(Mark 6:35-44) The story of Jesus feeding the five thousand men gives us six church growth principles.
To fail to plan is to plan to fail. One of the reasons churches stop growing is that we can’t find any more people like ourselves.
The disciples gave up on the multitude before they checked their resources. Just because we can’t do everything is no excuse for us to do nothing. Jesus challenged them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” We need to check our resources and see what God has given us. Many churches fail to grow because they never develop a plan. It is a part of our responsibility to create a plan of action. Small churches can do anything large churches can do if they will do two things: (a) plan, (b) work together. Small thinking keeps churches from growing.
The greatest gift in any congregation isn’t money; it’s the gifts God has given their people. Many times, the greatest gifts are with our youth. We must help our children discover their gifts and bring them to Jesus. Somebody believed and invested in the little boy, and he was the key to feeding the multitude.
Never treat a gift as small. When Andrew brought the little boy to Jesus he said, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” (John 6:9) He was overlooking the boy’s gift because he saw it as small. In reality, the boy’s gift was the key to feeding the multitude.
Churches have a terrible reputation for giving people assignments without giving them the training to help them fulfill the assignment. That’s not good leadership. One of the leader’s greatest tasks is “equipping the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12) It’s our job as spiritual leaders to equip our people for the work of ministry.
Why do athletes have coaches and practice? The answer is simple. They want to win. The apostle Paul says, “They do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we an imperishable crown.” (I Corinthians 9:25) We should train our people to win.
Good leaders are always looking for people to train, getting them involved at the right place, giving them the training they need to be successful, and finally releasing them to do the work of ministry. Never forget, some of the best training is on-the-job training. People learn best by doing, not simply listening and watching us.
Too many pastors are good men, but not good leaders. So many pastors and their people believe the job of the pastor is to do the spiritual work of the church. That isn’t true. Our greatest assignment is equipping the saints to do the work. The main reason churches don’t grow is one person is trying to do all the spiritual work.
Jesus taught His disciples to do the work of ministry.