Sunday, May 21, 2023

Understanding How the Church Grows—Emulation

By Brian Mitchell


    One of the most important principles for the modern church to seriously consider is how to most effectively to grow. So, if the church is not growing as God designed it to do, then we need to ask ourselves what we are doing to hinder it. Thus, for the last 2 months we have been trying to identify certain marks of a healthy congregation (what they do, where is their focus, what are their priorities, etc?). So that we might be able to determine whether or not we are a healthy congregation and if not what we can to change that. Thus far we have seen that healthy congregations are congregations that: understand the need to help build one another up (edification) and place a high priority on the level of biblical education that is received by all of the members. They are composed of members who understand the need to eliminate worldly habits and worldly members from among their midst (sin in the camp). They consist of those who understand that nothing worth accomplishing comes easy and thus they understand the value of hard work and effort. And finally, they have a solid program of encouragement for all members of the church.

    Healthy churches have a strong emphasis on evangelism which we will discuss next week. And our lesson today, they are composed of members that are devoted to emulating the right examples, the right individuals, and the right qualities in their lives. To emulate means “to try to equal or surpass, to imitate a person or thing admired, to rival successfully.” When it comes to creating a healthy and thus growing church, it is the middle definition that we are particularly interested in.

    For churches to be healthy they must of necessity be composed of members that are healthy and healthy Christians are those who understand who it is that they are trying to become like. The problem that many churches are facing is that some Christians don’t know who or what they are supposed to be like. They are emulating people; their examples, their character, their dress, their speech etc.; but the problem is that the people they are emulating are not worthy of Christian emulation. Thus their dress, speech, character and examples are not worthy of Christian emulation.

    Who are you trying to imitate? If you are more worried about what your family, friends, co-workers, fellows students, friends think about how you look, act, and talk than you are about what God thinks about how you look, act and talk--You have got a BIG problem in your life. Most of which is due to the fact you are trying to impress the wrong people by acting like the wrong people.

    Who are you following? Who are you emulating? Is it the Lord and those who followed Him? Or is it the world and those who live according to the standards of this world? If we want this church to grow we are going to have to show the world that we truly belong to the Lord. And it is not until we do that, that they will have any reason for wanting to be a part of what we are doing.

- Brian Mitchell serves as a minister with the Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, MO. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at

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