A pastor shared that the best strategy to build a church is by using the pattern of how Jesus built His own ministry.
In his column on The Christian Post, Wallace Henley, teaching pastor at Grace Church in Texas, shared about the effectiveness of the "Jesus Church model."
Henley began with Eli Steele's comment in his Fox News article, observing the enormity of violence in a Chicago community despite the huge presence of churches. The pastor said that the reporter's statement reminded him of a conversation he had with Charles Colson in 1974, which led to the conception of his strategy in leading a church.
He revealed that he visited Colson after learning that the latter surrendered his life to Christ - a joyful news that Henley could not almost believe in that moment. A former White House aide, the pastor said that he knew the lawyer "from a distance."
Colson served as special counsel to former President Richard Nixon but was imprisoned due to his involvement in the Watergate scandal. He was incarcerated for seven months. Converted to Christianity in 1973, the lawyer launched a Christian ministry for inmates in 1976 - the Prison Fellowship, which expanded into an international movement. He also founded The Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Colson passed away on April 21, 2012 from complications of brain hemorrhage.
Henley shared that during their conversation, Colson raised a "rhetorical question" about the significance of the "Lord's church."
"If there are so many churches in America why is the nation in such a moral and spiritual crisis?" Colson asked.
At the time, the pastor was still contemplating about an effective strategy for building a church. But Colson's question brought him a realization.
"Then it hit me: 'If the church is the body of Christ, it ought to do what Jesus did in His body.' The problem Jesus' disciples faced was not how to get larger numbers, but how to accommodate the crowds that came to Jesus," the minister recalled.
"I realized that what I would come to call the 'Jesus Church' is the way the Lord walks and ministers now throughout the world as much as He did backwaters and bustling urban areas two thousand years ago," he added.
With the new idea, Henley reset his strategy "from accruing numbers to building ministry" and studied the lifestyle of Jesus, including His way of worship, intercession, proclamation of God's Kingdom, discipleship of those He reached out and serving the needs of people "in the name of the Father".
"These actions were empowered by the Holy Spirit Who had anointed Jesus at His baptism. Walking in this model in the twentieth century caused me to re-examine and consider the doctrine and work of the Holy Spirit in this 'post-apostolic age,'" Henley pointed out.
He then applied the "Jesus Church model" to the three churches he led and saw growth through it. One of these, he shared, is a small "dying" church with less than 120 members, which he started leading in 1986. Using the model, the church grew, averaging with a thousand attendees in 12 years.
Henley concluded, agreeing to Pastor Corey Brooks' response to Steele.
"I really do believe that the local church is the hope of the world," Brooks stated.