We recently started a new weekend series at Mountainview called “New Life.” In it, we’re looking at the people who found new life in the book of Acts. For the first two weekends, we’ve spent our time in Acts 8.
While reading through the chapter, one paragraph jumped out at me. Luke, the historian and author of Acts, simply records the paragraph as a matter of fact — not with commentary about what this means for church growth or how to expand your ministry impact.
Yet, it is filled with impliciations about growing your church and expanding your impact. Here it is (with my emphasis in bold):
4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. 5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.
Principle number one: Are we going everywhere we can go to preach the gospel?
Healthy, growing followers of Jesus understand that faith is life, not a way of life. Healthy, growing churches see evangelism as a natural extension of their walk with God, not as a program or an event. A church that impacts its area believes it is supposed to impact everyone.
Principle number two: Are we believing God for miracles?
Plan according to your own strength and power and you will get results in line with your own strength and power. Do you believe that God is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”? Do your goals reflect that belief? Imagine the tipping point that occurs when a church or leadership has more people who believe in miracles than those who do not.
Principle number three: Are we expecting to see great joy in our city?
If we believe the gospel is indeed Good News, then what should be the result of more people accepting the gospel? Good news will create great joy. Churches should do more than care for their cities; they should accept a level of responsibility for them. Pray for your city. Pray for windows of opportunity.
May God increase the numbers of his people who go everywhere preaching the gospel, who trust him to do the impossible, and who live to see the joy increase in their cities!