What should a great church look like?  In Acts chapter 19 when Paul arrives at Ephesus we are given a clue.

The kingdom of God is proclaimed

Paul speaks boldly – “reasoning, and persuading people about the kingdom,” (Acts 19:8).  He did that for years.  Well, all the time he was there I suppose.  And he did it, “in public and from house to house,” (Acts 20:20).  In fact, he “did not shrink from declaring (to you) the whole counsel of God,” (Acts 20:27).

A great church proclaims the kingdom.  In public places and in people’s homes.  It does not shrink from the whole gospel, it does not parcel up and ignore the bits of the bible that are uncomfortable reading in its cultural context. It does not get bored with eternal truths and forsake them.  A great church knows and teaches the whole counsel of God.  The bible is high on its list of values.

The Spirit is moving

“God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul,” (Acts 19:11) and He loves to do extraordinary miracles now too.  Luke gives us a brief insight into the wonderful signs that accompanied the gospel in Ephesus and whilst we don’t want to focus on miracles, we surely want to see them. 

A great church loves the presence of the Holy Spirit and faithfully seeks His counsel. wisdom, gifts and signs.  It doesn’t shy away from praying for the sick and exercising authority over evil spirits.  A great church moves in the power of the Spirit in everything it does.

The culture around it is changing

“There was no little disturbance concerning the Way,” (Acts 19:23) – mainly because the church was having a significant impact on the local economy and the pedlars of the cities idols were losing business.  The changes in people’s lives were significant and the impact was felt by the whole city.

A great church affects the society in which it is situated.  It may even change the culture around it. People’s lives are changed, communities are changed.  Whole cities can be changed.  Great churches make a difference even to people who are not part of them.