Evidence matters. It matters in research papers, in the courtroom, on the news, and in churches. Evidence matters because it reveals what we know, what we’ve done, or who we are. In this series, I am focusing in on that last one – who we are – in an effort to expound on the evidence of a biblically minded church (Read Part 1).
What is a Biblically Minded Church?
By a biblically minded church, I mean a church that is centered on God’s Word, so much so that God’s Word influences the way it thinks and the things it does.
What is the Evidence of a Biblically Minded Church?
I believe there is, at least, four pieces evidence of a Biblically Minded church in Colossians 1:3-14. The second piece of evidence we come across tells us,
(2) A Biblically Minded Church is Focused on Spiritual Growth
Usually, when a church talks about growth, it is referring to its numerical growth. It’s not necessarily wrong to talk about numerical growth. We all want to be a part of a church that is growing numerically. There is something exciting about new visitors coming through the door and new members joining. If you think about it, a church has to grow numerically in order for it to survive and do the work of ministry.
Numerical Growth Can’t Be Our Primary Focus
Here is the thing, however, we can’t just focus on numerical growth. We also, and more importantly, have to focus on spiritual growth. In fact, I believe spiritual growth has to be our primary focus because I believe focusing on spiritual growth is the biblical approach. I mean, think about it: Jesus, the disciples, and the apostles weren’t primarily focused on growing a big church, rather they were focused on growing people spiritually.
Reading through the gospels, it is clear Jesus’ primary focus was spiritual growth. He wasn’t there to make people feel comfortable or to entertain them. Instead, He confronted them with their sin. He demanded His disciples deny themselves and follow Him. He demanded folks be willing to die for the spread of the gospel. With that in mind, I believe it is safe to say Jesus wasn’t necessarily focused on physical growth, but rather spiritual growth.
In our focus text, it is evident Paul wasn’t focused so much on the Colossians physical growth, as he was their spiritual growth. In verse 9, his desire is that they be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, that they would have spiritual wisdom and understanding. In verse 10, he continues by telling them that he desires that they walk in a manner worthy of God, that they would bear fruit in every good work, and that they would increase in their knowledge of God. Then in verse 11, his desire is that they would have endurance, patience, and joy. So Paul’s focus is the spiritual growth of the Colossians.
Spiritual growth must be our focus as well. We must have a strong desire to see our fellow church members grow spiritually.
Spiritual Growth Will Produce Physical Growth
Focusing on spiritual growth doesn’t necessarily mean your church won’t grow physically. Rather I believe as we focus on growing spiritually, the church will inevitably grow physically. A community of believers who are growing in their love for God, one another, and their neighbors are attractive. As a result, it will win people to Christ and to its fellowship.
I believe, then, the key to growing a church is not to focus on its numerical growth, but rather its spiritual growth.
The Benefits of Focusing on Spiritual Growth
When we focus on growing spiritually, instead of physically, we are freed up to take a stand on our beliefs, to confront others about their sin, and to preach the true gospel. We are free to do those things because our primary concern is not entertaining, it’s not making people feel comfortable, or even keeping people happy so they will stay at our church. Instead, our primary concern is their spiritual growth. Sometimes, for people to grow spiritually, they have to be confronted, which means they will probably feel a little uncomfortable. We have to be ok with them being uncomfortable for a time because we know helping them grow spiritually is what’s best for them.
Honestly, if someone is a true believer, even though it may hurt at times, they will accept correction because they know that is what’s best for them, and that you love them because you are concerned with their growth in Christ.
Questions for Reflection
- Are you a part of a church that seeks its people’s spiritual growth over their comfort?
- Have you witnessed physical growth as your church has sought spiritual growth?
Post adapted from my sermon Are We A Biblically Minded Church?