We don’t know exactly how many followers Jesus had when he ascended into heaven. In 1 Corinthians 15:6 Paul tells us that Jesus appeared to over 500 of his followers. Then in Acts 2 Peter preaches and 3000 more are baptized. In his book The Forgotten Ways Handbook, Alan Hirsch says that by the year 100 there were roughly 25,000 Christians and by the year 300 there were roughly 20 million. That is 800% growth over 200 years. If that amount of growth had continued it would result in 2,684,354,560,000,000 Christians today. With only 7 billion people in the world that is impossible but it shows how impressive and explosive their growth really was.
There are all kinds of books written about how to grow a church. Many of those books, including the book mentioned above are extremely helpful and worth the read. But let me save you a ton of trouble. Here is what it all boils down to. Jesus said go and make disciples (Matthew 28:16-20) and they took Jesus seriously. If we take Jesus that seriously we can experience growth as well. Any church that is willing to be obedient to Jesus’ last recorded words on earth will experience growth. It is as simple as that.
The problem we have is that Christianity is full of distractions that we hinder our own growth.