Track the Progress of New Churches

Help new leaders follow progress and detect problems in God’s work

Anchor command. “Do all things properly and in an orderly manner.” 1 Corinthians 14:40

Anchor story. Paul and Barnabas visit newly planted congregations, and report progress to their home church in Antioch. Acts 14:21-27.

Anchor verse. “The apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught.” Mark 6:30

Learning goal. Find how the apostles kept track of progress and problems in new churches.

Growth goal. Discover the value of keeping records of progress and problems in God’s work. 

Skill goal. Develop a systematic way of tracking the progress of new churches.

Outcome goal. Workers detect both problems and effective methods by keeping records.

Dear God, teach us and our co-workers to honor you by giving reliable reports to our leaders and sponsors, as the apostles did.

Basic Study

Learn from Paul and Barnabas’ return visit to churches recently started, Acts 14:21-27.

·         How did Paul and Barnabas strengthen believers in the new churches? Verses 21-22

·         What kind of people did Paul and Barnabas name, to organize the new churches? 23

·         Paul and Barnabas returned to their home church in Antioch. What had the believers done for them before the apostles started on their first missionary journey? 26

·         In what way did Paul and Barnaba make it possible to track progress and problems in the churches? 27 (Answer: They reported both victories and setbacks.)

Paul and Barnabas reported back to their sending church at Antioch.

During the week together with coworkers decide how you will track congregations’ progress.

During worship

·         Tell the account of Paul and Barnabas returning to new churches and reporting what had happened to their home church, Acts 14:21-27. Ask the same questions as above and let believers discuss the answers.

·         Ask the children to present what they have prepared.

·         Memorize Acts 12:24, “The word of God kept on increasing and multiplying.”

Advanced Study

1.       Use a checklist of ministries required by the New Testament.

·         Make a copy of the Checklist of Ministries Required by the New Testament
at the bottom of this study for each congregation, and register the date when an activity has been begun.

·         Leaders keep reviewing the checklist for each daughter church.

2.       Find examples in Scripture of how leaders tracked progress in God’s work.

·         Find in Exodus chapter 18, how Moses was able to lead and keep track of thousands of households.

Answer: Moses appointed leaders of 1000s, 100s, 50s and tens of households. These did most of the leading and teaching, while Moses handled only hard matters.

·         Find in Matthew 9:35-10:13; Mark 6:7-12 & 30, Luke 9:1-6 & 10; and Luke 10:1-9 & 17, how Jesus mentored and kept track of his apostles’ work.

Answer: (1) Jesus appointed and empowered old and new workers.
(2) These prayed to get more laborers.
(3) Jesus planned with them where to go, what to do, and what to say.
 (4) Jesus listened to their reports about what they had said and done.

·         Find in the Book of Acts the kinds of information that the apostles tracked. See Acts 2:41-42, 6:1, 12:14,  2:47, 6:7, 13.48-49,  5:14, 8:25, 9:31, 19:20, 1:8, 11:24, 16:5.

Answers: The apostles counted and tracked numbers of baptisms, new disciples and churches increased or multiplied; and when social classes, cities and regions received the Word of God. This information helped them plan where to send workers.

·         Find in 2 Timothy 2:1-2 how many generations of workers that Paul and Timothy tracked in their training work. Find in the Epistle to the Colossians, the names of places and or workers that Paul kept track of while Timothy was at Ephesus.

Answers: Paul kept track of apprentice workers to their third generation. He was able to name Timothy, Epaphras, Archippus, Nympha and others who worked at Ephesus, Colossae, Laodicea and Hierapolis.

·         Find in Acts 2:37-47 the activities of a normal, healthy church. Such activities flow from commandments that Jesus gave.

3.       Diagram the cells and congregations that you and your co-workers have started.

·         Have all workers draw diagrams of generational relations between their churches and cells, along with trainers and apprentice shepherds.

·         Draw circles on paper; each circle representing a church or a cell.

·         Connect the circles with arrows, showing mother churches with their daughter and grand-daughter churches.

Above each circle, write the name of the place where the church or cell meets, and write the month and year on which the church or cell began to meet.

Inside each circle, write numbers showing how many baptized persons there are.

4.       Plan with your co-workers to track all new cells and congregations.

·         From the information in the Checklist of Ministries Required by the New Testament at the bottom of this study, you can detect weaknesses and strengthen congregations, until they are obeying the commandments of Christ in doing all ministries that the New Testament requires. It will also help you know where to send new workers to start new cells and congregations.

·         Share your reports with other ministry leaders when you have regional gatherings. This will encourage them and help them to track their congregations. If your ministry has sponsors who share finances and training with you and your co-workers, then share the reports with them, too.

5.       Plan with coworkers additional, optional activities for the upcoming worship time.

·         Tell how Paul and Timothy, while they were at Ephesus, saw new churches start in Colossae and beyond, and how the Lord raised up new leaders at each place.

·         Explain how that story matches Paul instruction from 2 Timothy 2:2.

·         Explain the Checklist of Ministries Required by the New Testament, below.

·         Talk with believers about how you want to help them start new congregations.

·         Form groups of two or three individuals, and have them pray together, asking God to raise up new cells and congregations.

·         To introduce communion, read Acts 20:1-7.

Checklist of Ministries Required by the New Testament

Make a copy of this chart to track the progress of each church, and keep updating it.

Congregation (name of church or host):



Add names and dates when members are baptized, at the bottom of this chart.

Activities required by New Testament (add the date when an activity is begun)

¨  Take Jesus to friends and relatives.  Date begun:

¨  Baptize repentant believers. Date begun:

¨  Celebrate the Lord’s Supper regularly. Date begun:

¨  Cooperate closely with sister churches. Date begun:

¨  Care for people in need. Date begun:

¨  Birth daughter churches. Date begun:

¨  Give joyfully of time and money to serve others. Date begun:

¨  Have daily family prayer and devotional time. Date begun:

¨  Children and adults take an active part in worship. Date begun:

¨  Restore believers who commit serious offenses. Date begun:

¨  Forgive those who offend. Date begun:

¨  Members use their different spiritual gifts during the week and in worship. Date begun:

¨  Leaders receive training from a more experienced leader. Date begun:

¨  Leaders mentor leaders of daughter churches. Date begun:

¨  Practice church body life: serve one another using their different gifts. Date begun:

¨  Stay small enough to practice interactive church body life, by continually having members form the nucleus of new churches. Date begun:

¨  Work with sister churches on projects beyond one church’s capability. Date begun:

¨  Send workers to distant, neglected peoples. Date begun:

Members baptized (names and dates):

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