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I start this post with a caveat: I believe in the historical understanding of Church Growth, marked by evangelism that necessarily resulted in disciples in the local church. I affirm, for example, the words of church growth writers Donald McGavran and Win Arn from the 1970s: “. . . we deceive ourselves if we believe that a person who has made a decision for Christ, who has prayed, ‘I accept Jesus Christ into my life,’ has truly become a disciple. We must make sure that he or she really follows Christ, really lives as a disciple. . . . We do well to use the more biblical concept of disciple and to evaluate our effectiveness in that context.”
On the other hand, I also think it’s wise to be aware of these cautions about church growth:
1. Growing a Crowd.
It’s possible to grow a crowd, but not a church. A group of people who gather on Sunday are not automatically a New Testament church – even if the word “church” is in their name.
2. Growth and God’s blessings.
Growth is not necessarily a sign of God’s blessing. A crowd might increase even when the gospel is not preached. Higher numbers might be the product of God’s work, but they’re not a guarantee.
3. Growth by Transferring Members.
Growth resulting only from transferring members can be deceptive. Of course, transferring one’s membership to another congregation is exactly the right move in some cases. Churches that grow only through that means, though, are often lulled to sleep evangelistically.
4. Evangelism without discipleship.
Even when the church is growing, evangelism without discipleship is not fully biblical church growth. Making disciples (Matt. 28:18-20) includes not only reaching non-believers, but also equipping believers to carry out the work of the gospel (Eph 4:11-12).
5. Discipleship without Evangelism.
Likewise, discipleship without evangelism is not fully biblical church growth. My generation focused more on evangelism (though we didn’t do it well), to the neglect of discipleship. I fear that the young generation today is overcorrecting our omission by emphasizing discipleship to the neglect of evangelism.
6. Church Growth Attendance.
Church growth attendance numbers are not enough. I’m not opposed to numerical evaluation; in fact, I think we don’t ask enough numerical questions. Attendance matters, but so does the number of attenders who genuinely model Christ. And the number who share their faith and invest in believers. And the number who are growing in their spiritual disciplines and serving in the church. And the number of members we send out to take the gospel around the world. And the number of parents who are teaching their children the Word of God. And, I could go on and on. . . . Accountability matters, and numbers are one means to move in that direction.
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7. Growing Adams and Not Christ.
It is possible to grow an Adams and not Christ’s Church. As I look round today, I see lot of what we call church growth as purely a gathering of people that are truly estranged from God. Simply because we make human efforts to please God, receive from Him even in our sinful and disobedient state of heart and life. That is the church of Adam. While Christ’s church consist only of those that truly repents, live Godly and shows HIM to others by their lives and works.
Whose Church are you growing?
By Francis Akin-John.
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I was raped by a supposed friend (someone I thought I could trust). Left in shame and shock I could not tell anyone about my ordeal. I kept it to myself and went about my normal life.
Some weeks later after I came back from a vigil I started feeling weak so I went to a nearby hospital and ran some tests. To my greatest Shock I tested positive to pregnancy.
I told the man involved who after much plea convinced me to have an abortion which will be kept a secret.
I went in for an abortion however before the procedure I asked God to forgive me for what I was about to do and in the process I died, I left my body. Still looking at the lifeless form on the abortion table, I started ascending but in a flash a force pulled me down through a dark tunnel. I could not see the beginning or the end of the walls of the tunnel. It was dark, so dark, I saw cobweb like cells on the walls and in an instant I was in HELL.
I saw a woman who had been there for over a hundred years, she was in deep pain and agony, she would melt in the flames and the magma like liquid will come back together in the form of the woman. It occurred repeatedly. I knew I was in hell.
I began to burn and burn, I felt like pulling out my hair form its roots, because the pain was unbearable. It was as if my senses where magnified over a thousand times. The agony of the burns was not enough. The scream of people under the same torment was worse, it was so loud that I felt I would go deaf but they kept resonating in my ears.
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I began to scream, the more I screamed the weaker I got but the screams only got louder while I was getting weaker. I gnashed my teeth but no form of all these expressions made me feel better…it only got worse, beyond description. I was in deep torment.
The worse feeling was not just the pain, the noise, the screams or the pungent smell. It was the feeling of HOPELESSNESS/TOTAL DAMNATION. I WAS CONDEMNED FOREVER. I knew I was in HELL forever and ever. There was no way out. I began to cry out to God for mercy.
At a point Jesus appeared and I wept the more. I asked Him to please give me one SECOND out of hell to just scream Jesus is Lord and die again. Jesus replied, “how many seconds are in a minute, how many minutes are in an hour, how many hours are in a day, how many days are in a week, how many weeks are in a month and how many months are in a year and how many years have you lived on earth?” I have given you all the seconds in your living years yet you failed me.
