The early church was a growing church. The Book of Acts and the Epistles show how striking were the results. By definition, a growing and fruitful … This tradition, based on the way of Christ and His Apostles is known as the Antioch Tradition. Acts 11:24 - for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. It survived to the 4th century but was replaced by western Greek and Roman traditions. How did the early Christian church survive? Whenever I read through the book of Acts I'm struck with the number of times Luke comments on the growth of the church. It is very important for both the Global South church-planting movements and the churches in the declining West to rediscover their roots as found in the apostolic traditions in Acts and the Apostles' letters to the New Testament churches. These themes are also experienced as growing pains in modern organizations. An interesting episode in Acts that highlights the growing diversity of the Church and its converts is the encounter between Philip and an Ethiopian in Acts 8:26–39. The record from the book of Acts couldn't be clearer. As the early Church began expanding, it brought together many different cultures, which was both a challenge and a blessing. They had not ventured out as Jesus had commanded in Acts 1:8. And the church continued to grow. The early church highly emphasized the essentials of teaching, fellowship, worship, and prayer. Acts 2:47 - And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. God acts to restore Israel and increase it through his servants. For the early history of the Church, as for the life and teaching of Jesus, the books of the New Testament are virtually our sole important sources. More By Justin . While the Christian population of the Empire was a very modest number at the end of the first century, it had grown to encompass more than 10% of the population, or 6,299,832 Christians, by the year 300. They were devoted to the apostles’ teaching. When Jesus told his disciples that they would be witnesses to the end of the earth, they had no idea that this would include Gentiles. Acts 13:49 - And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. Its narrative supplies a bridge connecting the life and ministry of Jesus to the life of the church and the witness of the earliest believers. In the first few chapters of Acts we are told how the early church centered her ministries in the city of Jerusalem. The theological substructure of Acts is that growth is God's act; it is his blessing by which he shows his faithfulness to his promises. Acts 2:41 - So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. Chap. Please make sure all fields are filled out. 80 Years Ago C. S. Lewis Warned Against Making Faith a Means to a Political End. Early on in the expansion of the churches, it is clear in Acts that networks began to form: the Jerusalem Council, the letter to the churches from the Council, the gift collected for the Jerusalem churches from the Gentiles churches, the network of letters circulated, etc. To prove this point, let us take a quick look at church growth in the book of Acts, with a special view to the church in Jerusalem. As the Early Church expanded, the shape of the early church networks that emerged is also important to understand as we strive to get back to “the way of Christ and His Apostles.” From a careful study of the New Testament and early church research, we have attempted to map the complex network of the early churches that emerged towards the end of the apostolic age. “Before time began” God purposed to offer salvation to the world through Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:9). In the early church, racism was unknown; the Jewish synagogues allowed Black proselytes. 13). Later Luke records that "multitudes both of men and women" were "added to the Lord" (Acts 5:14). Look at any church budget and you’ll probably find 1 or 2 percent of church funds allocated to benevolence—helping poor people in need. The early church increased in number so dramatically in a relatively short period of time for a variety of reasons. The book of Acts provides a detailed, orderly, eyewitness account of the birth and growth of the early church and the spread of the gospel immediately after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Justin Taylor | April 2, 2014 . 3 The Acts of the Apostles • Author: Luke, companion of Paul • Date: c. AD 62-69 • Theme: Written by a Gentile, Acts tells the story of the Early Church and its growth, especially through the work of the Holy Spirit & the ministries of Peter and Paul. Drawing on his training as a sociologist, Stark has suggested a general growth rate of 3.42% per year, or 40% per decade, in the early church. Acts 19:20 - So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. Early Church Growth . Thus, the ministry of the Holy Spirit brought unity to God’s work. Deepen your spiritual roots. Growing a church is not an either-or proposition, evangelism or … 2. The book of Acts is the story of the explosive world wide growth of the early church. It is very important for us to look closely and carefully at this early church-planting movement to discover its success. The Great Commission, recorded in the gospel and unfolded in Acts, is a worldwide multiplication of churches. All rights reserved. Thank you for subscribing. Look again at the growth of the early church in Jerusalem: a. God planned for Jesus to come to Earth and for His church to be established at a special and specific point in time i… The Jerusalem Council became a pivotal point in the history of the early church. In the 3 rd chapter they had just healed the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. quantify and explain the growth of the early church ... techniques are applied to social networks derived from the New Testament narratives contained in the Gospels and Acts… The question is: Why? Its initial chapters describe the Church's founding and early years; its later chapters describe the travels and actions of the apostle Paul. Acts 5:14. c. Acts 6:1, 7. d. When people live for God, as He wills, they accomplish His work according to His purpose. The early church was devoted to the apostles’ … Acts 5:14 - And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women. And a great many people were added to the Lord. The narrative centers on the ministry of Peter and John. The language of growth in Acts can be grouped into two broad categories: 1) texts that speak of the word of God increasing or spreading 2) texts that speak of the number of disciples increasing. We must understand why these churches were so strong and the secret of why they so successfully multiplied across the Roman Empire. Acts 6:1 - Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. Only one of these books, the Acts of the Apostles, is in any sense a history of the Church, and that to only a limited degree and for certain phases only of its development (cf. Maybe another 5 percent, or 10 percent at best, is given to needs outside the church that on some level help the poor. the account of the first men who heard the Great Commission and reveals what anyone can B.Acts is a historical and Transitional Bridge. Acts 12:24 - But the word of God increased and multiplied. A Spontaneously Expanding Complex Network. [5] As the gospel shifts in the 20th and 21st centuries to the Global South, especially to Asia in this century, we are quickly returning to the apostolic era. There was an issue processing your request. The Word of God Increased The Book of Acts is a narrative about the birth and growth of the early Church. The Early Church Growth Bible scriptures located in Acts 2:36-47 explains directly from God's Word the Early Church Growth topic. Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Growth of the Early Church Early on in the expansion of the churches, it is clear in Acts that networks began to form: the Jerusalem Council, the letter to the churches from the Council, the gift collected for the Jerusalem churches from the Gentiles churches, the network of letters circulated, etc. a. The Expulsive Power of a New Affection. Mapping the growth and expansion of the Early Churches and discovering the secret of their successful multiplication. The amazing growth of the early church The church grew rapidly during the first centuries. The church grew, and can grow today, by following in the footsteps of the early church. Acts 9:31 - So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. © 2009–2020 Ryan Wentzel. It is essential that we visit the New Testament afresh in these historic times. In Christianity: Church and minorities. Consequently, any Gentile desiring to become a Christian must first become a Jew. Churches were planted in all the great cities of Asia Minor and Macedonia. These practices are noted in Acts 2:42 and can be seen in many of the congregations started by the apostles in Acts and Paul's letters. Please complete the form below and someone from our team will be in touch with you. The language of growth in Acts can be grouped into two broad categories: 1) texts that speak of the word of God increasing or spreading 2) texts that speak of the number of disciples increasing. 1. If a church wants to grow and if Christianity is to spread, believers must devote themselves to their pastor’s or leader’s teachings, they must be devoted to one another in the fellowship of the saints, they need to spend time breaking bread (or eating) together which required spending time with one another, they need to be devoted to ongoing, continual prayer, they need to be sharing with on… Today, missions, driven by western enterprises, see the mission as primarily a multiplication of individuals, as epitomized in parachurch organizations propagating an American “discipleship movement” that focuses on the multiplication of individuals not churches. This tradition, based upon the way of Christ and His Apostles, is known as the Antioch Tradition. As the gospel expands now to the Global South, we need to return to the Antioch Tradition–– to the way of Christ and His Apostles. One modern Christian writer describes how the early church worked together to … A social-rhetorical texture analysis of the book of Acts reveals three themes or stages in the Early Church: growth, competition and change. Three thousand were baptized on Pentecost (Acts 2:41). This ‘closed’ gospel was a major concern for Christians like Paul. Church Growth in the Book of Acts A church of Christ can and will grow spiritually and numerically when it is faithful to the word of God. In Acts, numerical growth is a covenant blessing where God multiplies and increases the number of his people through the ministry of the church. It was unthinkable that a small, despised movement from a corner of Palestine could move out to become the dominant faith of the mighty Roman Empire, an empire steeped in fiercely defended traditional pagan religions. The first Jewish proselyte mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles was a governmental administrator from Ethiopia, … © 2017 BILD International2400 Oakwood RoadAmes, IA 50014-8417515-292-7012. The spiritual factos of the rapid growth od the church in the book of Acts were the five pusposes of the church from Acts 2: worship, teaching, discipleship, ministry, evangelism and mission. First, the church of Christ was not established at “just anytime” in history. As church grew, the Spirit continued to guide in such situations as the ordination of Paul (Acts 9:17), in the welcoming of Gentiles into the church (Acts 10:44–47), in the parting of Barnabas and Paul for missionary work (Acts 13:2–4), in the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:28), and in Paul’s missionary journeys (Acts 16:6, 7). The early church's growth was often associated with meeting practical needs. In one generation, these small churches turned the world upside down, and in 300 years spread across the Roman Empire––radically transforming that entire region of the world. In one generation these small churches turned the world upside down and in three centuries radically transformed the Roman Empire. Because Change Is Inevitable We Must Be Adaptable. 8:11) b. Another pivotal point in the growth of the church can be found in Acts 10 and 11. Acts 2:41, 47. b. Humanly speaking, the odds were all stacked against it. In a short time the number of the men was 5000 (Acts 4:4). The early church was a growing church. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. Each of us has been impressed with the rapid growth of the early church. Acts 6:7 - And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. Generations of scholars approached this question from different perspectives and with different methods. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, who then went on to baptize 3,000 people were that same day, as recounted in the Book of Acts. In looking at ekklēsia, the Greek word most often translated “church” in Acts, we see churches that are locally self-governed and are supported by energized ministers. “The seed is the word of God” (Lk. Historical research, analysis of early Christian texts and theological reflection were the most Share Share Tweet Tweet Email . The growth of Early Church mirrored the growth of modern organizations in many ways. Paul and the early Church were not at odds with the laws of the Old Testament! Acts 16:5 - So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily. The chart to the right shows the multiplication of churches from the first to the third centuries. 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