How the Church Grew in the Early Days
During 30-100 A.D. the church grew in number and influence. What was the factor behind the growth? Edward Gibbons, a historian documented the growth of the church during the Apostolic Age and beyond in his work, ” The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” Mr. Gibbons who is not a Christian attributed the growth to 5 factors:
1. The zeal of the Christians.
It is true, zeal and passion is contagious. Christians are to be the most contagious people in the world. We have been transformed by the gospel – we need to display the passion of our Savior. Something to ponder: Are you zealous for Jesus and His church?
2. The doctrine of the immortality of the soul.
It is one of the most powerful word – “DESTINY”. When Pastor Rick Warren wrote his bestselling book Purpose Driven Life – it was to answer the question of all questions: What on Earth am I here for? Is there more to this life?
3. The miraculous powers attributed to the primitive church
The early church and the disciples moved in signs and wonder. The supernatural became natural. It reminds me of Mark 16.
15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
4. The pure morality of the first Christians.
The disciples did not just preach the word – they lived it out. They walk the talk. They were Jesus people who were Christlike. It is authentic Christianity.
5. The unity and community of the church
The spirit of honor and unity was present. They saw the big picture. There was no Peter’s ministry or Paul’s turf. They were in one accord. There were no artificial harmony. When there was something to fight and debate with – they do it and they remain friends after.
Also the local church was in full force. There were proper lines if authority. The office of the apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelist where set in place. People who were empowered where commissioned by the local church thus receiving their covering from the local church.