Advice from a Korean expert, Pastor Cho,...

Seven Secrets of Church Growth

Introduction
1. The conviction for church growth.
2. The challenge for church growth.
Content
1. The church shares the same motivation.
2. The church prays much.
3. The church only speaks the gospel.
4. The church expects miracles.
5. The church shares its blessings.
6. The church never says negative words (no, can't).
7. The church has a good reputation among the people.
Conclusion
1. The minister must be fanatical for church growth.
2. But church growth is impossible by human power alone.
3. Church growth depends upon the power of the holy spirit.

INTRODUCTION

My presupposition is that you think the church should grow and the church can grow. Let me introduce you to the secrets behind the growth of the Full Gospel Incheon Church, where I serve. These secrets will be presented to you as the outcome of practice and experiment rather than as theoretical propositions.
Pastor Choi

The full text of this edited version is on: www.ikom.co.kr

1. THE CONVICTION FOR CHURCH GROWTH

1) Church Growth is the will of God.
The Church is the body of Christ. Therefore it is a living organic church. A church that has life should grow continuously. This is the will of God.

2) Church Growth is the Commandment of God.
The expansion of the Kingdom of God is an expression of the Great Commandment given to all Christians. Since evangelism, spreading the good news about the Kingdom of God, is a commandment of God, church growth is also a commandment of God. There is no choice in whether to obey this commandment. It asks us only for continuing obedience and determination.

3) Church Growth is the responsibility of ministry.
Building up the church spiritually is the common responsibility of minister and congregation, but growth in church membership is primarily the responsibility of the minister.

4) There are a lot of problems in not growing the church.
Because the church in this world is imperfect, it has a lot of problems. But if your struggle is aimed at church growth, other problems become trivial. Failure to aim at church growth makes big problems out of insignificant ones.

2. THE CHALLENGE FOR CHURCH GROWTH

1) The minister who can't grow his church is a loser!
When I was ministering to a church of around 5,000 members, I received a big challenge in a church growth seminar. I was astonished when a speaker who was younger than me stated emphatically "A Minister who can't grow his church is a loser!"
At that time, I thought I was doing O.K. because membership of my church was around 5,000. But soon, I realized I was not. A church may appear to be successful if it has 5,000 members in attendance. But if that membership is not increasing, if it is the same next month, next year, then it is not a growing church. Here, I received my big challenge.
The words, "a loser," have special significance to me. I lost my father when I was young, and my mother often said to me, "I'm O.K. when I'm lonely, poor or despised by others, but I can't endure it when you are called `a loser' because you have lost your father." So it is a great challenge to me when I hear this word applied to me as a minister.
Even now, I'm still not safe. Because if church growth should stop, I'll be called a loser. Therefore, I'm challenged everyday. A church must grow whether it is small or big.

2) An elder who can't evangelize is an oaf!
Later, I invited that speaker to my church. He pointed to the elders and said, "An elder who can't evangelize is an oaf!"
After that seminar, I was worried that the elders might be offended, but some of them came to me and said they were challenged by the speaker's words. His words challenged me in my own ministry greatly.

CONTENT

1. THE CHURCH SHARES THE SAME MOTIVATION

1)The tragedy of human existence started from not sharing the same motivation.
Why did Cain kill Abel? Why did Adam rebel against God? Because they did not share the same motivation with God. Why did Judas rebel against Jesus? It is the same story. The tragedies of human existence start from not sharing the same motivation.

2) Jesus came into this world to make our motivations one.
What is the usual depiction of the cross on which Jesus died? Yes, it resembles a "plus" sign. Vertically, it pluses together God and man. Horizontally it pluses together you and me.

3) Sharing the same motivation works miracles from God.
Fellowship through the Holy Spirit, answered prayer, blessings from God and church growth all come from the power released by sharing the same motivation.

4) The growing Church shares the same motivation.
When I started my ministry in the Full Gospel Incheon Church, the congregation was enthusiastic for evangelism and service, but there was hidden disorder. Some people were involved in service and others were not. Service work was concentrated in a few people, so that they were too busy. Yet other people were not active in service at all.
There were also disputes and jealousy between members of the congregation. So I proclaimed the slogan, "Without love, service is nothing."
Encouraged by sermons on this theme, people removed the roots of bitterness from their hearts. Over several months, the saints of Christ began to help one another and our church became filled with grace like the early church.

2. THE CHURCH PRAYS MUCH

1) Church growth is in direct proportion to prayer.
The descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was a result of the unified prayer of the disciples after Jesus's resurrection and ascension. In the same way, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurred in the Korean church in 1907. It is just plain common sense that a church that prays much also grows.

2) The force behind church growth in Korea is prayer.
The spiritual growth and increasing membership of the Korean church in the 1970s and 1980s is well-known. The Korean church is famous for early dawn prayer meetings, overnight prayer meetings and fastings with prayer on behalf of the evangelization of Korea and the world. These activities are our spiritual treasures.

