A church full of people full of the Word is a strong church.
Spoon-feeding toddler Christians on a Sunday morning won’t cut it; we need to grow our people so that they will feed themselves on the Word, love the Word and be hungry for the Word.
Today I want us to dig into the Word to find out what our role is to be as pastors and teachers.
What is the Bible and how do we use it correctly?
The Purpose Of A Pastor
Let’s first look at the purpose of the 5 fold ministry gifts according to Ephesians 4:11-12:
The purpose of the 5 fold ministry gifts is not to do the work of the ministry – it’s to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry!
That’s a big difference!
How do you know an evangelist?
He equips the people of the church to evangelise.
Equipping is more than leading.
Equipping is more than motivating.
Equipping is more than caring.
Equipping is more than teaching.
Equipping is more than maturing.
Equipping is more than modelling.
Equipping is more than busyness.
Equipping is more than delegating.
Equipping is more than positioning.
Equipping is more than enabling.
Equipping is simply skill development.
The fivefold ministry is Jesus’ gift to the church to skill develop the church.
The prophets, pastors and teachers, evangelists and apostles are to serve the church. This should change the way you pastor, build your church systems and plan your church services.
As a pastor, preacher and teacher your role is to give the people in your church skills that they can actually apply. God is more practical than we think.
In order to have a strong church, we need to give people the tools to get into the Word, to get excited about the Word, teach them how to read and study it for themselves and to apply it to their everyday life situations.
- 12 Compelling Reasons To Read The Bible
- YouVersion Bible App – Free Download
- How To Read The Bible In A Year – Take The Challenge
- The Best Way To Study the Bible Effectively
Right Focus = Right Doctrine
I think a lot of time Christians waste a lot of time attacking each other for irrelevant stuff. We major in the minors and minor in the majors.
When the church becomes inward-focused instead of outward focused it gets very strange.
Will you talk to the lost about the manifestation of Spirit, whether it’s pre-tribulation, post-tribulation and so on? No! (I least I hope not)
Getting out of our four walls makes the majors the majors again.
How many times in the book of Acts did they have an upper room experience?
How long after this did they stay there?
Once the Holy Spirit came, they couldn’t wait to get out.
In Acts 2 Peter preached the first sermon; look at the doctrine:
- Jesus lived
- Jesus died
- Jesus rose again
- Jesus is coming again
In Acts 3 Peter preaches again – he’s got the same sermon outline:
“Jesus lived, Jesus died (by the way you killed Him!) and Jesus rose again.”
In Acts 4 Peter preaches once more and reminds them again that they killed Jesus and Peter and John get arrested.
Now don’t skip over this and miss what happens on the 3rd day of the church.
3,000 people joined the church, then just 24 hours prior, another 5,000 new believers were added = 8,000 brand new believers and the pastor and associate pastor are in prison!
What would you do if you were the third man?
Start a petition?
Call a prayer meeting and cry out “Oh God! Help us! Save Peter and John!?”
Would you grab Peter and John warning them never to do anything like that again because everyone was worried sick and tell them to tone down all that “You killed Him” stuff?
Is this was the church did? NO!
Look at how they responded:
This is their prayer in Acts 4:24-31 in a nutshell:
God, you’re completely in control, you prophesied that people would rise up against us and God give us fearless boldness.
They prayed for more boldness when most of us would pray for protection!
The church would not have gotten past the first century if they had prayed for protection instead of boldness.
Protection is inward-focused.
Boldness is outward-focused.
They were afraid, that’s why they were praying for boldness. Talk about the fight to keep the outward focus!
What doctrine does it take to plant a church?
Jesus lived, died, rose again and is coming back.
If you get outside focused you will self-correct doctrine quicker than looking inward. Send them out to preach just Jesus and Him crucified.
You see, it’s not about getting the right doctrine, but getting the right focus.
They prayed for boldness and the answer was the Holy Spirit. All were filled.
Please don’t get caught up in all the weird doctrines; if you want the full-on power of the Holy Spirit then you have to work hard to get the focus of your church OUT.
Get your church to the place where they pray in the face of opposition: “God give us greater boldness!“
The Purpose Of God’s Word
If you want your church to grow then expect and be ready for messy people to join you. Messy people who have addictions, struggles with sin and messed up lives.
You know as well as I do, when someone gets saved they are perfected and made free.
Although this is true according to God’s law – our minds need to be renewed.
Hebrews 10:14 states it well:
“For by one offering, Jesus has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.“
So when people come into your church and get saved, get them to stay.
We need a grace culture in our churches; when they mess up we just hug them and tell them to just stay…
Just stay because eventually the truth will get inside them and they will be free.
We tell them “You’re loved, just stay.“
Church is messy and I prefer it that way; I want cigarette butts on the doorstep, I want alcohol finding its way into my church, I want homosexual couples in our church, I want couples who are living together to be in our church.
Because that means God is adding people to your church where the Word can start to transform their thinking and free them.
What we say is that you’re not welcome here until you get the truth; Jesus said the opposite; remain and the truth will come.
