Paul as church planter 16
“So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily”, Acts 16:5.
Paul was visiting the churches he planted earlier. What he saw made him glad. The churches were growing, both in quality (strengthened in the faith) and quality (in numbers).
These are two things a church planter wants to see. It is a danger to be focused on reaching new people so much, that you are not giving enough attention to building up the existing members in the faith. It is no less a danger to be so busy teaching the believers that there is little evangelism going on.
Personally I tend to make the first mistake. I have a strong urge to share the Gospel. When people come to the Lord, I am tempted to think: ‘You believe, you have the Bible, you have the Holy Spirit. Great! I’m on to the next one.’ I realize more and more that is a recipe for disaster.
Others, who have a more pastoral heart, are so concerned about the members of the church that they can easily expend all their energy inside the church. The rest of the world disappears largely from view. But a good church planter knows how to strike a balance. A young church needs both: being strengthened in the faith and increase in numbers. A bush with the roots of an oak tree is ridiculous. An oak with the roots of a bush will topple.
The most beautiful thing is when a growing faith in the Lord Jesus leads to a growing desire to share the Gospel. A church like that is an oak tree with oak tree roots.
How does grow in the faith lead to sharing the Gospel for you?