Church growth

Estrategia de crecimiento y su efecto en el crecimiento integral de la Iglesia de Dios de la Profecía en San Marcos

Miguel Ángel García Sarceño
Given the low growth that the Church of God of the Prophecy of San Marcos has experienced for more than ten years, we pose the following problem: Is there a relationship between the growth strategy and the low overall growth in the membership of the Church of God of the Prophecy of San Marcos?

To start the investigation, we set a general objective and three specific objectives:

General objectives: Determine the relationship between the growth strategy and the low integral growth in the membership of the Church of God of Prophecy in San Marcos.

Specific objectives: 1. Determine the relationship between the missional strategy and low integral growth in the membership of the Church of God of Prophecy in San Marcos. 2. Determine the relationship between the organizational, structural strategy and the low integral growth in the membership of the Church of God of Prophecy in San Marcos. 3. Determine the relationship between the strategic role of leadership and low overall growth in the membership of the Church of God of Prophecy in San Marcos.


Miles Anson Hanbury D.Min.
This project seeks to address the problem of a lack of experiencing the presence of God in church services by exploring the history and theology of God’s presence in worship and constructing a four-week sermon series at Christ Church, Lake Forest, IL aimed at helping people invite, expect, and experience the presence of God in worship. Drawing on data from eighteen research participants, several key lessons were learned about ways church leaders can modify worship services to engage congregants more deeply. Among them are creating quiet space for reflection, giving explicit permission to engage God, and giving various opportunities to engage God.

Factores contribuyentes al crecimiento de la Iglesia de Dios de la Profecía en México, Centroamérica y el Caribe de Habla Hispana 2010-2020

Benjamin Feliz
The Church of God of Prophecy arrived in Central America in 1932 with the founding of its first congregation in Costa Rica. The church began to expand throughout Mexico, Central America, and the Spanish speaking Caribbean. By the end of 2020, the church in this region had a total of 182,607 members and 3,376 local churches.

During the decade between 2010 and 2020, the church experienced a net growth in its membership of 56,620 new members (an increase of 45%) and 1,074 new churches (a net growth of 47%). This growth outpaces the growth of the previous decade (2000-2010) at almost double the rate and was significant in comparison to other regions and denominations considered in this research.

The purpose of this research is to identify the factors that have contributed to this growth. In order to accomplish this, I consulted with the national overseers of this region who interpreted the contributing factors from their perspectives. Their observations and answers did not surprise me; it was through their effort and collaboration with myself, the regional presbyter, that this growth took place.

Every region of the world passes through a season differently, and the vitality of the Church has always been in flux. Every world region has had its moment over the course of two thousand years. The comparisons established in this research have been necessary in order to establish the context in which the growth took place. When drawing parallels, I recommend considering the proper parameters in order to reach wise and sober conclusions. Likewise, if there is any value in adapting or adopting any takeaways from this research within or outside of the Church of God of Prophecy, nothing would bring me more joy than having contributed a grain of sand to the well-being and growth of the Universal Church.

Introduciendo una liturgia pentecostal comunitaria saludable en la Iglesia de Dios de la Profecía en México

Omar Velázquez Rivera
This thesis titled “Introducing a Communal Healthy Pentecostal Liturgy in the Church of God of Prophecy in Mexico” is an effort to respond proactively to one of prevailing challenges facing the Church of God of Prophecy in Mexico today. The challenge is the loss of membership due to either emigration to other movements and denominations or opting to not to be a part of any local church body. Thus, as part of the Pentecostal movement, the Church of God of Prophecy in Mexico finds itself in a paradoxical situation in that at this moment it is experiencing tremendous growth while at the same time losing its membership. It is within this paradox that the research strives to under-stand the reasons for said exodus.

This project seeks to help reclaim the Pentecostal worship service as the true work of the people, reconciling ancient liturgical practices with the contemporary movement of spiritual renovation, demonstrating that these two are not opposed, but strengthened by one another. Thus, there are many implications of this research. It is the intention of this research to collaborate in the deprivatization of the worship service and place it in the hands of the community of believers. Even though the research focuses on the interests of the COGOP in Mexico, it is also its intent to deconstruct the Pentecostal worship service in general, helping it to eradicate harmful practices that drive away believers. A liturgy which integrates ancient liturgical elements with the Pentecostal movement was proposed and practiced by a typical Pentecostal congregation in Mexico City as a case study. The researcher’s proposal is to offer with this project the preliminary findings of a liturgical renewal in the Church of God of Prophecy in Mexico.

Growing a church : a manual for establishing self-supporting congregations with a reformed perspective

Don G Huitink
This manual is written for pastors who are in new church starts, field secretaries, classes 'Church Planning and Development committees, and denominational staff who are in supportive roles for new church development.

Chapter One contains the biblical and theological basis for beginning new congregations.

Chapter Two is an historical overview of Reformed thought and practice regarding new church development.

Chapter Three focuses upon the structures needed to support, select, and supervise new fields.

Chapter Four examines the necessary procedures to select and support pastors for new church development. It is designed to assist those calling new church development pastors to prepare to call a pastor, know what to look for in a new church pastor, provide for pastors orientation, and provide ongoing support, training, and supervision.

Chapter Five outlines the basic issues and tasks in the first of four stages of development.

Chapter Six outlines the basic issues and tasks in the second of four stages o f development.

Chapter Seven out lines the basic issues and tasks in the third of four stages of development.

Chapter Eight outlines the fourth stage of development and its tasks.

