In our modern world of apathetic worship-goers and millennial church drop-outs, it seems incredible to us that there could ever have been a time when a church was growing by thousands per day. The Church of Christ was ready to work together in her mission to reach the lost with the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The Development of the Early Church Introduction 1 I. Christ built a team to develop the church 2 A. Christ said He would build the church B. Christ developed a team of disciples to develop the church C. Christ built the team that He would use to lay the foundation (Christ gave them Four Calls and a Commission) 1. In the first few chapters of Acts we are told how the early church centered her ministries in the city of Jerusalem. The church's influence on composition was extremely significant leading up to the Baroque Era. There are many today who do not believe in the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus. As Rodney Stark, a sociologist of religion who has written extensively on the topic, put it: “ How did a tiny and obscure messianic movement from the edge of the Roman Empire dislodge classical paganism and become the dominant faith of Western civilization?”. Christianity was identified at first with Judaism, but people quickly came to see it as a different religion. 4. James taught, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world" (James 1:27). Therefore, the church grew and expanded as a largely Gentile community from 49 to 54 A.D. The book of Acts tells us on that day the God of Heaven launched the Church of Christ. This section covers topics such as the Didache, Constantine’s conversion, the Council at Nicea, and the teachings of Augustine.. Even without any knowledge of medical science, the simple act of providing food, water, and shelter to sick people vastly improved survival rates in times of widespread disease. Four Reasons Why Early Christianity Grew So Quickly. Over time, the Christian church and faith grew more organized. The early church grew because they prayed « Believing Prayer, Theology trumps methodology | Gospel Progress Mission Group, 16 things you need to know about yourself, NBC author tells funny joke about the president elect, Uncomfortable problems the church needs to talk about (1), The Amazing Enduring Perseverance of the Apostle Paul. By. With each election, the Religious Right’s impact grew. ), and to care for the most vulnerable members of society: little babies. Our remarks for this article will come from Acts 4. The article that follows explores the history of persecution of the early church, some of the reasons behind it, and two important Christian responses to persecution: the glorification of martyrdom and the writings of the apologists. If we can recapture the prayer life of the early church we can better stimulate church growth. It makes the church and her mission strong. Let the world know what Jesus means to us. Though small … Let’s lift up Jesus to a dying world. It used to be that great preaching and great music grew a church. That is, most people in that age strongly believed in God, heaven and hell, and the Catholic Church was the center of that belief. If we are willing to learn from the experiences of the early church, we can have church growth. 1 Persecution in the Early Church Reasons Stages Impact St. Blandina exposed to wild beasts The Amphitheater at Lyon The Church of Saint Blandina at Lyons Reasons for Persecution Jewish Persecution ° Most common in the New Testament period, when Christianity was a sect of Judaism. The Second Great Awakening, which spread religion through revivals and emotional preaching, sparked a number of reform movements. We are on a mission to inspire Orthodox Christians Worldwide. China). Most people in the … Over time, the Christian church and faith grew more organized. Many blamed him for his conduct. The early rise of Islam (632-700) The Muslim community spread through the Middle East through conquest, and the resulting growth of the Muslim … We believe in it so widely nowadays, at least on a theoretical level, only because Christianity incorporated it so successfully into the very being of Western civilization over centuries. Early Christians expected suffering. In The Rise of Christianity, Stark does the math, and shows that a social movement numbering only 1,000 people in 40 A.D. could easily grow to 25 or even 35 million by the fourth century, despite all of the challenges of the ancient world — if the members of the movement lived according to the principles spelled out above. It is a recognized leader in the Orthodox Media field and has sustained consistent growth over twenty-two years. There are several principal reasons for the decline of the Catholic Church. from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and is a Ph.D. candidate in theology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. 1st Under Nero A.D. 54-68 When Nero who had his wife and mother killed burned Rome, it lasted 9 days. We must know what we believe and why. The early Christians didn’t attend church, they were the Church; an active, energized body of believers equipped to change the world. The Church Planting Alliance of South Africa published a handbook in 2000 intended to encourage, equip, and guide church planters, pastors, intercessors, and denominational leaders toward the strategic challenge of saturation church planting in South Africa and beyond. The total number of Christians martyred in the early church is unknown. The early church spread across the known world. The resurrection of Jesus demonstrated that God’s power was greater than that of Satan. ©2020 Orthodox Christian Network. Ten Major Persecutions of the Early Church. Jesus proved Himself to be the Christ through the resurrection. The church of the early Middle Ages. If we are willing to see how the early church existed among the Jewish, Roman, and