This article presents the concept of ‘living church ministries‘ alongside evangelism mainly in the book of Acts. Whereas the Old Testament depicts evangelism as people coming to God, the Lucan perspective demonstrates that God’s servants will go to His people. Blauw’s thesis is that “a centripetal missionary consciousness becomes in Acts a centrifugal missionary activity…” (1974, 34). In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the pigs looked from pig to man and vice versa but could not differentiate them in the very last page of the text which by extension shows what could happen if the church wants to imitate the world. One cannot replace the methods or the principles that brought church growth in the New Testament in our own era.
TYPES OF CHURCH GROWTH
1. Internal : This is the spiritual growth of Christians. Right relationship is established with God and man. Many Christians quote John 3:16 which demonstrates God’s love for man without taking into consideration I John 3:16 which focuses on man’s love for his fellow man.
2. Expansion: This is accomplished by the evangelization of non-Christians within the area of the operation of the church or ministry.
3. Extension: This is the growth of the church by the establishment of daughter churches within the same general homogeneous group and geographical area.
4. Bridging: This focuses on the establishment of churches in different cultural and geographical areas.
CHURCH GROWTH : WAYS TO INCREASE
1. Biological growth- children of existing members who come into the church.
2. Transfer growth- members of one church who unite with another church.
3. Conversion growth- the coming into the church of people of the world who are converted by receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Evangelism: Evangelism in Acts is the communication of the good news of Jesus Christ through verbal proclamation and lifestyle witness, with the intent of leading a person or group to salvation in Christ.
Church Growth: This is the quantitative and qualitative development of the church. It is different from ‘swelling’ which is common and dangerous in the contemporary church. The African Church is dismissed as a mile wide and an inch deep which implies that other parameters other than numbers account for church growth. Church growth could also be seen as an application of Biblical, anthropological, and sociological principles to congregations, denominations and their communities in an effort to disciple the greatest number of people for Jesus Christ. Believing that it is God’s will that His Church should grow and His lost children be found, church growth endeavors to devise strategies, develop objectives and apply tested principles of growth to individual congregations, denominations and the worldwide body of Christ.
Church Growth Eyes: This is a characteristic of Christians who have achieved an ability to see the possibilities for growth and to apply appropriate strategies to gain maximum results for Christ and His church.