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GROWTH
 

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Matthew 28: 19-20



At Manna we will follow a four-pronged strategy for growth:
1). Love each other;
2). Train knees to bow and tongues to confess;
3). Make disciples;
4). Train and model the "authentic worship life".
We believe if these four tasks are done well, then growth is inevitable.

Love ·  Knees ·  Disciples ·  Worship

LOVE

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another."

John 13:35

Click below to hear the audio clip. 1.3 mb size.

Love Clip (1.3 mb-MP3)

This is the first, last, and most important criteria for church growth. People simply don't want to be where they are not wanted. How does love aid growth? Simple. Love attracts. I know of no simpler way of putting it. Now, love is closeness, not just "warm" feelings, although warm feelings are certainly a natural byproduct of love. At Manna we will train and teach love "habits" and "practices", but we can not put into the heart that which is not there. This is between the Holy Spirit and the person. However, we certainly can train people and foster an atmosphere where love is encouraged and hatred discouraged. And, believe me, we will.

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Train Knees to Bow and Tongues to Confess

"...At the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue confess taht Jesus Christ is the Lord..."

Philippians 2: 10-11

Click below to hear the audio clip. 2.2 mb size.

Knees Bowing Clip (2.2 mb-MP3)

We will train knees to bow to Jesus and tongues to confess that He is Lord. This is central to worship and service. In fact, service is worship. The word "liturgy" comes from liturgia or work of the people. This concept is central to outreach and commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord. We have sold salvation as intellectual assent to a concept with a trip to heaven as a prize. What do I mean by that?

Quite often, the evangelical Christian message is understood as this: If you believe that Jesus loves you, died for you, and wants to save you from hell and send you to heaven, come forward and pray a prayer with me. If you do this, you will go to heaven. I am afraid that all too many of these people will fall into the category of people whom Jesus was referring to in Matthew, Chapter 7, verses 21 through 23.

Jesus noted that not everyone who talked the God Talk was going to heaven. In fact, only the ones who did what God wanted will go to heaven. Even though many of the God-Talkers had impressive church resumes, they did not do what God wanted. So, God banishes them from heaven.

Strong Stuff. Friends, this is Jesus talking. This aspect of our strategy is two-fold. First, every knee shall bow. We will train everyone to do what God wants. In fact, many decisions are made to commit to Christ only after they start doing what God wants. That is why we don't share the "seeker service" philosophy that says a seeker can comfortably look at Christians from the outside and then decide to join us later. Look at the Bible. Jesus never worked that way. From Day One, we will encourage people gently, patienty, and without force to bow their knees. Request the CD and you will hear about some practical ways this will be done.

Secondly, every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. This means that people must have a visible and verbal witness that reflects their life lived in real obedience. This is more than witness training--it is witness living.

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DISCIPLE MAKING

"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come."

John 16: 13

Click below to hear the audio clip. 2.5 mb size.

Disciplemaking Clip (2.5 mb-MP3)

The third part of our growth strategy is to make disciples. This is the task that Jesus gave his disciples following his resurrection and before his ascension into heaven through the clouds. You can find what we call the Great Commission in Matthew 28: 19-20, cited at the top of this page. Note that we are never called to be "soulwinners" or save people, because if you look at chapter 16 in the gospel of Josh, you see that it is clearly the job of the Holy Spirit to "win souls". Our job is to make disciples, which is where the word "discipline" came from. That is our job. We will do it.

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AUTHENTIC WORSHIP LIFE

"Therefore, I urge you, brethren by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

Romans 12:1-2

Click below to hear the audio clip. 1.7 mb size.

Worship Life Clip (1.7 mb-MP3)

The last prong of our four-pronged growth strategy is to train for and model the "authentic worship life". Worship happens all the time for the faithful Christian, not just in some formal "worship service". It is not a short-term experience on a Sunday, but a life and lifestyle. Our lives are to show the worth of Jesus Christ at work, home, with our friends, and in every small detail. That can only happen by changing our lives. When our lives really change, people will notice. Ultimately, this is what attracts people to Christ, because the real power and fruit of the Spirit is a changed life--not some feeling or supernatural parlor trick.

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