Greek cultures, and implement their techniques, we too, can experience church growth. The mission of the church at its best throughout the centuries has been an outward mission focused on … Social networks The growth of the African Church in particular is jaw-dropping. In fact, it could be the rebirth of the church based on God’s movement and … Ignoring the other contributing factors has the unfortunate consequence of breeding complacency: if modern Christians think that the early Church’s growth was “merely” miraculous, then there’s little to learn and nothing to do. He considered both personal purity and serving others as essential in the church. Therein, we shall see a church that grew by right doing, dedication to the gospel message, a faithfulness to God.. Jesus and his disciples were all Jews. In this passage we see the boldness of the apostles. When debates between the different factions of the faith became evident, bishops would meet in a synod to discuss the various points of issue; eventually the synod became an annual event. Having looked briefly at the tabernacle and temple in the OT, and the church in the Gospels and … Describe the factors that enabled the church to grow so quickly, both in numbers and in geographical extent. Members of the early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). To be faithful to God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ requires more than coming to Church; it also entails being the Church — that body of God’s adopted children called to manifest His love in the world. Christianity gave much needed dignity to human … The early Roman churches were dominated and led by Jewish disciples of Jesus. And, more recently, the church in China blossomed during the twentieth century despite tremendous persecution. For that reason, as Christianity grew, it destroyed all competition in its wake. In their zeal, they promoted the militant reclamation of once-Christian lands—first of Iberia in the … Seraphim Danckaert is Director of Mission Advancement at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary. It will also help us work for the unity of all believers in Christ. It also sent a powerful message of solidarity to those pagans who happened to receive a helping hand. | Powered by: Worship LIVE Streaming Services Around the World, Part XII – Hold Fast to Your Boundaries—Truth, Part XI—Hold Fast to Your Boundaries—Honesty, Sts. When Claudius expelled all Jews from the city of Rome, however, only the Gentile Christians remained. Although persecution was not a willfully invited reason but rather one that was forced upon them, it is clear that despite hostility and persecution, Christianity continued to grow exponentially across the Roman Empire. Another reason the argument appears to work is that we don't take the time to talk about what it means for the church to thrive. Sadly, that includes some who claim to be Christians. Describe particularly the influences from Judaism, Greek culture, and the Roman empire. The early church declared that Jesus was the hope of the world. And, in the end, healthy things grow. Although the Roman church was always highly respected, the churches in the East generally had more numbers and more authority than those of the West. Athanasios and Cyril – Stay Faithful to the Teachings of Christ, The Mystery of the Church and the Phenomenon of Heresies, Four Reasons Why Early Christianity Grew So Quickly, Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America. Chances are the only pastor a church member knew was the pastor at their local church or their neighbourhood church or someone they heard on TV or radio. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, who then went on to baptize 3,000 people were that same day, as recounted in the Book of Acts. That is, most people in that age strongly believed in God, heaven and hell, and the Catholic Church was the center of that belief. Certainly, the providence and grace of God is always an essential factor. The eminent historian, Edward Gibbon, gave his assessment of five reasons for the growth of the early church saying: I. Several church leaders are yet to realize potential of a website for church growth. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, who then went on to baptize 3,000 people were that same day, as recounted in the Book of Acts. God knows the hearts of people, and just because some people might want a church to grow because of ego does not mean all growth is bad. This glorious event took place on the Day of Pentecost. All of these beliefs and actions led to higher birth and adoption rates. The Early Church Preached the Right Message. The Catholic Church's power in the Middle Ages was primarily derived from a combination of belief, money and illiteracy. The history of the early Christian church begins with it considered to be a sect of the Jews. The definite structure of the early Church may have been one of the reasons for its success. Ironically, the more the church was persecuted, the quicker the church grew. Tucked away in Acts there is also a beautiful little passage describing the nature of … Jesus offers the only hope there is! The I-Am's of Christ in the gospel of John, Our emotional warning systems: anger and anxiety. If we are willing to learn from the experiences of the early church, we can have church growth. A world that is under the sentence of death need a redeemer. Developing church structure Jesus and his disciples were all Jews. The first Christians therefore did not meet in separate churches but continued to meet in the local Jewish synagogues. We would like spend some time on each of the five reasons for church growth that we have gleaned from this chapter. A good church website can help your church to grow. Verse 32 tells us that the early church was one. It’s an exciting ride, from the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, to shipwrecks and imprisonments, to life changing sermons delivered by ex-fishermen. The Romans tried to persecute it out of existence, yet it spread the gospel throughout the entire empire. 