“Church growth is warfare.” – David Abioye
I heard Bishop David Abioye make the above comment at the just concluded international ministers’ conference 2019 and it stirred something in me. What exactly is this warfare about? Is it just about prayers? Is it just about engaging in a fight against forces of darkness that cause people not to desire to be in fellowship? For me, it is something beyond that! It is something beyond wanting people to come to Church meetings and start going out! Jesus didn’t ask us to “call them and win them” He rather asked us to go! How do we go? Where do we go? This is what the fight is all about.
When we preach the gospel, show Jesus via our love walk and win souls, we are fighting! We are marching in our battalions with a weapon of love, a weapon that can’t be marched with anger, hatred, bitterness, ignorance and any kind of weapon that has been fashioned and will ever be fashioned.
We are fighting from the place of victory and we are the offenders and not the defenders! The Church is on a march, pulling down gates and walls and then bidding the un-churched, the rejected, the hopeless, the unworthy and ‘whosoever’ to come! We make the step first, we go out to them, reach out to them and ask them to follow! We don’t just sit in our cosy buildings and announce “well, the door is open. Come check us out!”
“The Church is on a march, pulling down gates and walls and then bidding the un-churched, the rejected, the hopeless, the unworthy and ‘whosoever’ to come!”
They are coming to the life source itself, they are coming to be plugged into the source and become dispensers of life and light! They aren’t just coming to live, they aren’t just coming to have a drink or eat the bread! They become a fountain of overflowing living waters through whom others will drink and have life. Therefore, we must show Jesus in words and in deeds because we are in warfare!
You don’t finish your harvest and leave the farm produce at the farm! You take your yam to the barn, you take your grain to where it will be safe and in the same way, after reaching out to souls out there, you bring them to a place of nurturing and growth! This is the purpose that our Church gatherings serve. We don’t leave our harvest in the open, we take them in, train them and make them ready to be enlisted as senior officers of our armed forces who can stand in the war front!
“You don’t finish your harvest and leave the farm produce at the farm!”
With love, we are running a cheap but effective model of advertisement and we are showing the world what exactly is obtainable in Christ. The vulnerable should come to fellowships and feel a love that protects, the uncultured should come to fellowships and see a love that changes people patiently from the inside out! The hungry should come to church and see a love that feeds him or her to the full! The Church should be popular for love!
Love is a peaceful weapon of war with which we pull down strongholds. Our campaign is that of love, our expression is love and our resources for growth is love! You think it is the night clubs, the awesome technicalities of secularism, the ease of life and permissibility of excesses that keeps people in the world? No, it is simply the degree to which they haven’t experienced this love that keeps them away from ever wanting to be in fellowship! This isn’t about growing a name, a denomination, loyalists to man or achieving fame with numbers. It is about pursuing an increase, an increase which is the crowing of our willingness to walk the walk of Christ, it is about the body of Christ in the generic sense and it is about raising people who are loyal to Christ.
“You think it is the night clubs, the awesome technicalities of secularism, the ease of life and permissibility of excesses that keeps people in the world? No, it is simply the degree to which they haven’t experienced this love that keeps them away from ever wanting to be in fellowship!”
How to fight more is to love more! How to be a fierce fighter is to be a fierce lover. How to be an unapologetic fighter is to be unapologetic about our stand in God’s love. You see them in their worst? Say to them “there is a better place for you, a place of rest and freedom. That place is Christ!” This is how to fight! Church growth is warfare.