There are many strategies being promoted to help churches grow, but David Wheaton says the most effective model comes directly from how God organized the very first Christians.

“Remember that Christ said I will build my Church. He is the only one who builds a church; it’s not built through human ingenuity. The early church (in Acts) was the model of that: it didn’t grow by tweaking methodology, it grew by preaching the full council of God, the Gospel.”

In his review of John MacArthur’s message, “How Does The Church Grow?” presented at Shepherds’ Conference 2017, Wheaton says the early church had a different focus than many churches do today. They were primarily a community of the faithful, rather than a vehicle of outreach.

“The early church grew because it had a regenerate congregation. In other words, the congregation were believers. Attracting unbelievers to a building is not a church– it’s an event.”

“I think this is one of the fundamental misunderstandings of evangelicals, that the church has to be geared to how we attract outsiders, how do we attract the world to come in? The church is supposed to be for believers, and if an unbeliever wants to come in from outside, that’s great!”

In Acts 2, we see thousands of people believing in Jesus’ resurrection, being baptized by the Apostles, and then congregating together for four reasons.

“They were continually devoting themselves to the Apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, breaking of bread or communion, and prayer (Acts 2:42).”

“Those are the four pillars of what a church should do, and when a church gets away from that, starts gearing it towards unbelievers, that’s not a correct theology or doctrine of Christ’s body.”


David Wheaton is an author, radio host, and former professional tennis player. He’s also the host of The Christian Worldview, a weekly, nationally-syndicated radio program that airs on 150 stations. In addition, David is a contributing columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and a sought-after speaker.

How does the Church grow?

Leave a comment

Have someting to add? Login or quickly create an account to leave a comment.

Grow deeper and be encouraged

Sign up to receive our top articles delivered to your inbox each month.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.