teachers for the Sunday School ministry.
  • Provide space and resources: Ensure that there is adequate physical space and material support for the classes and groups.
  • Go after the people: Invite and follow up with the prospects and members, and encourage them to attend and participate in the Sunday School ministry.

We may have to use an updated version of Flake’s Formula for our church for the 21st century.


We may have to look at HOW we do Sunday School for some groups of people. For example, if we focus on increasing the number of people in the current groups, that will achieve some level of success. If we want to multiply groups, we may have to expand our thinking. Here are two examples:

Start a small group of four families that meet twice a month. Perhaps consider a certain day during the week and consider four families to meet twice a month on that day. They may meet here or meet in someone’s home.

Another option is to consider a monthly online small group meeting. I realize that some may say that online is not the best option, and I agree. But I do think there is a place for a potential “entry” into Sunday School by using online options like Zoom or Skype.

The biggest strategy shift will be to use Sunday School to further increase the gather, grow, and go. We already gather and grow spiritually together there. Yet, we can use the Sunday School groups to reach out to prospects, and to do local missions. Take a day once every two months to do a “mission activity.” Take the church roll and divide it among our Sunday School groups to form an outreach team within the Sunday School. I will help by making visits on some Wednesdays. But use the people in Sunday School to pray for, call, and reach out to potential visitors and returning guests.


As for the community, I believe that we only need to focus on a few elements that we already do. FCA meetings, Father’s Day concert, Halloween and perhaps one other community event. We focus on a few events and do them well. We will speak about this in the upcoming sermon about the gather strategy.


Finally, we will focus these three strategies on an individual level. Take time to gather in worship with others on a more regular basis. Make it challenge to yourself to increase your commitment to worship. Commit to praying for your church. We meet on Mondays. We commit to praying at each time of worship. Focus your prayers this year on personal and church growth. Commit yourself to the community events. By having fewer events, you will be able to concentrate on doing things better. But the most important effort will be with Sunday School. If you are not part of a Sunday School group, you should be. If you don’t like your Sunday School group, join another one or start one. Then join with others to reach out and recruit people.


To Gather Grow Go – This is the purpose of our lives as Christians, and this is the mission of the church. But how can we fulfill this Great Commission? Well, the first step is to make sure that we are disciples of Jesus ourselves. Have you trusted in Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Are you baptized in his name? Have you committed to follow him and his commands? If not, I invite you to do so today.

The second step is to join a local church that is committed to making disciples. Are you part of a church that loves Jesus and his word? Have you been involved in gathering for worship, growing in a small group, and serving together by going on mission? Are you growing in your faith and helping others? If not, I encourage you to find a Sunday School group that will help you grow in your faith.

The third step is to pray and look for opportunities to share the gospel with others. Do you have a burden for the lost? Is there a passion for the nations? Do you have a testimony of what Jesus has done in your life? If so, I challenge you to pray for God’s guidance and power, and to look for ways to share the gospel with your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and anyone else who needs to hear it. Jesus calls us to make disciples of all nations by his authority and with his presence. This is the Great Commission, and this is our great privilege. Amen.

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