I believe successful church growth rests on three pillars Ė evangelism, education, and edification.

The first is evangelism. The Lord Jesus Christ came and died on the cross to save us from our sins (Matt. 1:21). He entrusted us with the mission of spreading the Gospel to this present, sinful world (2 Cor. 5:20). This is the churchís first and foremost mission. Every Christiam must be involved in witnessing. In my "Introduction to Evangelism," I noted and refuted the excuses Christians use to get out of witnessing. As Mark Cahill said, witnessing is the one thing we wonít be able to do in Heaven.

Next is education. Too many churches and evangelists are content to see converts as notches on their New Testaments. To conserve the fruits of evangelism, churches must educate their converts. Leaders are often afraid to teach their congregations because "people wonít go for that." The people opt out of learning because "Iím happy with the simple things." These excuses sound innocuous, but are in direct defiance of the Lordís command "Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:20).

Finally is edification. This involves building up of the saints both as individuals and as a church. Education must have the goal of making us better Christians, not only in our private lives but also in our collective actions. We have to reject the false division between quality or quantity. The Bible says we need both, reaching all people with all wisdom and knowledge (Col. 1:9-12). The churchís mission is to reach as many people as possible and teach them as much as possible so they can become the best Christians possible.

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