A few days ago I received a bulletin with an article titled “7 Signs a Congregation is Dying”. It was a good article, but I thought perhaps it would be good to center on some of the ways that we can know that a congregation is alive.
An alive church is a devoted church, comprised of devoted members. We are familiar
with Acts 2:42. An alive church is comprised of alive, devoted, committed, steadfast
members. If the church is not composed of these, nothing will prevail. NO program,
no plan that can be conceived will cause growth.
An alive church is a hungry church. Christ pronounced a blessing on those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, and the church of Acts 2 continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine. How many times have we seen, or been a part of a church that “majored in minors”, that spent all their time on first principles. We need a good dose of Hebrews 6:1-3 in order to remain alive.
An alive church is a church that enjoys fellowship with other Christians, other members of the church family. That fellowship is more than than merely “foyer talk”. It is sharing joys, hurts, love, physical goods. The church of Acts 2-5 saw that no one had need, but shared their individual goods as anyone had need.
An alive church is a teaching church. Acts 8:4 tells us of the church, a persecuted church. When they were scattered they went everywhere teaching the Word. Persecution could not put them down, they still taught Christ individually. They went from house to house to share the good news of salvation.
An alive church is a communing church. Acts 2 tells us that they continued steadfastly in the breaking of bread. There are many quibbles concerning the term “breaking the bread”. Some contend that this is a common meal, others that it is the Lord’s Supper. The same word is used for both in the New Testament. As I see it, the church, the Christians, were so in love with the Lord, and so wanted to remember His sacrifice and His second coming that they continued in this feast to commemorate those great events.
An alive church is a praying church. They continued in prayers. Prayers must be the beginning of planning, the beginning of devotion. It need not be a formal prayer. We need to learn to say both “Our Father” and My Father”. Prayers can be both public and private. We must continue steadfastly, be devoted to prayer.
Perhaps there are other characteristics of a living, dynamic congregation that you can name. Feel free to add to the list, and may God help us to grow as we live and serve Him.
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