Lecture 4
Church growth

Pray and ask the Lord how He wants to do it, for His ideas are far higher than our ideas. Many of us tend to limit God's help to the level of our thinking. If we do this we will be saying to God that we can do better than the Holy Spirit. This opens the way for Satan to control our minds, and through that, can control us and prevent us from walking in the centre of God's will.
In Uganda, the Lord told me to reach every village. I thought that I would have to do this on my own in the same way everyone else had done it in the past. Seeing that it would be impossible to do this effectively I replied, "Lord, that is impossible even in two lifetimes, to complete such a task." And the Lord said, "I will show you how." Within a week He showed me 50 local Evangelists who were prepared to go but could not walk such long distances every weekend without even roads to the villages. If only they had a bicycle.
Through this, the Bible school of Evangelism and the bicycle ministry were born, enabling thousands of Evangelists to be trained and sent out. God's way is far better than our little minds could even comprehend doing.
Doing everything God's way, led by the Holy Spirit, will keep you free from the devil's negative control, and cause you to walk, with the wisdom and power and knowledge of the Holy Spirit working right through your life in triumph and success every time. Prayer must be used for every category.

Church growth categories
• Sunday school and youth groups
The children are the church of tomorrow. They need as much pastoral care as the adults do. They need to be grounded in the word of God and built up in their faith in a positive, friendly and fun way.
Sunday school is not just to keep the children occupied while their parents are in church. If teaching is not provided, they will wander away from the church and God as they grow to be adults as understanding of the faith has not been given to them.
Teachers should be trained to work with children and taught how to share their faith in a positive and Effective way. I would recommend that every teacher go through the Evangelism course or at least the Discipleship training course, as this will prepare them in the areas of how to pray and prepare, giving them a sound foundation of the Christian faith.
Teaching children in Sunday school must be taken seriously and each teacher can bring in his or her talents to create a fun learning atmosphere. They need to
get the children enthusiastic and teach them the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as the Lord is able to use children very effectively.

What to teach
This will depend on their age and to what depth you can go in teaching scripture, what games will bring out the teaching in a practical way, and how much one can involve the children in questions, discussions or study.
Prepare the teachings in exactly the same way as for the sermons, but bring it to the children in a simpler way according to their understanding. One can also give certificates or prizes for the ones who put much into their studies or for showing Christlike qualities. Outings now and then will also stimulate the Sunday school and one can also use walks or nature to bring them closer to God.
Example walk: -
To teach the children how to hear God.

  1. Pray with the children and tell them Jesus will speak to each one of them on
    the walk.
  2. Tell them to walk in silence, look at the nature around them and to hear God
    speak silently through the various plants, trees water, birds, sky and leaves
  3. Go on the walk in silence, stopping occasionally for stragglers to catch up.
  4. After 15-30 minutes, stop in pleasant surroundings and get them to sit down.
  5. Get each one to share anything they have heard or learnt from the Lord.
  6. You will be amazed at the wisdom and insight children will share with you.
  7. Pray and walk home.

I have done this walk with children of all ages and even adults, and never once has anyone not heard God except the unbelievers, who then got so jealous of how easily Christians hear God, that in most cases they want to become Christians themselves, and do.

Youth groups
Youth groups may meet at a different time than Sunday school, as they are old enough to be in church. Friday nights are therefore a favourite time to get together, pray sing, go on outings, do different things, and of course study the Bible together. A discipleship course is suitable, and then possibly the Evangelism course with street or village evangelism included. One can have a choir section, music playing section, an intercession section, and evangelism section. Get the youth fnspired and doing it and they will continue to serve the Lord.

Welcome all who wish to sing and divide them into their different voice levels, men and /or women and practice singing your favourite hymns or choruses. If you do not have a talented singing teacher, you can buy a tape and listen to
how those singers do it and copy them. One can then have an adult choir and a children's choir, and in many communities they have choir competitions with other churches in their area at special crusades or functions.
Practice. Each choir needs to practice at least once a week as well as sing in the church services led by the choir leader.

• Bible study evenings
Most churches will have a weekly Bible study evening, which will start in prayer, and then they will undertake a course of studies over several weeks or even up to a year. This Bible school of Evangelism is designed to fit in a year's Bible study course of 3 hours a week, and this has been very effective as it is cost free and enables evangelists to be trained and certified while keeping their jobs and normal daily lives.
Bible study courses are for the more serious and dedicated members of the church who want to be involved in some way in the church life or evangelism.

• House churches
House churches are often small church plants who do not yet have a building, and run a programme similar to the church service.
House churches can also be weekly meetings held during the week for the newer believers and the elderly. Tbey will be brought together to pray, sing, be taught the word and to fellowship, which will compliment the Sunday Service.
The sermon from the previous Sunday can also be discussed and explained further for clearer understanding and application.

• Prayer meetings
Times of prayer meetings should be one hour before each service, meetings during the week e.g. Mornings for housewives and older people, or evenings for the working men.

1. Intercessors - for the ones called to serious intercessory prayer. These men and women are vital for the growth of any church, for these are the ones who carry out spiritual warfare, intercede for the sick and/or problems and to pray for guidance and growth for each individual. These meetings should be serious and move in the power pi the Holy Spirit. The people should be prepared to fast and to pray in tongues, sometimes for long periods of time until a breakthrough is reached.

2 The prayer meeting
The whole church should be involved in at least one of the meetings, if not during the week then they should arrive early before the church service to pray or join a prayer chain.

3. A prayer chain for emergencies
This is a group of prayers who will each pray for one hour and then contact the next person on the prayer chain. This continues until all in the prayer chain have prayed privately for the emergency or situation that has called the prayer chain into action.
These are a few of the basic areas that will help towards church growth. The Lord Himself will guide you and show you more exciting ways to enhance church life.

Questions to think about

  1. What is the Biblical structure for church growth as in Acts?
  2. Why is a good Sunday school so important?
  3. Regarding youth groups, give some good ideas for motivating them to come
    closer to God.
  4. Why are prayer meetings so important?


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(c) Suzanne's Ministries mmxviii

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