As already noted in the post on Church Growth and the Great Commission, true growth is “about making fully devoted followers of Jesus, not merely increasing your numbers.” Whether desiring quantitative or qualitative growth, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to do His work in order for it to become a reality.
Points to Remember about Being Reliant on the Holy Spirit in growing the Church:
1) The Great Commission could only be fulfilled when the Spirit came to provide the needed power.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me. (Jn. 15:26, NASB)
And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment … (Jn. 16:8, NASB)
2) The Holy Spirit is essential for the Church to grow through conversions.
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” (Jn. 3:5-6)
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you – they are full of the Spirit and life. (Jn. 6:63)
This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.(1 Cor. 2:13-14)
he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, (Titus 3:5)
3) For converts to turn into fully devoted, healthy followers of Jesus Christ, we must be reliant on the work of the Holy Spirit, not our own abilities to disciple.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit … (Eph. 1:13)
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (Rom. 8:16)
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Cor. 3:17)
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (Jn. 14:26, NASB)
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth … (Jn. 16:13)
As observed in the above Scripture, the Holy Spirit must be at work in and through the messenger as well as in the hearts of people. He is the One we must rely on to convict and convince them of their need to believe and be saved. He is the One who will bring assurance of salvation to them and enable them to break free of the chains that bind them and to grow more and more Christ-like. That is true growth and health in the Church.