Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O Worship The King"1 (Lyrics)
2 Peter 1:16 – We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (NIV)
Almost every day, I receive emails from Christian ministries and organizations with invitations to subscribe to a special conference or video series about church growth. They usually try to entice me with special gifts, or they claim to have a wonderful seven-step plan that will double congregational membership within a year. All I have to do is sign up, pay hundreds of dollars with my credit card, and everything will be well.
Years ago, I did participate or sign up for a few of these conferences and plans, but after more than thirty years in ministry, I have found that the most productive way of making a church grow depends on individual congregational members asking and inviting others to come to a worship service or special event. It seems that the personal invitation is more effective than anything else; no other program, plan, or project accomplishes this.
I think that this is what the apostle Peter was referring to when he mentioned the eyewitness accounts that he and other people shared. His personal relationship with Christ was what he wanted to tell others about. Even in old age, with death by execution imminent, Peter expressed his total confidence in Jesus. His ministry was based on his personal testimony, and because there were others who expressed the same, the Christian church grew all over the world. In the end, it was the personal invitation and individual witness that was most effective.
We all want our churches to grow because our Christian faith is important, and we believe that the world will be a much better place with a living and loving relationship between us and God. What Christ and His disciples repeatedly tell us through the New Testament is to share the gospel and invite other folks to church. If we want our congregations to increase, we have to be willing to ask others to come and worship with us. We need to become eyewitnesses of the Spirit of God moving among us by letting folks know about our faith, about our church, and about our personal commitment to Christ.
Points to ponder: Am I concerned about the number of members at my church? Whom have I invited this year to come to a worship service? Have I followed up with that invitation?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You inspired Your disciples to go out into the world to share the gospel and invite others to follow You. Help us in this generation to take up this challenge, and give us the desire to ask others to come to our worship services and other church events. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.