Nowadays, pastors emphasize church growth by focusing on successful strategies for understanding their surrounding culture and target audience, and examining their congregations to determine their strengths and weaknesses. What follows is an arduous process of changing the culture of a church to reflect the new methodologies in order to fulfill its mission. The process of changing a church’s culture involves giving people a heart for evangelism, being sensitive to new people so their target audience can be reached, and empowering the congregation to have ownership of the new vision.

However, there is a fool-proof way of accomplishing all of the above so that all the strategy and hard work is not in vain. This is illustrated in the Book of Acts (Acts 2:1-4; 4:24-31). When the people of God come together and engage in prayer inspired by the Holy Spirit the following takes place: They receive God's heart for the lost, for the church's vision and mission, and they receive the strategies from God that will work to reach their communities.

If churches would allow God to download His heart, burden, and vision for their communities, we would experience the kind of impact we read about in the Book of Acts.

Dr. Joseph Mattera