3. After Peter and John had been released by the Sanhedrin they went back to the rest of the apostles and fellow believers to give a report o what had transpired. Yet a full look at the evidence reveals that much more was at play. One example was in Acts 8:1-4 where Saul was going about killing and imprisoning Christians, but what was the result? It’s almost a cliche. If we pray, knowing that God hears, and expecting that God will answer in a way that will bring glory to His Name, we can have a victorious prayer life. Jared W. LudlowThe book of Acts was written by Luke after his Gospel as the second part of a great two-volume work on Jesus Christ and the early Christians. Nick Lica ----- * * * -----From the first Christianity aimed at being a world-conquering principle. Sometime more fundamental is shifting. The book of Acts provides a detailed, orderly, eyewitness account of the birth and growth of the early church and the spread of the gospel immediately after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.Its narrative supplies a bridge connecting the life and ministry of Jesus to the life of the church and the witness of the earliest believers. If you look up information on the history of Christianity, you may find things like, 'During the first century CE, Rome was rocked with the formation of a new religion. During the thousand years of the Middle Ages, from the fall of Rome to the Renaissance, the papacy matured and established itself as the preeminent authority over the church. 10 Very Possible Reasons Your Church Isn’t Growing: St Paul was one of the main leaders in the early church and he believed that the good news of Jesus was for all … The Church of Christ was ready to work together in her mission to reach the lost with the saving grace of Jesus Christ. http://gospeak.org/br/give/, Also read these fine articles and reports. The early church spread across the known world. English Standard Version So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. Otherwise, the largest … Some were dressed in shirts made stiff with wax, fixed to axletrees, and set on fire in his gardens, in order to illuminate … This experience, and its resulting martyrs and apologists, would have significant historical and theological consequences for the developing faith. The narrative centers on the ministry of Peter and John. The mission of the church at its best throughout the centuries has been an outward mission focused on sharing the love Jesus has for the world with the world. After this date, however, persecutions of Christians by government became widespread and violent. Christianity, however, was a strange, new cult, and it began to spread across people groups and geographical boundaries. In the early history of Christianity, five cities emerged as important centers of Christianity: Rome, Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople. God has told us to pray. It took then, and takes today, boldness to proclaim the resurrection. It had a definite hierarchy – there were church elders, deacons, bishops, etc. To prove this point, let us take a quick look at church growth in the book of Acts, with a special view to the church in Jerusalem. Christianity, however, was a strange, new … Bad preaching and bad music can kill a church, but great preaching and great music don’t automatically generate church growth. Christians in the western part of the Roman Empire accepted the pope as the head of all the churches. What does it mean that God is not a respecter of persons? Sometimes people just mean that the church grows numerically under persecution (e.g. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus promised to establish His Church. On the top of these was the Holy spirti who helped the church to grow in spite of presecution and hard times. If we follow their example we too can … The early Christians simply out-birthed the pagans. July 2, 2014 0. What is the “Good News?” I 1 Cor. Implications From the early church onward, bishops could reduce or dispense with the rigours of penances, but indulgences emerged in only the 11th and 12th centuries when the idea of purgatory took widespread hold and when the popes became the activist leaders of the reforming church. One way the church spread so rapidly in the first century was because of persecution. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers. The church of the early Middle Ages. Many of the great figures of the Old and New Testament were people of prayer. The Five Most Important Church Growth Principles These outreach principles work. … Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Book of Acts . In Acts 4:12, we read: Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” This passage declares that salvation is in the Name of Jesus Christ. And, yes, I have also met church leaders who want their church to grow for questionable reasons too. Well this didn’t pay off for them because they both died instantly for their sin and because of the example the church grew in great fear of the Lord. You will also get a coupon for 25% off your next order as our thanks to you! Join our email list to be the first to know about new product announcements and promotions, and once or twice a month you will receive exclusive content. If we, today, can put the into practice the methods used by the early church, we can have church growth. Christianity grew apart from Judaism, creating its own identity by an increasingly harsh rejection of Judaism and of Jewish practices. No one comes to the Father except through Me. We must believe that the Word of God is inerrant and infallible. In the 3rd chapter they had just healed the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. 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