by Steven Chan
About 160 brethren attended the recent Seminar on Church Growth held in the premises of the church of Christ in Klang. We are thankful for brethren who are interested in our heavenly Father’s business which He has entrusted to us all. Our coming together fulfils the exhortation of the Scriptures: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb 10:24-25).
- We are thankful to all brethren who contributed in every way towards making the Seminar an edifying one. We are much encouraged by brethren who travelled a great distance to be with us – some from as far as from Singapore (such as bro Eddy & Sis Theresa Ee and bro Peter Chin & sis Pooi Fun). A big ‘thank you’ to the sisters who contributed towards an excellent food fellowship – sis Linda Leong, Amelin Teoh and all the sisters who helped out – and also the hallmark cakes from sis Bee Lan.
- We were spiritually fed by the good lessons shared by brethren Datuk Yeow Chin Kiong (Subang), Peter Chin (President of Four Seas College, S’pore and Eng Kim Leng (elder from Kota Kemuning). The forum was ably moderated by bro Lee Chee Thim (JB church of Christ) and we appreciated the insights shared by the panellists – brethren Eddy Ee (elder from Jurong), Lim Chan Khoon (elder from Kota Kemuning) and Peter Bang (evangelist from Section 17, PJ).
- Bro Koay (elder from Klang) shared with us from Acts 6:7: “Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multipliedgreatly in Jerusalem”. The Scriptures recorded the multiplying growth of the disciples in order to exhort us that:-
a. there is urgency in reaching out to save those who are perishing and
b. such efforts would bear much fruit as the word of God is preached by those who are disciples or followers of Christ who are committed to walk in the steps of Jesus (1 Pet 2:21; Luke 19:10).
If we wish to experience the myltiplying of disciples then every disciple needs to do this: “ Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” (2 Tim 4:2). That was what the early disciples did: “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.” (Acts 8:4)
- Bro Yeow expounded from Acts 9:31: “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied”
Four factors contributing to the multiplying of the churches:-
a. When peace prevails in the church: when it’s free from external disturbances as well as from internal discords.
The bible describes the gospel message as the way of “peace”. Jesus “guides our feet into the way of peace.”(Luke 1:79); “the way of peace “ (Rom 3:17). “The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:36). “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace” (Rom 10:15)
Squabbling among brethren will weaken the church: “ But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” (Gal 5:15)
Question: Are we at peace with God and experiencing peace in our personal lives as well as doing our part to contribute to peace among brethren and in the community?
b. When the church is being edified.
God desires members of the church to edify one another and the church was designed by Him such that its activities would edify the brethren (Rom 14:19; 1 Cor 14:12,26; Eph 4:11-16, 29; 1 Thess 5:11-12).
Question: Are we doing all we can to build each other up in our faith and walk with God?
c. When the church “fears the Lord”.
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecc 12:13-14). “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may[j] serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb 12:28-29)
d. When the church walks in the “comfort of the Holy Spirit”.
When the church is not troubled by the affairs of this world as the members look to God for His assurance and promise that He will be with us and be our Shepherd through this life then it will not be distracted and will be able to grow:
“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Heb 13:5-6).
Question: Are we cultivating and contributing to the four factors that will cause the church to grow?
- Bro Peter Chin expounded from Col 2:19: “holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that isfrom God”.
It is important for members of the church to submit to our Master and thereby be nourished by Him and being in one mind with one another, we are strengthened by each other. The Bible says that when that happens, then the church will grow as God will increase it!
Question: are we holding fast to our Lord in all areas of our lives? Do we offer our lives as living sacrifices to serve Him (Rom 12:1-2)?
- Bro Eng Kim Leng spoke on 1 Thess 1:6-8: “From you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place”
We need to be like the church in Thessalonica. The Word of the Lord will be spread by us to all parts of the world. The church should not be focused only in its own locality. As the gospel is to be preached to the entire world, every congregation needs to be seeking to plant new churches in every place (Matt 28:18-20). If we do not do it, how do we expect the church of the Lord to grow in the entire world?
Question: What are we doing to help set up new outreaches in various geographical areas?
We hope and pray that the Seminar will help us all to re-consider the work that the Lord has entrusted to us. Let’s grow the church with the increase that is from Him.