Influence of Christian Home on the Church Growth”
Theme: “The church Growth and Christian Home”
“Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation” (1 Pet. 2: 2, NRSV).
The plan of salvation or what is known as the scheme of redemption was designed by God, the Father. Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, came to this sinful world to execute this plan. Man, too, has a part to play in the scheme of redemption. Man’s part is to believe the facts of the gospel of Christ (1 Cor. 15: 1 – 4), and obey the commands in that gospel (Mk. 16: 15, 16). Having done this, man is not expected to remain stagnant. God expects him to grow unto perfection/salvation (1 Pet. 2:2).
Growth is increase in size or amount. It means development, maturity or becoming an adult. Just as God wants a Christian to grow into maturity, (as a newborn baby), so also is the church as a corporate organization. ‘Influence of Christian home on the church growth” is our topic under the general theme: “The church growth and Christian home”. We intend to discuss this topic with emphasis on:
ü importance of Christian home on the growth of the church,
ü the necessity for church growth,
ü the contribution of individuals to the growth of the church and
ü How to maintain a unity of purpose to make growth possible in a local church.
Importance of Christian Home on the growth of the church:
The home plays a very important role in the growth of the church. The church, like any other corporate entity or community, is populated by human beings. These people are from different backgrounds with different opinions, agitations, interests and different kinds of behavioral pattern.
A community of people or an organization is what it is due to the attitudes of its inhabitants. If a community, for example, is occupied by a high percentage of good followers with visionary leaders, that community will witness a tremendous growth and an unprecedented development. Same applies to the church of the Lord. As a spiritual community, if a local church is blessed with a good number of Christian homes, homes where the Bible is taught and loved, homes where the word of God is well respected, homes where the father and mother are setting good examples, homes where the beauty of the Lord is radiating like the sun, it won’t be too long for that church to grow into maturity (Eph. 4: 11 – 16; 5: 21 – 25; 6: 1 – 4; cf. 1 Tim. 3: 4, 5).
There are four classes of people in the church. We have the aged men, the aged women, the young women and the young men (Tit. 2: 2 – 6; 1 Tim. 5: 1, 2). All these people come from one family or the other. Their background and upbringing will, no doubt, manifest in their character, attitude and faith when they are found in the church. “If the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” says the scriptures (Ps. 11: 3). Therefore, the families in the church should be what the Lord wants them to be for the church to grow. The church at Philippi, we are suggesting, was so lucky to have a scriptural organization in place (Phil. 1: 1), because the four categories of people mentioned above were well developed right from their different homes (2 Tim. 1: 5; 3: 15 – 17).
We must not forget that the church is the community of “the called out body”. The people in the church have been called out of darkness into the light. They have been called into a new tradition and a new pattern of life. They are, therefore, expected to“proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2; 9).
The growth of a local church can be measured by its numerical strength but it is not the number that is significant but the quality of the people in that church. The wish of God, our heavenly Father, is that we grow both spiritual and personal. He wills that we be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8: 29). Our success or failure in the business of church growth cannot be measured by mere statistics. A church, truly, grows as the individual members of that assembly grows. A far more important thing to consider as number changes is how individual saints are faring in their effort to be more Christ-like (2 Pet. 3: 18). Therefore, we should be much more concerned about the well upbringing of our families so as to have a functional and dynamic membership in the church.
The Necessity for church Growth:
It is the will of God for the little flock to have the kingdom (Lk. 12: 31 – 34), but the little flock must first of all seek the kingdom of God. Should the little flock fail to grow into maturity, the kingdom may elude her.
The church is established by the Lord to carry out a certain mission. And for this task to be made easy, God had put some workers in the church such as the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Eph. 4: 11 – 12). The outcome of the efforts of these workers is that: the saints will be well equipped/perfected, the work of the ministry/benevolence will be going smoothly and the body of Christ will be built up.
It is necessary for the church to grow because “we must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4: 13 – 16; 1 Cor. 14: 20).
The necessity for church growth is also found in the fact, “…that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12: 2c
). There is little or no difference between a good seed (when it sprouts out) and tares when it appears but the good seed will prove its worth when it grows up and produces good wheat in contrast with the thorns that will come out of the tares (Matt. 13: 24 – 29; cf. 1 Pet. 4: 1 – 4).