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.”” John 8:31
Of course, I have a standard for my leaders, but for everyone else: stay. They stay and I teach them, equip them and disciple them.
Proverbs 14:4 says where there are no oxen the stable is clean. Where there are no people the church is clean.
The Word Helps Me To Overcome Sin.
Have you ever been in temptation and prayed?
Yes everyone prayers when they’re in temptation, I’ve yet to counsel someone who hasn’t.
They pray and it doesn’t work – why? Did they pray the wrong prayer?
No, they’re just using the wrong tool They’re using a drill instead of a hammer. To overcome temptation you need to use the Word.
We need to teach our people the Word of God is our offensive weapon.
In Matthew 4 Jesus was tempted in the desert. He didn’t cry out “God give me strength!!“
No, He quoted the Word.
It is the truth that sets us free, the renewing of our mind to His Word that equips us to overcome sin. You see, every temptation is tempting if we believe the lie behind it.
Here are some examples of how to use God’s Word as an offensive weapon:
- If you struggle with your thought life, the lie that feeds that is I can’t help what I think about. See Col 3:2-4
- If you struggle with lust then memorise James 1: 15-16
- If you struggle with lying, the lie is I’ll look better if I lie. Col 3:9-10
- If you struggle with unforgiveness (It’s impossible to forgive and they don’t deserve it) Eph 4:32-5:2
- If you struggle with pride (you think you’re special) then quote Jeremiah 9:23-24
- If you struggle with fear and change (I can’t change, I’ve always been this way) Rom 12:1-2
- If you struggle with anger and revenge (they deserve it therefore I have a right to be angry) James 1:19-20
- If you struggle with speech (I can’t help what I say) Eph 4:29
- If you struggle with selfishness (my deal is more important than your deal) Phil 2:3-4
- If you struggle with materialism (if only I had that I’d be happy) Pro 30:8-9
- If you struggle with stewardship/work (it’s only money, just a job) Col 3:23-24
- If you struggle with authority (If I don’t agree with a rule I don’t have to keep it) Rom 13:1-2
- If you struggle with relationships (they don’t influence me, I can handle it) Pro 13:20
- If you battle with inadequacy Eph 2:8-9
- If you struggle with worry Phil 4:6-9
- If you struggle with guilt and condemnation (I’m no good and unworthy) Romans 8:1-2
What is the excuse you tell yourself? Behind that excuse is the lie that fuels the sin.
What did I just do? I skill developed you to use the Word.
We need to teach our people how to properly use the Word, preach ‘How To’ sermons, how to learn scripture, memorise it, meditate on it and apply it when they need to apply it.
Do this and you’ll have people passionate about God’s Word, excited at the effect it’s having in their lives and this will be contagious.
When family members and coworkers start to see the transformation they’ll want to find out what it’s all about.
Teach the Word, teach your people to handle the Sword of the Bible with skill and accuracy and you’ll have strong people, a strong church and a strong and infectious Word-based culture.
Are your sermons always relevant and applicable to everyday life situations?
See How To (Dramatically) Improve Your Preaching for more on offering life application in your sermons.
What do you think about equipping others to do the work of the ministry instead of thinking you have to do everything yourself?
If you want your church to grow, are you ready for messy people to come in?
Does your church have a grace culture?
Are you learning and applying God’s Word daily in your own life?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
7 thoughts on “How To Grow Your Church In The Word”
Pastor Simon, God bless you sir ,this word of of God works for me always, and I’m teaching it by the grace of God ,
Pastor I have something to ask you sir, I was a branch pastor, one day I went out for an outreach at a different local government, reaching their I found out that, the community need the word of God and revival also Catholic dominated that area , I also observed that every family in that community has it’s own idolatry alter ,i continue visiting that place with the gospel , after 3months a couple was converted, and the Lord blessed them with a baby boy ,they gave me a portion of land for hosting fellowship being a branch pastor, I went to my G .o and told him to open another branch of our church in that local government, he told me to go and open the branch by my self and get a pastor of my choice for the church while he will give me only signpost for the new church I’m to plant , He doesn’t pay me any salary ,i don’t have money to open the church ,i waited for him for 4yrs he didnt do any thing concerning the church planting , I resigned from his ministry and went to that local government and planted a church in that land the couple gave me 5yrd ago but the church is 9months old now, though I’m having financial challenge there, believing God in every thing, pls pastor did i commit any sin in the church i went and planted after telling him and he didn’t do any thing to reach the idolatry community
Thanks waiting to hear from you
God bless you more and more pastor Simon. I want searching for how to build a Word based church and I found the right material. Hallelujah.
God is (always) good 🙂
In fact this is so inspiring, teaching and touching that I could not wait until I got to the end. I admire so much the idea of a grace culture church because that is the only way we (pastors) can reach out successfully to the “lost” in our communities and bring them back to the truth.
Amen, that’s so true! Bless you!
very helpful thank you
Glad to know it helped pastor. Bless you.