If a church is able to make a real difference in the life of a community, people will question why the church cares. Though the original aim may have been to reach out in love with practical support, one of the results is likely to be that people start asking about the Christian faith. This may bring growth in the church.

When the church encourages the practical outworking of the love of Jesus, we should not be surprised at the number of people who seek a relationship with God. Be prepared for growth! Be prepared too for new members with needs that may not fit comfortably into existing structures or services. Be prepared for God to do ‘new things’!

Churches may need to modify their structures and way of doing things to meet new needs for worship and prayer. Churches that have invested time in training up new leaders will find themselves better prepared for growth. Church leadership should be flexible enough to alter existing ways of worship, add new services or take services out into new areas. Leaders of growing churches must take great care to spend enough time with God, deepening their own prayer life and study of the Bible in order to cope with the demands placed on them.

Discussion 
  • Think back over the past five years. Has our church membership reduced, remained about the same, or has it increased? Can we explain why this is happening? What would we like to happen?
  • What are the most important needs of new Christians? How can we meet these better?
  • Read Acts 6:1-7 where we learn of how the early church coped with the demands of growth.
    • What complaints were made and by whom?
    • How did the disciples (the leadership) deal with this problem?
    • What was the result of their solution to dealing with growth?
  • Growth can be really encouraging – but it can also bring problems. Discuss how our church would manage if numbers doubled within the next year. What support and change might be needed? What would be the biggest challenge?
  • Read Mark 2:21-22. Discuss how best to repair an old, much loved item of clothing. When Jesus talks about the new un-shrunk piece of material he is likely to be referring to new believers fitting into the traditional structures.
    • Wine was kept in leather wineskins. What happens to old leather?
    • What is new wine like when the yeast is added?
    • Are new believers sometimes like new wine? What may happen as they join the church?
  • Discuss possible ways to meet changes brought about by the new work the church is doing.