The Jerusalem Council became a pivotal point in the history of the early church. Please complete the form below and someone from our team will be in touch with you. As the early Church began expanding, it brought together many different cultures, which was both a challenge and a blessing. Thus, the ministry of the Holy Spirit brought unity to God’s work. The Book of Acts is a narrative about the birth and growth of the early Church. Drawing on his training as a sociologist, Stark has suggested a general growth rate of 3.42% per year, or 40% per decade, in the early church. There was an issue processing your request. “Before time began” God purposed to offer salvation to the world through Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:9). They had not ventured out as Jesus had commanded in Acts 1:8. Thank you for subscribing. Consequently, any Gentile desiring to become a Christian must first become a Jew. These practices are noted in Acts 2:42 and can be seen in many of the congregations started by the apostles in Acts and Paul's letters. 80 Years Ago C. S. Lewis Warned Against Making Faith a Means to a Political End. The Expulsive Power of a New Affection. Justin Taylor | April 2, 2014 . At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, who then went on to baptize 3,000 people were that same day, as recounted in the Book of Acts. Today, missions, driven by western enterprises, see the mission as primarily a multiplication of individuals, as epitomized in parachurch organizations propagating an American “discipleship movement” that focuses on the multiplication of individuals not churches. In the early church, some regarded Christians as Jews who have received Jesus as the promised Saviour. And a great many people were added to the Lord. Acts 19:20 - So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. Early on in the expansion of the churches, it is clear in Acts that networks began to form: the Jerusalem Council, the letter to the churches from the Council, the gift collected for the Jerusalem churches from the Gentiles churches, the network of letters circulated, etc. The church grew, and can grow today, by following in the footsteps of the early church. The early church was a growing church. The chart to the right shows the multiplication of churches from the first to the third centuries. The book of Acts is the story of the explosive world wide growth of the early church. The early church increased in number so dramatically in a relatively short period of time for a variety of reasons. The early church was a growing church. As the gospel shifts in the 20th and 21st centuries to the Global South, especially to Asia in this century, we are quickly returning to the apostolic era. Chap. “The seed is the word of God” (Lk. In a short time the number of the men was 5000 (Acts 4:4). Look at any church budget and you’ll probably find 1 or 2 percent of church funds allocated to benevolence—helping poor people in need. The Great Commission, recorded in the gospel and unfolded in Acts, is a worldwide multiplication of churches. Look again at the growth of the early church in Jerusalem: a. A Spontaneously Expanding Complex Network. In one generation these small churches turned the world upside down and in three centuries radically transformed the Roman Empire. These themes are also experienced as growing pains in modern organizations. the account of the first men who heard the Great Commission and reveals what anyone can B.Acts is a historical and Transitional Bridge. Acts 13:49 - And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. As the Early Church expanded, the shape of the early church networks that emerged is also important to understand as we strive to get back to “the way of Christ and His Apostles.” From a careful study of the New Testament and early church research, we have attempted to map the complex network of the early churches that emerged towards the end of the apostolic age. All rights reserved. We must understand why these churches were so strong and the secret of why they so successfully multiplied across the Roman Empire. The Word of God Increased Only one of these books, the Acts of the Apostles, is in any sense a history of the Church, and that to only a limited degree and for certain phases only of its development (cf. Generations of scholars approached this question from different perspectives and with different methods. This tradition, based on the way of Christ and His Apostles is known as the Antioch Tradition. In looking at ekklēsia, the Greek word most often translated “church” in Acts, we see churches that are locally self-governed and are supported by energized ministers. 3 The Acts of the Apostles • Author: Luke, companion of Paul • Date: c. AD 62-69 • Theme: Written by a Gentile, Acts tells the story of the Early Church and its growth, especially through the work of the Holy Spirit & the ministries of Peter and Paul. As church grew, the Spirit continued to guide in such situations as the ordination of Paul (Acts 9:17), in the welcoming of Gentiles into the church (Acts 10:44–47), in the parting of Barnabas and Paul for missionary work (Acts 13:2–4), in the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:28), and in Paul’s missionary journeys (Acts 16:6, 7). Acts 11:24 - for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. They were devoted to the apostles’ teaching. A simple fact of farm life is that before there can be a harvest the seed must be planted. In Acts, numerical growth is a covenant blessing where God multiplies and increases the number of his people through the ministry of the church. Another pivotal point in the growth of the church can be found in Acts 10 and 11. Acts 6:1 - Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. The question is: Why? Later Luke records that "multitudes both of men and women" were "added to the Lord" (Acts 5:14). Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. In the 3 rd chapter they had just healed the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. The first Jewish proselyte mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles was a governmental administrator from Ethiopia, … Historical research, analysis of early Christian texts and theological reflection were the most Share Share Tweet Tweet Email . The book of Acts presents merely a partial acco… The language of growth in Acts can be grouped into two broad categories: 1) texts that speak of the word of God increasing or spreading 2) texts that speak of the number of disciples increasing. Three thousand were baptized on Pentecost (Acts 2:41). Acts 12:24 - But the word of God increased and multiplied. Paul and the early Church were not at odds with the laws of the Old Testament! Whenever I read through the book of Acts I'm struck with the number of times Luke comments on the growth of the church. Growing a church is not an either-or proposition, evangelism or … While the Christian population of the Empire was a very modest number at the end of the first century, it had grown to encompass more than 10% of the population, or 6,299,832 Christians, by the year 300. The narrative centers on the ministry of Peter and John. Its narrative supplies a bridge connecting the life and ministry of Jesus to the life of the church and the witness of the earliest believers. In Christianity: Church and minorities. The Early Church Growth Bible scriptures located in Acts 2:36-47 explains directly from God's Word the Early Church Growth topic. If a church wants to grow and if Christianity is to spread, believers must devote themselves to their pastor’s or leader’s teachings, they must be devoted to one another in the fellowship of the saints, they need to spend time breaking bread (or eating) together which required spending time with one another, they need to be devoted to ongoing, continual prayer, they need to be sharing with on… © 2009–2020 Ryan Wentzel. Early Church Growth . It is essential that we visit the New Testament afresh in these historic times. The language of growth in Acts can be grouped into two broad categories: 1) texts that speak of the word of God increasing or spreading 2) texts that speak of the number of disciples increasing. The theological substructure of Acts is that growth is God's act; it is his blessing by which he shows his faithfulness to his promises. Because Change Is Inevitable We Must Be Adaptable. Acts 9:31 - So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. It was unthinkable that a small, despised movement from a corner of Palestine could move out to become the dominant faith of the mighty Roman Empire, an empire steeped in fiercely defended traditional pagan religions. The early church's growth was often associated with meeting practical needs. In the first few chapters of Acts we are told how the early church centered her ministries in the city of Jerusalem. It is very important for us to look closely and carefully at this early church-planting movement to discover its success. More By Justin . The spiritual factos of the rapid growth od the church in the book of Acts were the five pusposes of the church from Acts 2: worship, teaching, discipleship, ministry, evangelism and mission. And the church continued to grow. God acts to restore Israel and increase it through his servants. 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