Church leaders who want to see their churches grow must understand the role of grace in the process. God’s grace not only saves us (Eph. 2:8-9) but it empowers us to be the leaders we should be to serve in cooperation with God as His agents of growth that is both quantitative and qualitative.
God’s grace must motivate and enable the agents of Church growth.
After defining the Gospel message in the first nine verses of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul looks at himself as a witness and messenger of the Gospel. He acknowledged the effect of God’s grace on his life, that it empowered him to be who he was and do what he did. — “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (1 Cor. 15:10)
This verse shows us that just because salvation is by grace (Eph. 2:8-9), it doesn’t mean we sit back and do nothing to bring about Church growth. That same grace that saves us enables us to line up with God in all we do (Titus 2:11-12) so we work in cooperation with God.
Acts 2:42-47 shows the early church functioning in such a way that it provided an environment conducive to growth. They devoted themselves to the teaching of God’s Word, fellowship, worship, prayer, and benevolence and “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).
In 1 Corinthians 3 we find Paul reminding the church of Corinth that though church leaders played a role in the church’s growth, God was the real agent of growth. He said, “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” (1 Cor. 3:5-7)
Understanding the power of grace in Church growth should prevent us from sliding into pride as we grow or competition with other churches to see who can grow the most or the fastest. It’s all about God and what He does in and through our lives — God’s grace. We do what we do because of the grace of God and by the grace of God. Apart from Him, we can do nothing (Jn. 15:5).