What Makes a Church Strong?

Gatheringplace   -  

My dad was an architect and home builder. I used to be fascinated at the blueprints he would draw up. Then we would go out to a barren piece of land and he would tell me that he was going to build a home there – or an entire sub-division. I couldn’t see it. All I could see was dirt. But he saw it.

Then, as I watched the land being developed, then the foundation, then the walls, roof, windows, plumbing, electricity, etc, and finally a nice paint job, I was able to see it. But my dad saw the end from the beginning. That’s how Jesus sees His Church. That how Jesus sees you!

Jesus has designed His Church for the gates of Hell to not be able to overcome it. (Matthew 16) But we must do it His way for this to be true.

When the Church is functioning as she should, she is the most beautiful, and most powerful organization on earth for good, and He has a part for you to play in it.

Paul says it this way:

Ephesians 3:10 NKJ “To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.”

The Church is the weapon in God’s hand He uses to overthrow the powers of darkness.

That is why the enemy’s #1 goal is to destroy the church.

  1. What are some of the ways Satan destroys churches? Offenses, pride, resisting authority, self-serving leaders, gossip, a lack of generosity, an introverted mission…

This is why we must do everything we can to be The Church, as Jesus designed it.

So what makes Jesus’ Church so powerful? There are many things, but as we study the Book of Philippians, the opening two verses give us insight into four groups of people Jesus has gifted to do their part – and when they do, watch out!

Let’s read then note these four groups:

Philippians 1:1-2 NKJ “Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

These groups are:

  1. Apostles
  2. Saints
  3. Elders
  4. Deacons

Each one of these groups of people fall under one of the three categories of spiritual gifts listed below:

  • 5 Office Gifts: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers (Ephesians 4:11)
  • 7 Motivational Gifts: Prophecy, Serving, Teaching, Encouraging, Giving, Leading, Mercy (Romans 12:6-8)
  • 9 Supernatural Gifts: Prophecy, Words of Knowledge, Words of Wisdom, Gifts of Healings, Gift of Faith, Working of Miracles, Discerning of Spirits, Tongues, and Interpretation of Tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)

YOU fall under one, or more of these three categories!

All of these gifts are to be present in every local church gathering. That is why when people say their “church” is the ocean while they surf. Or they do church at home, by themselves. Or they don’t believe in “organized religion”, Satan loves it! He knows who his enemy is – the Church – and knows that he can’t stop her when she is operating as Jesus designed it to. So he works overtime to dismantle it.

Let’s break down these four groups of people:

  1. Bondservant of Jesus Christ (Also known as Apostles)

We are all servants of Jesus, but I like how Paul, knowing he has the highest level of authority in the church – because he is the father and apostle of the church – which is what enabled him to say to the Church in Rome:

Romans 12:3 NKJ “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”

Romans 12:3a NLT “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning…”

…Paul humbles himself by calling himself a bondservant.

So what is a “Bondservant”?

A bondservant was a slave, better defined by God as a “hired servant” who, under God’s regulations, is to be treated very well, then set free after seven years. At that time he or she is to be given a huge blessing, to the measure that God has blessed that family.

A bond-slave was a freed servant who, out of love for the family, chooses to stay out of his or her own volition and serve that family for a lifetime.

Paul is saying that both he and Timothy have chosen to serve Jesus, and His Church, for a lifetime, out of love.

The second group of people in a local church are what Paul calls…

  1. Saints

This is the general congregation. That’s YOU!

The word “Saint” is short for “Sanctified” = Set apart for a holy (special) purpose.

You have been set apart to Jesus for His kingdom purposes. He has called you to be the light of the world, the salt of the earth. You are to shine in the darkness as His representative. What a radical privilege and calling! And every believer who joins the Church makes the family of God bigger, and the army of God stronger.

  1. The Bishops (Overseers, Elders)

So, what are the responsibilities of Elders? To:

  1. Lead (1 Peter 5:1-4 NLT)
  2. Feed (2 Timothy 2:2 NLT)
  3. Prayer (1 Samuel 12:23 NLT)
  4. Care (Philippians 2:19-21)

One of the issues we have in the church in America is we were raised in a democracy, so we are accustomed to voting on who leads us and voting on their decisions. (Imagine the Israelites voting at the Red Sea!)

But the kingdom of God is a kingdom. And it’s led by King Jesus. And He appoints the leadership of His Church. That’s why once Paul established a bunch of new local church, The Bible says:

Acts 14:23 NLT “Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.”

And Hebrews says this:

Hebrews 13:17 NLT “Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.”

And the last group of people at Philippi Paul lists are:

  1. Deacons

These folks carry out the practical tasks of the church. (See Acts chapter 6)


I hope today’s study has helped you understand the genius of the way Jesus designed His Church and how you are a very important part of it!

You must understand how important you are to your local church – this is the way Jesus has designed His kingdom to fill the earth – through the local churches across the globe.

One might say, “Well, I’m part of the global church, not a local church.” No soldier is a loner. Every branch of the military has outposts, platoons, companies, squadrons, etc. Yes you are part of the global Church, but Jesus calls you to be part of a local outpost of the kingdom of God – a local church. Just as you are part of the human family, you were born into your family.

You are part of a bigger picture, a larger purpose than yourself. You matter to your church!

That is why every saint that joins a local church strengthens that church (most of the time), and every saint that leaves a local church weakens that church – thus strengthening or weakening the kingdom of God.

If you have left your local church – go back! Work out your differences and strengthen that church.

If you have never been a part of a local church – go! This is where you will find community and divine purpose.