Two Inescapable Keys to Church Growth

by Dow Tippett

These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

Acts 1:14 NASB

After Jesus raised from the dead and ascended into heaven in front of many witnesses, the disciples and women gathered together for prayer back in the upper room. In fact, the Bible says, they were in constant prayer with constant passion applied to the prayer.

It is in this time that the apostles choose a new person to make their number 12 again, and it is in this state that the Holy Spirit Comes on Pentecost.

Time and again I hear Christians praying for the Spirit of God to fall like that day. We laud the fast growth of some churches, and bemoan the shrinking of others. We say, “God, we just need another revival like that day.”

But the 120 disciples gathered in that upper room constantly continued in consistent prayer for 10 days!

That prayer meeting produced some direction, and they followed it; choosing a new apostle by God’s lead. Then revival came.

So, let me ask did God honor the disciple’s procedural decision in choosing Mathias? Did the church grow only because of prayer?

If Acts chapter one is to be understood, God uses both.

Many churches in America today are struggling to reach the lost, but I doubt it is because they don’t pray. Often God does not add to the numbers of a church, because the church doesn’t have the capacity to disciple those numbers. When churches choose to change their procedures to prepare for growth, God often brings growth.

Now don’t get me wrong, procedure can bring growth without God, but it won’t last. The second thing that surprises me is how short lived our prayers for revival are. When was the last time your church held a 24-hour prayer vigil for 10 days straight? We claim we want revival, but we don’t put the time in. Now don’t hear what I am not saying, God can bring revival, but so often we are too busy to ask for it with constant passionate prayer.

If we don’t have time to pray for revival for ten days, how will we be able to disciple thousands for 3 years or more?

God will bring revival when we create the capacity to handle what God can bring. We need to demonstrate the capacity in our procedure and our prayer.

For further reading: try How to Break Through Growth Barriers by Carl George and Warren Bird.