3) Prayer programs of the Full Gospel Incheon Church

3. THE CHURCH ONLY SPEAKS THE GOSPEL

1) Every person waits thirstily for good news.
Modern people indulge themselves in alcohol, sex, gambling and drugs to combat the meaningless of their lives, their emptiness and their loneliness. But this self-indulgence only makes people more disheartened.

2) The Gospel is the sole source of good news.
Jesus says to this people, "Come to me, all you weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Mt. 11:28) The Gospel is the good news.

3) God sends those chosen for salvation to the church when the gospel is spread.
"praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." (Acts 2:47)

4. THE CHURCH EXPECTS MIRACLES

1) Christianity is the religion of miracles.
The Bible is full of miracles from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation. Therefore Christianity is the religion of miracles. People ask me, "Why do you believe it will happen?" Then I answer "I believe there will be a miracle."

2) Miracles should be expected even now. The Bible says, "God is same, yesterday, today and tomorrow" (Heb. 13:8). If you believe the word of God, miracles will happen even now.

3) The Church grows when miracles occur.
The early church experienced explosive spiritual growth through many miracles and supernatural works. The same thing happens at the Full Gospel Center (Yoido) Church and the Full Gospel Incheon Church.

4) Miracles happen when we believe in and expect them.
Jesus said to us, "And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." (Mk. 16:17-18)
Therefore, the minister should speak the word of God expecting miracles, and the saints should also expect miracles after listening to such sermons. (Acts 3:1-10)

For the ABCOG position on "speaking in tongues", see Glossolalia

5. THE CHURCH SHARES ITS BLESSINGS

1) The members of a growing church share their blessings.
The early Christians didn't insist on their own possessions. The early church was a sharing one. All the growing Korean churches are sharing churches such as the Full Gospel Center Church, the Myung Sung Church, the Kum-Ran Church, and the Antioch Church. Our church is one too.

2) The truly rich person is the one who gives something to others.
Though a man has much, he is not rich without helping and sharing. The Bible says to us about the truly rich:
"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. ..." (Lk. 6:38)
"Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted." (Jn.6:11)
"One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." (Pro. 11:24-25)

6. THE CHURCH NEVER SAYS NEGATIVE WORDS (NO, CAN'T)

1) Numeric understatement
One multiplying zero is zero. One hundred multiplying zero is also zero. In just this way, though God has great power, if you multiply this with a negative thought, such as "no" or "can't", then the result is zero. Nothing happens.

2) Success or failure is a fruit of tongue.
The Bible emphasizes the importance of our words many times.
"From the fruit of his mouth a man's stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (Pro. 18:20-21)

3) Say "I can do it!"
When pastors gather together, they usually say that it is difficult to grow a church. If they think like this, the door of church growth closes. Results follow thoughts.
Though it is true that church growth is difficult, if you believe the church can grow and then try for it, you will succeed in it. The important prerequisite to church growth is: don't say negative words. The Pastor and the congregation should say positive and hopeful words. Satan makes us say, "I can't do it", but the Holy Spirit empowers us to say, "I can do it."

4) Success comes through the words of God
God created the world by His words. The history of creation in Garden of Eden is a positive one. "Let there be light, let something exist, ..." This is how the world was made.

5) Success comes through the words of Jesus
Jesus said "Everything is possible for him who believes." (Mk. 9:23)

6) Success comes through the words of Paul
"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Phil. 4:13)

7) Success comes through the words of wise experience
Pastor Choi often says, "We can do it if we try, let's try." He always emphasizes this to his congregation.

7. THE CHURCH BUILDS A GOOD REPUTATION AMONG THE PEOPLE

"...praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." (Acts 2:47)

1) The target of evangelism is the secular person.
Our target of evangelism is not the dead, the saved, or angels, but unbelievers in this world. Evangelism is not to bring Christians of another church into our church, but to bring in unbelievers. But heretics look for the saved and make them lose their faith.

2) We should do good works among the people in the world for our evangelism to be effective.
The unbelievers see the Christians' activities, not their words. We should be able to show the living God to believers through our good conduct.

3) The good works of the Full Gospel Incheon Church

CONCLUSION

1. THE MINISTER MUST BE FANATICAL FOR CHURCH GROWTH.

It is no use saying "evangelize your neighbors" if the pastor has no enthusiasm for church growth. A congregation has the tendency to follow their pastor. If you want to grow your church, you must always think about church growth, whether you are sitting, standing, asleep or awake. You should focus on church growth in your thought and your ministry.

2. BUT CHURCH GROWTH IS IMPOSSIBLE BY HUMAN POWER ALONE

It is not enough merely to apply the 7 secrets. The Holy Spirit must direct us.

3. CHURCH GROWTH DEPENDS UPON THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

"...Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, ... " (Zec. 4:6)


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