It seems that each generation thinks of itself as being smarter than the previous generation. This applies in just about every area of life. Congregations, or many of them anyway, of the Lord’s people think they are more spiritual than previous generations because they spent time in prayer, studying the Scripture, and coming to learn that the previous generation might have been mistaken in their understanding of Scripture.
I bring this up because that which encourages a church to grow today is the same that encouraged a church to grow over 50 years ago. In the February 1957 issue of 20th Century Christian, Mont Whitson offered 6 contributing factors to a church growing. I would like to speak of two of those he mentioned.
First, the local church will grow when people within and without see the spirit of love, unity, and understanding amongst those attending at, in our case, the Highway Church of Christ. The word love pertains to one’s response to God first and foremost (cf. 1 John 5:1-3). The word unity is associated with that which Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, that is, keeping the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3). The word understanding, in my view, is in understanding that we are not all at the same level of spiritual knowledge/understanding (cf. Romans 12:3-8; 14:1-13).
Second, the church grows when the members within are willing to work. That means they are all willing to work. It is not the “job” of the elders, the “job” of the preacher, or the “job” of someone else. It is my job, and yours also (perhaps it is better to say it this way: “It is my privilege and responsibility.”). What is it that you are doing to make a difference in the growth of the congregation? Are you teaching others?
Third, though not mention by brother Whitson, it is certainly worthy of mention – the local church that belongs to the Lord must (not optional) preach and teach the purity of God’s word. There is no room for opinions that correspond to a “thus saith the Lord.” If any man speak, Peter said, let him speak the very words of God (1 Peter 4:11).