Posted by: Hugh Griffiths | April 27, 2006

No Limits to Your Growth | 02

Here is the second of three extracts from Bryn Jones' 1981 article in Restoration Magazine – 'No Limits to Your Growth'. Please submit your own comments if this article stirs faith in you – encourage others as well as build your own faith.

God Wants Us to Grow Numerically

To be small is not wrong but to stay small is. Numerical growth, as much as any other thing in life, is in keeping with an exercise of our faith.

For too long the church has made excuses for its lack of numerical growth. Many churches have been lulled into a false sense of contentment with their smallness by excusing their lack of progress as being something to do with God. Discounting those excuses that apportion blame to such circumstances as 'the difficulty of our times' or 'the poor location of our meeting place', we have to overcome the more subtle excuses that hinder our progress.

'God does not count numbers' is a favourite one. I wonder, then, why the Bible speaks of Gideon's 300, David's 30, Jesus' 12 disciples, the 70 disciples, the feeding of 4,000 and 5,000, the 3,000 at Pentecost, the 5,000 later in the week.

'We don't want to become too big or we will become impersonal' This one sounds as though it has a good deal going for it. However, if this was necessarily so, the early church was in trouble from the first Pentecost! Things become too impersonal if we become exclusive in our leadership. As we make room for the ministry of many people, so the flow of the love and fellowship of God will be strong amongst us.

'God can't trust us with more at this time'. Then let us adjust and become trust-worthy. Perhaps it would be more honest to say 'We can't trust God for more at this time'.

'The church will always be a littleflock'. We must let God explain what he means by 'little' rather than interpret it ourselves. For if we read his Word aright, then ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands are destined to be part of his 'little flock' (Rev.5:11).

The early church never once considered making excuses for lack of growth. They expected, planned for and experienced growth (Acts 14:1, 17:4, 5:14, 6:7)

Personal postscript
Although Bryn's intent in this section of his article was to point to growth in church numbers, the wider principle is clear – God wants us to tangibly demonstrate his blessing and favour. The outcome of our faith, if it is really faith, will become evident and is shown clearly and obviously in our lives. With God, growth is seen – this is clear from Jesus' references to trees and their fruit. The story of the fig-tree in Matthew 21 is particularly interesting since when Jesus found nothing but leaves on it, he condemned it and it withered. God expects our lives to have more than a show of 'leaves' as a superficial appearance of spiritual life and health – we should also bear much fruit.

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Responses

  1. That’s excellent Hugh – Bryn is touching on some important areas here – We cannot make excuses for staying small – Increase is in the very heart of the Father for all that he wants to see in this earth – including in the numbers in his Church. I like how Bryn inspires and challenges us here to change and re-align ourselves with the divine purpose of Christ in this area of growth, expansion and multiplication

  2. Hi Hugh

    Thankyou for this insightful, and challenging post.

    Dave


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