Biblical Ways To Help Your Church Grow

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Jesus said, “I will build My church,” so what are the reasons some churches grow more than others? How can your church grow?

Jesus’ Church

The first thing we must realize is that this is not our church. It is not up to us to fill the pews or parking lot, but God can use us as a means to save some, but salvation is full of the Lord (Psalm 3:8, 62:1; Acts 4:12). Jesus told the Apostle Peter and the other apostles that, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18b). Jesus didn’t say, “Peter, you will build my church,” or “James and John, it’s up to you to grow the church.” Absolutely not! It is Jesus’ church. He is the Head and we are the Body, and the Body never tells the Head what to do (1 Cor 11:3; Eph 1:22, 4:12, 5:23; Col 1:18)? Without acknowledging that God alone gives the increase to His church, and that this church is Jesus, and that He is the Head, we’re prone to try humanistic ways to grow the church…and I can guarantee that this won’t work. It might fill the pews, but fill heaven. Seeker sensitive methods will never bring genuine, repentant sinners to Christ. It might fill the parking lot, but not the Book of Life.


In the same article I cited earlier by Dr. MacArthur, he makes a very profound statement, saying, “A church that evangelizes 365 days a year is better than a church which has a week of revival meetings once a year” and evangelize the church did, and as a result, “The congregation doubled in size every year for the next several years” (Expositor. Sept. 2019, Pg. 16). Evangelizing will bring persecution, but persecution, as you will read, will also bring about church growth. Besides, we know that “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12). A church will either evangelize or it will fossilize.  There is a direct correlation between evangelism and church growth.


Most people think persecution is bad for the church, but actually it seems to cause churches to grow. For example, there was “a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles” (Acts 8:1), but the places they were scattered to, were the places they brought the gospel of Jesus Christ. After Saul’s condoning of the stoning to death of Stephen, “there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles” (Acts 8:1). You would think this severe persecution would stunt the church growth, but as a result, all “those who were scattered went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).   If they had not been persecuted, they would not have been scattered to preach the word!  Jesus didn’t try to tell the disciples to avoid persecution, but to expect it, saying that “they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness” (Luke 21:12-13). What bigger audience to share Christ with than the court and many witnesses?

Church Discipline

Without church discipline, which Jesus Himself commanded, (Matt 18:15-20), the church could quickly be corrupted. Like the Apostle Paul said, those who continue to practice the lusts of the flesh will not be entering the kingdom (1 Cor 6:10). If we look in the mirror, we’ll realize that “such were some of you” (1 Cor 6:11a) and me. The point is, “were” but not now. Jesus, as the Head of the Church, charges the church with presenting “the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:27). God’s purpose was the fact that “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love” (Eph 1:4). Our gracious God “has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him” (Col 1:22), so how can we live in sin as before!? No! Remember, “God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you” (1 Cor 5:13). Paul clearly wanted some purged or removed from the church (1 Cor 5:2-7), and for very good reason (1 Cor 5:1), but I do not believe significant, and lasting church growth will occur without proper, biblical discipline (Matt 18:15-20).

The Early Church

The early church grew rapidly, but there are reasons for that. The church focused on the “apostles doctrine,” which was really the teachings of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:42). This was not the apostles doctrines, but Jesus’, but they also continued in fellowship with one another (Acts 2:42). This fellowship wasn’t just for an hour on Sunday morning, but they were “attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts” (Acts 2:46). As a result of the early church studying the teachings of our Lord, and remaining in fellowship, worshiping together often, and “praising God and having favor with all the people” (Acts 2:47a), the end result was, “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47b). A key point is that God added to the church as many as He willed. It was not the church who added to their numbers, but God added them to the church. God opened Lydia’s heart (Acts 16:14), because only God can change hearts (Prov 21:1; Ezk 11:19, 36:26; Jer 31:33).


If you desire to see your church grow, your first desire should to be used by God to save souls. It doesn’t matter what church they attend. It shouldn’t be your goal to bring people to Christ for Him to save, simply to build your church’s membership. Your (and my) first obligation is to be used by God to bring people to repentance and faith (although, even here, God grants repentance; 2 Tim 2:24-26), but we should desire, as God does, that none should perish (1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9). Do you seek to see your church grow? Good. Make sure you realize it is Jesus’ church, and not ours. Understand that the early church grew because they shared Christ by evangelizing. You must recognize that evangelizing will bring persecution, but thankfully, persecution tends to bring church growth. We understand from Scripture that church growth can be stunted if there is no church discipline. And the early church wasn’t a “meet for one hour a week” church. They fellowshipped almost daily…they worshipped together…they studied the teachings of Jesus Christ, and because of this, and not because of us, “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47b). That’s how Jesus’ grows His church and can grow yours too. It takes the Word of God from a child of God with the Spirit of God to birth the children of God for the glory of God. It’s all about Him!

Here is some related reading for you: How Did Christianity Spread so Fast with the Early Church?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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