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* Not large numbers in attendance. Many large congregations are doctrinally and spiritually weak!

* Not wealth. It is not the possession of wealth but the use of wealth that makes a congregation strong and productive for Christ. A congregation may spend all of its wealth on itself and do little for the cause of Christ.

* Not an acclaimed preacher. A man may attract a lot of attention to himself and not glorify God. He may entertain and please multitudes but not preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).

* Not high social standing. Paul reminds us that not many mighty or noble are called into the Lord’s kingdom (1 Cor. 1:26). All, be they great or small, are welcomed in God’s church; but a poor church of ordinary people can be a strong church in the sight of the Master.

Among the ingredients that make a strong church are the following:

* Members who love God and Christ supremely (Matt. 22:37).

* Teaching that exalts Christ and His message (1 Cor. 2:2).

* Loving fellowship between the members. He wants us to be fervent in our love among ourselves (1 Pet. 4:8).

* People who are happy to live, worship, and serve according to God’s word. With David they sing, “Oh how l love Thy law” (Ps. 119:97).

* People whose manner of life reflects the influence of Christ in them. They live sober, righteous, and godly lives (Titus 2:12) which causes those about them to glorify God (Matt. 5:16).

* People whose hearts are filled with compassion for the poor and suffering of humanity (James 1:27). Not only do they love God, they love their neighbor as themselves (Matt. 22:39).

* People whose hearts are touched by the plight of those who are lost in sin and are thus willing to make every effort to get the saving message of Christ to them. They take the Great Commission seriously (Mark 16:15).

* Elders and preachers who lead them in paths of righteousness and watch for their souls (Heb. 13:17).

A church blessed with these ingredients will be strong and productive for Christ be their numbers many or few, be they rich or poor, We must never forget that God does not see and value things as man does (Is. 55:8-9). Rather than striving for greatness and success in the eyes of men, faithful Christians will desire to please God above all others. It matters not whether men recognize and applaud our efforts. We are content with the fond hope that our Savior is pleased and our reward will be to live with Him in eternity.

–John Waddey