The Marks of A Successful Church
In church life there are certain things that we use as indicators of success. Any time you get a group of preachers together you are going to hear certain questions: Where do you pastor? How many are you running? Are you growing? As Pastors and leaders we often seem to have measures of success concerning the church. But sometimes these "measures" are superficial in nature.
You can have a church with:
The most members,
The highest Sunday school attendance,
Plenty of transfer growth,
Tons of money
And give more to missions than anyone else ...You can have all of this and not be a successful church.
Someone asked a certain man what his church preference was, he responded, "Red brick." Often we judge an assembly based on is appearance. Friend, God can do great things:
In a metal building
In a brick building
In a storefront
In a warehouse
In an abandoned movie theater
In a house
In a big church
In a little church
In a mega church
God is not limited to the facilities of a church. On the flip side, you can have a massive, state of the art, brick mega church and not be a success for God. (If you don't believe me I can show you a few)
I want Faith Deliverance Ministry to be a successful church.
I want us to grow
I want to see people saved
I want to baptize people every week
I want to increase our mission giving
I want all of those things that we normally look at as successful. But if we are to be successful we cannot measure that success by comparing associational reports. We must measure our success based on what we read in the book of Acts. In Vs. 24 we see evidence of the power possessed by the early church. In the midst of persecution and troubles we read that the word of God grew and multiplied. I want to look at the testimony of this church and preach on the subject "The Marks of A Successful Church."
What Are The Marks of A Successful Church?
The early church possessed all of these things in the midst of some very difficult circumstances. In the midst of all this "let's look at these verses and see "The Marks of A Successful Church."
MARK # 1 -
In a Peanuts cartoon Lucy demanded that Linus change TV channels, threatening him with her fist if he didn't. What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?" asks Linus. "These five fingers," says Lucy. "Individually they're nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold." "Which channel do you want?" asks Linus. Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, "Why can't you guys get organized like that?" Charles Schultz.
If the church would get together it could accomplish so much more for Jesus! All throughout the book of Acts we read that the church was in one accord¨
Satan's goal for the early church was destruction, that goal remains the same today. How will Satan attempt to destroy a church? By sowing seeds of discord! How can we be successful for God? By having unity!!! David said in -
MARK # 2 -
What the Church needs today is not better machinery, not new organizations or more novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use-
This chapter shows us a church that was united in prayer and the result of their prayers. God worked a great miracle as a result of their request. If you want to see a successful church today, don't look for:
The biggest buildings
The tallest steeples
The most cars in the parking lot
The most activities
If you want to see a church that God is pleased with, look for a church that prays! Another element that will be found in a successful church is:
MARK # 3 -
Listen to what James says in -
If we are to be a successful church we must have people of Faith! The next mark of a successful church that I would like to consider is:
MARK # 4 -
Even after Peter was released the church continued to pray for him. They could have easily given up. They could have looked at Herod's power and said that the odds were too great. They could have looked at what he did to James and said we can't stop him. BUT THEY ENDURED IN PRAYER!! So many times we offer up a prayer and if it is not answered immediately we just give up! Friend, if we are going to be a church that God is pleased with, we must endure!!
One day a man began praying for five of his friends. After many months, one of them came to the Lord. Ten years later, two others were converted. It took 25 years before the fourth man was saved. This man persevered in prayer until his death for the fifth friend, and throughout those 52 years he never gave up hoping that he would accept Christ! His faith was rewarded, for soon after his funeral the last one was saved.
I want to look at some of the events that took place after Peter was released and see 3 more marks of a successful church: In verse 24 we see:
MARK # 5 -
After Peter was released Herod was killed by worms. God wiped out the man who was the enemy of his people. Instead of the people seeing Peter killed, they saw him released and Herod killed.
Notice: The church did their part, God did His part and as a result "the word of God grew and multiplied" like how the New Living Translation translates this verse – Vs. 24 Meanwhile, the word of God continued to spread, and there were many new believers. When we get where we need to be and when we are a church that has Unity, Prayer, Faith, Endurance, THEN the "Word of God will increase" and the church will grow! The early church was a church that spread the good news of Jesus Christ, WE MUST DO THE SAME! Another mark of a successful church as seen in the early church is:
MARK # 6 -
Paul & Barnabas finished the work in Jerusalem and returned to Antioch. I like the way the KJV puts this "they fulfilled their ministry" They worked until the work was complete. We must do the same; WORK UNTIL THE TASK IS FINISHED. Are you serving the Lord? If so, work until you are done. (And when you are done there will be another work for you to do!)
Jesus use me, And oh Lord don't refuse me
For surely there’s a work that I can do
And even though its humble, Help my will to crumble
Though the cost be great I’ll work for you!
Paul and Barnabas may have finished this specific task, but there was a greater work just around the corner. In the very next chapter Paul will begin his first missionary journey! Will you go where the Lord would have you to go? Will you do what the Lord has called you to do? A mark of a successful church is one that offers service unto the Lord. There is one final mark of a successful church that I would like to see in this lesson:
MARK # 7 -
Notice that last phrase in this verse -
We love to see someone saved! There are no words to describe that wonderful event. But there is more to it! After they are saved they need to be Discipled. Discipleship doesn't happen overnight. It requires an investment of time into a young believer.
Honestly, it is just as exciting for me to see a believer mature in the faith as it is to see one saved. If we are going to be successful for God, Faith Deliverance Ministry must make disciples! There are many other evidences that we could consider but I think that we have plenty to focus on just in these verses we have seen in this lesson. May we be less concerned with superficial measures of success and be more focused on being what God would have us to be.
Let us strive to be a church that has: