1 Corinthians 3:6
“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”
Anybody who has a heart for God would want their church to increase in attendance. Our purpose for increase is not just for the sake of growth, but it is for the growth of the kingdom of God. The more a church grows, the more laborers you get to reach the harvest. It is common sense that a church should desire and work towards increase. The mindset to stay where you are is not a godly mindset because the verse above says, “…but God gave the increase.” If God gives the increase, that means that God wants the church to grow. Several things must happen before God gives the increase.
First, there must be a proper focus. God must be at the beginning of all attempts for increase. Before you can have increase, you must have God. Increase without God is an increase of death. God gives life, and anything else is not of God. Just because you are increasing through worldly methods does not mean you are growing because even dead bodies swell. Always remember that a church must get God involved through prayer if He is going to give the increase.
Second, before the increase there is work. Planting and reaping is not easy. You are not going to see increase without hard work. Many are looking for the easy way to grow a church, but there is no easy way to grow a church. It takes hard work by everyone involved to see God give the increase.
Third, before the increase there is labour. The word “labour” means there are going to be hard times you must work through. You are not going to see increase without conflict and hard times. You must work through the hard times of life if you are going to see increase. You will never see God give the increase if hard times can get you to stop working. You must labour through trials and the times when it seems nothing is happening. In other words, you can’t quit if you want God to give the increase.
Fourth, before the increase there is unity. You cannot be a one-man show if you want God to give the increase. Everyone must work together to reach the harvest. There are people you cannot reach that another can reach, and if you work together, you can see God use all of you to give the increase. There are people I can lead to Christ that I can’t get to come to church, but another person seems to relate better to that person and is able to get them to come to church. A church working together to reach the harvest will see God give a tremendous increase that will astound everyone.
Fifth, before the increase is holy living. Verse 10 cautions the church to “take heed” how you build. God will not get involved, nor will He receive the glory for a church that takes worldly methods to grow. Holy living always gives the greatest testimony to the lost world that causes them to pause and desire to have what you have.
Sixth, before the increase is an eternity mindset. Verse 12 reminds us that there is an eternity for your labors and for the lost. An eternity mindset is the only thing that keeps the drive alive inside of the believer.
Seventh, before the increase is the empowering of the Holy Ghost. Verse 16 reminds us that it is God’s power that helps the believer come to the point of increase. God will give the increase, but He won’t do it without His Holy Spirit working through you.