The Church Grows

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Section 1: Opening Prayer

Let us pray. O God, you have promised through your Son
that where two or three are gathered together in his name,
you will be in the midst of them.
Send your light into the hearts of all
who are seeking your presence in their lives.
Bless new relationships that are being formed.
Move among us this day,
and help us to see where your Spirit is leading us in the days ahead.
Strengthen us with your word and at your table,
so that we may know and bear witness to your love in our lives;
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

From Sundays and Copyright 2015 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #47913.

Section 2: Story

How do things grow?

Can we just add water and good soil to the church and have it grow?

Section 3: Message

Full Definition of GROW intransitive verb

1 a :; to spring up and develop to maturity
b :  to be able to grow in some place or situation <trees that grow in the tropics>
c :  to assume some relation through or as if through a process of natural growth <ferns growing from the rocks>

2 a :  to increase in size by assimilation of material into the living organism or by accretion of material in a non-biological process (as crystallization)
b :  increase, expand <grows in wisdom>

3 :  to develop from a parent source <the book grew out of a series of lectures>

4 a :  to pass into a condition :  become <grew pale>
b :  to have an increasing influence <habit grows on a person>
c :  to become increasingly acceptable or attractive <didn’t like it at first, but it grew on him>

So how does the church Grow?

Does it spring up?

Does it mature?

Does it expand?

Read here in Acts 2:37-47 how the church grows:

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’ Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.’ And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

These verses tell us how the church grew at the beginning and how the church can grow now.

Believers gather together, and have all things in common. They sell all of their possessions and goods and distribute to all as they are in need. They spend all day together in the temple, they eat together in their homes and are generous with what they have to share. They are always praising God and having goodwill towards all people.

And when they did this, God added to their numbers day by day.

The church grew because God was working in and through the people to bring growth.

They lived in relationships with each other and the world around them.

The church grew then because God did it.

Part 4: Learn and Engage

– What are 3 things you learned?
– What is 1 question you still have?
– What part of the lesson did you most identify with?
– What part of the lesson was hardest for you?
– Where have you seen God this week?

Part 5: Closing Prayer

Let us pray. Almighty God, your Holy Spirit equips the church with a rich variety of gifts.
We give you thanks for the gifts you have given us
and we ask your blessing upon them
as we seek your will and advance the work of the gospel.
Help us to see how we can best be in partnership with one another,
and bring forth rich fruit from our ministries.
In all that we do, grant that we may use your gifts
to bear witness to Christ in lives that are built on faith and love,
so that the world may see in us the unity and mutual care
that is your will for all people;
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

From Sundays and Copyright 2015 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #47913.