When I think about the early history of Lancaster Baptist Church, I’m in awe at Christ’s power to build His church. In our case, He took a tiny struggling congregation and has built it into a center of soulwinning, outreach, and transformation. And I believe we’ve just begun to see what God can do!
But how does that happen? Not just at Lancaster Baptist, but in churches around the world? How does a church not only stay intact, but grow so they are maturing in the Lord together?
Actually, the necessary building blocks are basic. Here are six simple and practical—but needed—ways a body of believers grows together:
- Through the Word of God—Very simply, we need the preaching and teaching of God’s Word—for both doctrine (what to believe) and Christian living (how to apply what we believe).
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:—2 Timothy 3:16
- Through Prayer—You’ve heard it said: “A family that prays together stays together.” The same is true of a church family. Over the years, we’ve seen the difference that joining together in prayer makes.
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;—Luke 18:1
- Through Trials—When I look back over the past twenty-nine years, our greatest times of spiritual growth as a church family has been during trials. Trials have a way of teaching us to pray and driving us to our knees with brothers and sisters in Christ.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.—1 Peter 5:10
- Through Godly Examples—From the pastor to the deacons to Sunday school teachers to disciplers to church staff, God uses human instruments to develop the faith of others.
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.—1 Corinthians 11:1
- Through Fellowship—And I’m not just talking about German chocolate cake here. (Of course, I’m not denying that it helps either.) Christian fellowship is more than time together. It is real engagement about the faith and what God is doing in our lives.
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.—Hebrews 10:24–25
- Through Serving—Like soldiers bonding in the trenches, there is something about serving alongside your church family that provokes both personal growth and relationships. Servants don’t argue, demand, or boast—they serve. And great churches are filled with humble servants of the Lord.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.—Galatians 6:9–10
Whether you are a pastor desiring to see the church family you shepherd growing spiritually together or you are a church member desiring to grow with your church family, these six building blocks are a good place to focus your attention and efforts.