I wept more and asked Him to have mercy and please give me another chance to go and tell the world about HELL. I pleaded with the Lord to give me a chance even if I return to the world without my hands or my legs at least let there be breath in my nostrils. I had a better understanding of the adage that a living dog is better than a dead lion. I even promised to tell the world of my ordeal if He delivers my soul from the torment in HELL.
He replied,’ many have gone from here to tell them, what makes you think they will believe you but I kept pleading for a second chance and as I was weeping and gnashing my teeth.
Jesus had mercy on me but warned me sternly that if I did not preach I would end up in hell. He said, ‘tell my people to stop playing games with me’. At that point I woke up in the hospital room.
At first she I scared of sharing my horrific ordeal because I was concerned about my reputation but finally opened up when I came in contact with Dominion City under Pastor David Ogbueli’s ministration.
WHAT IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY COST?
If you are reading this post that means you have a chance to make a change and reconcile with God or if you are lukewarm it’s time to stop playing games with God.
Words alone cannot tell of my torment in hell or the torment of those in hell.
HELL is not a myth, a story, OR a figment of someone’s imagination, HELL IS A REAL PLACE.
A place you would not even wish for your enemies or those who have hurt you most.
(Heb 9:27 ~ And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgement.)
If we recognize that all earthly things are someday going to be stripped away from us, then the craving for material possessions will matter far less to us now. We should turn away from physical indulgence, for earthly pleasure leaves no permanent gratification.
(2 Peter 3:11 ~ Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness)
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– We should stop giving excuses for God’s work
– We should imitate Christ
– Find out our purpose on earth and fulfil it
– Be part of the move of God in this last days
– Have a consistent walk with the Holy Spirit.
If you are blessed by this testimony, please share.
The influence of America and her culture on the church in Nigeria is monumental. Although Christianity did not come from America, America was as gentile as Nigeria as far as the salvation programme of God is concerned, people here have come to see America as the standard of Christianity. Any minister of God who travels to America to preach, even though to less than two dozen people, leaving the hundreds of brethren in his congregation behind is considered a big and successful minister of God.
Here we have adopted the American style of worship. Our musical instruments are American; our lyrics are American. Our ministers dress American; some even mimic popular American preachers sounding miserable in the process.
When our brothers, (Americana pastors) came back from America, they began to tell us that it no longer matter for our sisters to cover their heads in prayer meetings. Everybody (except some few “conservatives”) said yes; America cannot be wrong. Later they told us that since women wear trousers to church in America, it no longer matter for sisters here to do same. Everybody complied; America cannot be wrong! Recently, men come to church with braided hair while women come with “skin” haircut, many are in church with tattoo and men wear ear rings. We all sing, jump and shout together in church in the American way; these things do not matter because that is what they do in America and America cannot be wrong!
Now American men are marrying themselves in church and their women are doing the same. Soon American churches will be full of couples who are Mr Wood and Mr Wood married legally in the church and Mrs and Mrs Stones married together. America is always right! That is the position here!
Soon in Nigeria, shall also see Olu and Ade, two brothers in the church as couple, one in the choir and the other an usher?
I hope America will be wrong for once and something will really matter to the church in Nigeria!
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Soon it will no longer matter in America for Mr Coal to marry his dog and for Miss Bush to marry her horse. Then, I hope it will matter to the church in Nigeria!
Brethren, for how long will the culture of America be the culture of the church? The “name it and claim it” faith movement came from America; also, the capitalistic Christianity where wealth is used to measure God’s approval. Where is America leading the churches in our land?
Our bishops and reverends, I hope that after your next trip to America, homosexuality will still be a sin; I hope it will still matter?
We do not need any prophet again to know that the trumpet of the home call will sound any moment from now. How ready are you?
I hope the matter of eternity still matter to you?
(If it matters to you, share this message with those that matter in your life)
Think on these things and may God give you understanding in Jesus name.
IF THIS HAS INSPIRED YOU,PLEASE SHARE!!!
Bishop T.D. Jakes, founding pastor of The Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas, remarks on the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage during a service on Sunday, June 28, 2015.
Jakes informed worshipers at The Potter’s House in Dallas that he had been “bombarded” by various people wanting to know his thoughts on the Supreme Court’s ruling last Friday that state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional.
“I’m not really as concerned about this as a lot of people are” said Jakes during service on Sunday, according to a video excerpt of his remarks published online.
“I’m really not as concerned about it.
