Four pillars of a healthy church
Modern church growth has never seen a day when it has attempted to be more relevant to a culture than in our day. Isn't it a bit ironic that in all of our quests to be relevant we seem to be less relevant than ever before in our attempts to influence the culture around us? If the box office success of Mel Gibson's film “The Passion of the Christ” has taught us anything it is that people (saved and lost alike) are not afraid to hear the truth about the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many pulpits have been silent for years about such themes and some even refuse to sing hymns regarding the blood of Christ. Is it really any wonder that so many of these same churches sit virtually empty on Sunday mornings?
The secret of a great church in the eyes of God is seen in the second chapter of Acts with the birth of the church. Here our Lord lays out His four pillars of a healthy church. There is the element of participation, proclamation, preservation and propagation.
I. Participation (Acts 2:1–13)
These early believers were “all together” and “all filled”. They found their strength in participation with each other (unity) and participation with God (unction).
II. Proclamation (Acts 2:14–40)
These early believers preached the word of God. Peter stood up at Pentecost and took his text from the book of Joel, illustrated it with a couple of Psalms and proclaimed the gospel, the cross and the resurrection.
III. Preservation (Acts 2:41–46)
These verses tell us this early church “continued steadfastly” in the apostle’s teachings. They “devoted themselves” to prayer and fellowship. People did not come through one door of the early church and then escape out the back door.
IV. Propagation (Acts 2:47)
These early believers went everywhere witnessing, and the Bible states; the Lord added to their number daily those being saved.
Healthy churches are known by balanced ministries that have all four of these elements found in Acts chapter two. They live together in love and unity and are being filled with the Holy Spirit, they make much of the preaching of the Word of God, they have ministries designed to preserve new converts and they continue to exist for those who are not there yet!
Note: For a more detailed explanation including illustrations, word studies, etc. see the book, Revive Us Again, (Broadman Press, 1990) by O.S. Hawkins which deals with Acts 2 in its entirety.