My summary on why the church of Acts and the early church grew and increased (against all likelihood and odds)
After spending a number of years reading primary sources and books on the early church and asking the question, why did the church grow and increase when there was nothing—absolutely nothing about it that measured any inkling of potential success? Why? I have—at least at this point—have come to the conclusion . . .
Outsiders, families, and friends, they saw in these small gatherings we call house-churches that all that was promised in their message, their gospel—a God who loves, salvation, resurrection, bodily eternal life, sonship, heirship—was truly for all who believed (and not just the elite, wealthy, and socially privileged, but for anyone who believed) because they saw—in homes, around tables—all were welcome, none had more honor than another—and these small gathered groups risked everything by breaking bread with strangers and unequals and in lifting that fourth cup and proclaiming Jesus, not Caesar, was Lord.
This is why the church grew.
Lord, do it again.
Lord, do this with us.
Chip M. Anderson, advocate for biblical social action; pastor of an urban church plant in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven, CT; husband, father, author, former Greek & NT professor; and, 19 years involved with social action.