We are looking at how the early Church grew. Last time we looked at public proclamation and private conversations. There were two other normal-to-life ways of seeing people hear the Gospel of the Kingdom and thus enter into the Kingdom as born again believers…. Power encounters and the proliferation of new house churches. Let’s look at these two today.
Power encounters: A common feature accompanying both public proclamation and private evangelist conversation was supernatural healing and exorcism, and the moving of revelatory gifts such as a word of wisdom and word of knowledge. These are sometimes referred to today as “power encounters”.
There are several stirring New Testament reports of large groups responding positively to the message brought by Christians because of the miracles that were done by God through their hands. In a typical episode, so much healing and demonic deliverance was wrought through the apostles’ hands in Jerusalem that large crowds were even gathering from neighbouring cities. Some were laying their sick on the ground in the street hoping that Peter’s shadow would pass over them and heal them. Consequently, there was a steady stream of people continually added to the Church.
Planting and multiplying new house churches: Lastly, although never stated explicitly, whenever a house church grew to exceed the physical limitations of the host home, it is safe to conclude that Christians would simply multiply the group into two or send a few people out to start a new home church. This is the most probable scenario because the first-century church never owned any property or constructed any buildings. This can be inferred by the fact that a given town or city (Jerusalem, Ephesus, and Rome) contained numerous homes that hosted Christian meetings.
So, the early Church grew by four basic, regular life means… Public proclamation, Private conversations, Power encounters, and Proliferation of new churches. The same should be true today if we will simply venture forth in faith and “go into all the world” telling others about Jesus and making disciples.
Next time – the first-century Church as a movement