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The Problem of Growth

How to counter challenges with sound leadership and encourage growth.
This sermon is part of the sermon series "Acts: The Rest of the Story". See series.


The map of global Christianity our grandparents knew has been turned upside down. At the beginning of the twentieth century, only 10 percent of the world's Christians lived in the non-Western world; nearly 90 percent of Christians worldwide lived in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. But now, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, at least 70 percent of the world's Christians live in the non-Western world. More Christians worship in Anglican churches in Nigeria each week than in all the Episcopal and Anglican churches of Britain, Europe, and North America combined. There are more Baptists in the Congo than in Britain. There are more people in church every Sunday in communist China than in all of Western Europe. Nepal is the birthplace of Buddhism and the only official Hindu kingdom in the world. But several years ago, the Lord saved Lok Bhandari, a revolutionary freedom fighter and national martial arts champion, whose father had groomed him to become prime minister. Today Lok shares with crowds of 65,000 how Jesus revolutionized his life. He's been arrested more than 30 times for preaching the gospel. Christians in Nepal now number more than 700,000—an amazing number considering 50 years ago there were no known Christians in the country.

These statistics make us wonder why the Word of God spreads and grows in some places, while it remains stagnant in others. The author of Luke is deeply interested in the spread of God's word and the growth of the church. Let me show you:

  • "So those who received the word were baptized and there were added that day about 3,000 souls" (Acts 2:41)
  • "And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47)
  • "Many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to about 5,000" (Acts 4:4).

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Mark Mitchell is the lead pastor of Central Peninsula Church in Foster City, California.

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Sermon Outline:


I. The Problem: Growth threatened by division and distraction

II. The Solution: Growth enhanced by good leadership