At a time when many churches seem to be struggling to find their way, having lost so much momentum, we don’t have to join the chorus of doom and gloom.
If God’s power could raise Jesus from the dead, certainly it can breathe new life into our churches and bring us back to a place of health and growth — to something even better than we were before.
Resurrection Power Helps with Church Growth Because of What It Provides
The resurrection is part of the Gospel described in 1 Corinthians 15. As already considered in a previous post, the Gospel is God’s power for conversion growth in the Church. Without the resurrection we don’t have a message of Good News because it isn’t enough that Jesus died on the cross. The resurrection is what demonstrated His triumph over death, sin, and the powers of darkness. Consequently, the Apostle Paul goes on in 1 Corinthians 15:14-19 to describe what the Christian life would be like without the resurrection. Notice the emboldened words.
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
Based on the reality of Jesus’ resurrection, we can then realize the opposite of the emboldened words which should have great effects on the possibility of seeing growth in His Church.
1) We have purpose.
Because of the resurrection, growth isn’t based on a useless pursuit but rather real hope.
2) We have potential.
Because of the resurrection, church growth isn’t built on a faulty foundation but rather one based on truth and power to change lives without ceaseless striving due to God’s grace.
3) We have perspective.
Because of the resurrection, our hope for growth isn’t merely rooted in the present but rather looks at the big picture rooted in eternity.
No matter what’s happening in our world, no matter how stalled our churches might seem, there’s hope. Because of the power of God demonstrated in Jesus’ resurrection, we have a purpose that’s big enough to pursue. We have a potential that’s based on an Almighty God not on our own thinking or ability. And, we have perspective that’s broad enough to not let setbacks discourage us.
Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Cor. 15:55-58)