I think that we should not lose our mind about the world being the world and the Church being the Church.
This is not a news flash. The world is gonna be the world and the Church is gonna be the Church, and you have to understand the difference.”
The influential megachurch pastor, bestselling author and film producer went on to explain to his congregation that the Supreme Court, as a worldly institution, has one job to uphold the rights of all Americans.
“The Supreme Court is there to make a decision based on constitutional rights and legalities that fit all Americans. They are not debating Scripture,” he said, which led to applause from the congregation.
“They are just not debating Scripture,” Jakes repeated. “I guarantee you that they were not in there looking at Romans 1 and First Corinthians this and weighing it against the policies.”
“We have bought into all this rhetoric about America being a Christian nation” Jakes said.
He went on to suggest that indeed America has a lot of Christians in it, but the country is governed as a democracy and not by theocratic principles.
“But what we do need to watch is that our religious freedom is also respected and protected so that we don’t have to get caught up in the winds of the world and go the way the world is going,” Jakes added. “So we need to watch that as we grapple with an ever- changing society, and our society is becoming more and more pluralistic.”
“There’s nothing to say that Christianity will be the dominant religion in this country.
I hope it will. It’s up to us,” he added, going on to say that Christians have “stopped witnessing” and “stopped winning souls” and continue to isolate themselves from people who do not “believe like we believe.”
That runs against what Jesus commanded His followers to do, he insisted, adding, “Jesus said go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every living creature.”
“So we need to change as a Church too.
We need to start reaching out to all types of people and preaching to them and ministering to them and sharing our faith with them. I don’t mean on Sunday morning. I mean in the mall, I mean in the grocery store, I mean while you’re getting your hair done. It’s time for you to be a real Christian.
I mean a real Christian, and win people to Jesus Christ. And you can start in your own house,”Jakes admonished his flock and the countless others watching the service via livestream.
Jakes, 58, rounded up his remarks by informing worshippers that “God is still in control” and giving them a stern warning about God’s judgement.
“The Supreme Court makes its decisions based on the Constitution, debating the
constitutionality of any particular issue.
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But I must warn you, God does not judge you by the Constitution. He judges you by the Word of God. So while the Supreme Court is looking at the Constitution, you better search the Scriptures …,” Jakes said.
At a time when the church has become a ground for entertainment, we need revival. At a time when a music minister competes and compares himself with secular musician, we need a revival. At a time when the altar of God is used for comedy, we need a revival. At a time when a successful minister of the Gospel is measured by how rich he is and not how much impact he is making, we need a revival. At a time, when passion for souls have been replaced with fashion parade in the church, we need a revival. At a time when motivational speaking has replaced biblical preaching, we need a revival. At a time when you really cannot differentiate between a daughter of Zion and an harlot, we need a revival. At a time when pastors kill each other for posting and higher position, we need a revival. At a time when modern preachers now tell us that JESUS is not coming soon, we need a revival. At a time when packaging and special effect has replaced the beauty of God’s glory, we need a revival. At a time when sexual sin is referred to as weakness and the grace of God is taken for granted, we need a revival. At a time when prophets prophecy using demonic powers as livelihood, we need a revival. At a time when the church does not know the difference between witchcraft spirit and the Holy Spirit, we need a revival. At a time when filling the seats in our place of worship has become a priority than raising disciples of Jesus, we need revival. At a time when sinners feel comfortable in our churches and saints feel no sense of urgency to preach the good news to the lost, we need revival. At a time when pastors are more concerned about how much money members give than how much the members truly love the LORD, we need revival. At a time when the word of God is scarce and the fire on the altar is going out, and the priests have become blind, the watchmen sleeping, and holiness is no longer our standard, we need a revival. We need a revival not a programs. We need a re-awakening of our souls and a new awareness of the power of God. We do not need another jamboree but true repentance coupled with a changed life. We do not need another noise, we need a shaking and a mighty rushing wind. We do not need another movement, we need a reformation. We need the Lord to come again and restore us unto himself. We need the Lord to open our eyes again that we may see Him. We want to see His Holiness again that we may see our depravity. We need a genuine outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we are tired of speaking in tongues and not living Christ-like. There is no other desire that we have than to hear again the same voice that spoke in the valley of dry bones to bring us back to life. Our nations are in darkness, yet we are the light. We cannot pretend anymore, we need to activate the power of holy ghost and he will re-awaken us. He will revive us again because we do not see our signs and wonders has done by the apostles of JESUS , there are only few JESUS prophets in churches, some are not even recognized. let us pray that God should have mercy upon us! And revive us again! Peace be unto you. Revival must hit the earth in this last day please be prepared! God bless you!