Is the Bible 'Enough' for Church Growth?
- Tuesday, August 05, 2008
The Word can do what we can never do. It can judge the thoughts and intentions of men, shattering unbelief and challenging spiritual apathy. "For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
God's Word - In Linking Supernatural Power and Human Effort
How does God accomplish His supernatural work through His Word in our churches? Paul writes about this process in several of his letters. When Paul explains the ministry of Apollos and himself in Corinth, he describes them as servants and gives God the credit for all the growth that occurred through their ministry (1 Corinthians 3:5-9). Don't be confused. Paul is not belittling his work in sowing or Apollos' work of watering. He actually refers to himself as a "wise master builder," who served according to God's grace. We are the instruments through whom God manifests His activity on planet earth.
In case you think he was only talking about apostles and "ordained ministers," he warns each to be careful how he builds (1 Corinthians 3:10). We are all "graced" to build upon the foundation which God Himself laid with the death of His Son.
Paul provides even more detail in Ephesians 4:11-16 when he indicates that the work of the pastor/teacher is to equip saints for the work of ministry. It is through the ministry of every individual part, empowered by its head, Christ, that the body builds itself. Listen to the Word of God: "From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part" (4:16).
Do we believe that God's Word is true? Do we believe it is sufficient? If we respond with the affirmative, then the healthy growth of your church is not dependent on human cunning or strategy, but in working in cooperation with the purposes of God through the power of the Spirit as we seek to know and apply the living Word of God.
Kenneth S. Hemphill is the Southern Baptist Convention's national strategist for Empowering Kingdom Growth.
© Copyright 2008 Baptist Press. Used with permission.
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