Two steps to a successful church

I know, I know. It’s a cheeky title for a devotional. But hear me out.

Over the years I’ve read countless books on the church, on being the church in today’s world, on strategy, and on leadership.

But recently I’ve been thinking about how to be a successful church, and how you can boil it down to two steps.

First, replace the word “successful” with faithful. The word “success” is vague, and possibly too worldly. In contrast, the word “faithful” comes up time and time again as something to shoot for.

Faithfulness has to do with being loyal, loving and true to God.

Second, study the life and priorities of the New Testament church and do likewise. They were disciples who were filled with the Holy Spirit. This transformed who they were and what they did. Prayer, praise, Scripture, fellowship, hospitality, generosity, mission, evangelism, holiness… the list goes on.

Are there clever strategies and insightful research we can learn from? Yes.

Should we do away with certain methods of doing things if they seem to hinder the message and mission of Jesus? Yes—but only if they’re not in the New Testament and do in fact hinder the message and mission of Jesus.

Should we do new things? Yes—but only if they’re grounded in the New Testament and further the message and mission of Jesus (not some other lesser priority).

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus tells Peter: “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

If we think the church is man-made, or that we’re the ones in charge, we had better think again.

The most “relevant” churches are the most biblical churches. Why? Because the living and eternal God is always relevant, and because his loving word is always speaking in the present tense to the people he has made and called to be in a relationship with himself.

If you follow Jesus, you’re a part of a local congregation somewhere.

Seek faithfulness.


–“Can you lose your salvation?” This is a question I received for one of the Q and A Forum’s at Westminster Church. I provide an answer in this podcast. Click here to listen, or look for ‘The Pulse Podcast with Matthew Ruttan’ wherever you subscribe to podcasts: iTunes (Apple), Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or TuneIn.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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