The Contribution of Individuals to the Growth of the church
Some of the terms used to describe the church explain the role expected to be played by the individuals who make up the church:
v The church, for example, is said to be the body of Christ (Eph. 1; 22 – 23; 4: 4; Col. 1: 18). As we have different parts in the body of a person, so also are there different and various members in the Lord’s church and just as the parts of human body are dependent, one on the other, so are members dependent, one on the other (1 Cor. 12: 12 – 16, 21 – 26).
v Each member of the body (church) has a specific function to carry out for the church to grow as one indivisible body (1 Cor. 12: 17 – 20, 27 – 30). The implication of this is that each member of the church has one thing or the other to contribute to the growth and development of the church. Therefore, every member should try to discover his/her area(s) of interest and use this to bring a positive growth to the church, which is the body of Christ (Eph. 5: 23).
Note: The implication of the above point is that if you have the ability to teach, teach sound and undiluted doctrine of Christ. Should one possess the talent to preach, he should endeavor to preach the soul-saving gospel of Christ. If you, as a member of this local church, have the gift to exhort, let genuine love be the motivating factor in your exhortation. And should you be endowed with the qualifications to lead the flock of the Lord, rule with the fear of God (Rom. 12: 3 – 10; 1 Pet. 5: 1 – 4).
v The church is also described as the house of God (1 Tim. 3: 15; cf. Isa. 2: 2, 3). In the building of an edifice, blocks/stones are very essential. The Christians “as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house…” (1 Pet. 2: 5; Eph. 2: 19 – 22; 1 Cor. 3: 9; 2 Tim. 19 – 21).
Note: The church, being a spiritual house, draws her members through their obedience to the gospel of Christ. Therefore, when a person becomes a “lively stone”, he/she is added to the church (Acts 2: 41, 47). The addition of this new convert means building up. It is an increase. This has added to the numerical growth of the church.
v The regular attendance of the members at the church meetings and their meaningful contribution of money on the first day of the week will help a lot in the growth and development of a local church (Heb. 10: 25; 1 Cor. 16: 1 – 3; 2 Cor: 8: 12; 9: 6 – 8).
Maintaining the Unity of purpose in a local church:
There can be no meaningful growth or development where there is no unity. That age-long wise saying is relevant here, “United we stand, divided we fall”. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity…” is the Bible and a better version of that wise-saying (Ps. 133: 1 – 3). It is the duty of the individual members of a local church to maintain unity based on the platform for unity as spelt out in the word of God (Eph. 4: 4 – 6).
Ø Members of the local church are enjoined to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4: 3).
Ø Let us try to please others rather than pleasing ourselves (Rom. 12: 2, 3; 1 Cor. 10: 23 – 33)
Ø Forbearing one another and following after peace (Rom. 14: 19; Heb. 12: 14).
Ø Esteeming others better than oneself (Phil. 2: 3, 4; see the example from the greatest teacher, Jesus Christ in verses 5 – 8).
Ø Love one another (Heb. 13: 1; Matt. 7: 12; 1 Cor. 13: 1 – 8).
Note: ‘Charity begins at home”, as people do say. For a local church to be in unity and for appreciable growth to be achieved, the background of the families in that assembly must be very solid and they must be faithful to their call (1 Pet. 2: 9).The wife must be submissive to her husband while the children are to be obedient to their parents (Eph. 5: 22, 23; 6: 1 – 4; 1 Tim. 3: 4, 5). This will help the man, as the head of the home, to qualify for the office of a bishop and the better for the church to be scripturally organized if such men are many in a local church (1 Tim. 3: 1 – 12).
Conclusion: For a local church to show appreciable growth and meaningful development, the members of families which make up that local church must be up and doing. Individual members of the church must be prepared to contribute their own quota towards this. May God give us Christian homes, to His own glory and for our spiritual development, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
By Gbenga Fabunmi
© 24th August, 2013.
Delivered by Gbenga Fabunmi @ the church of Christ, Irewon Layout, off Molipa Expressway, Ijebu-ode, Ogun State, Nigeria. (234-805-604-8210).firstname.lastname@example.org