What Makes a Strong Church?
What makes a strong church? What gives it power and influence for good in the community and beyond the community?
- Not the preacher alone. A gospel minister may work as hard as he can, but he alone cannot make the church strong.
- Not numbers alone. Large memberships are very gratifying, but God has never depended on great numbers to win great battles. Remember Gideon? He and 300 others won a battle against a large Midianite army).
- Not wealth alone. It is a blessing when men and women of substantial wealth are faithful and generous financially to the work of the church. But even some of the greatest givers of all ages have not been rich people. Remember the widow with the two mites who gave ALL SHE HAD? (Luke 21:1-4). Remember Philippi, a poor congregation which gave so liberally and abundantly out of its "deep poverty?" (II Cor. 8:2).
- Not popularity alone. The church will always be popular among sincere people, who desire to know the truth. Sadly, those sincere people are not the majority in this world. I am sure many of us have lost a few friends or “would-be” friends because of what we believe. We need not to worry too much over losing a friend over the gospel. Those who desert you because you stand for something are essentially selfish and want to exploit your friendship for selfish ends. Most do not wish to see someone living a life that has the potential to point out error in their own lives. This is not to say that a Christian’s walk in life should consist of constant judgment of everyone and demanding them to shape up. Rather, it should be more of a walk that reveals to others that our lives are guided by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23). Unfortunately, living life for something greater than oneself is something that many fail to comprehend. Remember that the people who love truth will love you for standing for it and living it no matter what.
- Not human doctrine at all. All of the “experts” and those considered “intelligent” by man’s standards would not give one ounce of strength to New Testament Christianity. For the Bible is the sufficient guide in all matters of faith. Human creeds and doctrines change every century, whereas God’s Word never changes.
- A converted body of believers, dedicated unselfishly to Christ and His cause.
- A body of believers that does not forsake the assembly (Heb. 10:25). Every member who neglects to attend services contributes toward weakness and defeat. As a brother/sister, we are obligated to encourage each other not to fall into this habit.
- A body of believers that prays without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:16-18). Our Father in heaven is so willing to help us bear our burdens, if we will only give him an opportunity (I Pet. 5:7). Why wrestle alone with problems when you can share these with your Lord? (Matt. 11:28-30).
- A clean body of believers. Members ought to be very careful, and never rub against wet paint. We cannot play in the mud without getting some on us. “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Anyone with sound mind, who is willing to give a little time to thinking, knows what kind of habits weaken his influence as a Christian. Don’t find yourself in the habit of visiting places where you have to leave Jesus on the outside… He might not wait for you to return.
- An affectionate body of believers. "Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name"(Malachi 3:16). Friendships are pretty great, aren’t they? Being around those who smile and encourage you. Those who take the time and spend the effort to be friendly are those who are remembered most. Lonely and hungry hearts in search of purpose in life tend to respond when love and encouragement flow from our mouths and hearts.
- A body of believers devoted to the mission. After all, the big business of the church is to save souls. She is the "pillar and support of the truth" (I Tim. 3:15). It is her business to see that men and women hear the unadulterated gospel. It is her business to urge obedience to the gospel. We must save others or miss heaven ourselves. In the words of Dee Bowman, “If we missed heaven, we have missed it all.” We must rescue others or drown. We must season the hearts of others or lose our Savior (Matt. 5:13). We must shine or become darkness forever! If the church of our Lord fails to point the lost to Christ, who will do it?
These are the things that make for a strong church with influence and power to help those in our community.