The Appendix contains samples of a Reformed philosophy of ministry, funding application, advertising for a new congregation, an organizational chart, ministry group descriptions, leadership training suggestions, budget proposal, processes for selecting architects, builders, and other consultants, capital fund raising, and loan application forms and requirements.

An integration of theological and psychosocial method for interpreting congregational development

John W Tien
This thesis is based upon the hypothesis that there is validity in integrating theological and psychosocial methodology. A further hypothesis is that there is an identifiable developmental process which is applicable to corporate as well as to individual growth and development. Assuming that such an identifiable developmental process exists, it then follows that this process can be used as both a descriptive and prescriptive tool to determine whether or not a specific corporate group in the Christian community, together with its leadership, is developing in a wholesome way. The application which is addressed in this project is to the community of the congregation. The project is itself an integration of previous years of study and learning units for the Doctor of Ministry degree. The practical application of the stated hypothesis is to the development of the congregational life of First Reformed Church of Grandville, Michigan from 1977 to 1986.

Acts II to two acts : one pastor's journey home from church growth frustration to prayer and proclamation faith

Jonathan C Brownson
This project is a personal and pastoral invitation to church leaders to devote themselves to prayer and a ministry of the word as the central task of their vocation.

Chapter one begins with "hard feelings." This chapter does not market a plan for a perfect church and pastor. Instead, it describes.

Chapter two supplements autobiographical method with group process and family systems analysis. It documents the first two years of one new pastorate where the pastor intentionally focuses on prayer and proclamation.

Chapter three suggests it wouldn't be right for pastors and parishioners to turn away from focusing on a ministry of the Word.

Chapter four joins word ministry with a waiting ministry inviting pastors, parents and parishioners to pray. Ethnographic interviews "field test" the claims of this chapter.

Finally, chapter five concludes with not the least, priests. It invites church leaders to become not successes, but successors of those who have gone before them. Christologically, biblically, historically and autobiographically this chapter suggests that church leaders have already had their work cut out for them. They must, the chapter contends, preach and pray because it is what Jesus does, what the bible mandates, what his followers continue and what many ordained pastors have promised

The fourth human endowment : a spiritual autobiography

Sherwin Brantsen
Chapter One explains that this D.Min. program started out with a desire to study church growth methods, find one that works in a suburban RCA congregation and implement it.

Chapter Two describes the author's personal conflict with the decretal theism of his youth. It starts with childhood perceptions of God while growing up in a Reformed context. The chapter travels through a personal history with Dort and concludes with the discovery of the writings of Stephen Covey and John Sanders.

Chapter Three discusses the history of the Canons of Dort, questioning the doctrine of reprobation. It goes into a pastoral evaluation of decretal theism and concludes with a study of the contemporary influence of the teachings of Dort in the RCA.

Chapter Four compares the decretal theism of the Westminster Confession and the Canons of Dort with the teachings of modern business consultant and best-selling author, Stephen Covey. This chapter asserts that, especially in today's context, emphasis needs to placed more on human responsibility than on God's eternal decrees.

Chapter Five compares decretal theism to relational theism. It discusses the risk-free nature of Dort and compares it to the relational "risk" theism of John Sanders.

Chapter Six discusses various implications decretal theism may have for the RCA. The suggestion is made that we further examine our theology as perhaps one of the contributing causes of our decline.
Chapter Seven concludes the paper with statistics of decline in the RCA. The suggestion is again made that perhaps our lack of growth is due, at least in part, to our lack of motivation to evangelize. It may be that our lack of motivation is due to our theology that does not put enough emphasis on human responsibility.

Speaking the unspeakable : the launch of a church

Richard Russell Patterson

Launching a new church has been an expedition fraught with spiritual and psychological baggage; it' s not simply an act of compiling the right worship director and children' s ministries leader. An adequate understanding or at least appreciation of these spiritual and psychological issues is necessary to prevent damaging results for the pastor, congregation, and the world to which it intends to minister. However, with a proper appreciation of these issues, there exists the real possibility for developing a community of grace, hope, and healing in a world crying out for such a thing.

The issues presenting themselves include the role of narcissism in the development of the pastor and the congregation in our context. Particular attention should be given to the powerful weight this psychological phenomenon has on an institution such as the church in our culture. These issues go so far as to skew our right understanding of fundamental aspects of the church such as discipleship and evangelism.

Lastly, this issue of narcissism, left unrestrained and misunderstood, will ultimately affect that spiritual entity having authority over the church which comes to life at the intersection of a church and its Creator -- the angel of the congregation. Discerning God' s message to that angel has brought a sense of healing and empowerment to our community and a new sense of commitment to our collective call.

Evangelism as care : four Christian practices for the 21st century

Kathryn Grace Nichols Campbell
Adam and Eve. Cain and Abel. Mary and Martha. Jesus and John. Relationships, one with another whether healthy or otherwise, permeate the Bible. When two people are in a relationship, there are expressions of care and concern as well as an understanding of each other’s backgrounds. When we are in relationship with one another, we want to know as much about the other person as we can. In many cases, this includes knowing about one another’s faith traditions and experiences. From a very early age, I have done what I can to make sure that people around me feel welcome in whatever environment we share. In high school, I welcomed each person who came into the doors of youth group by name with a smile and a hug. I invited all of my non-youth group friends to events because I thought they would enjoy them. Some of my strongest relationships are with people I have known for more than 75 percent of my life. To this day, I want to make sure that wherever we are, all with whom I gather have everything they need to have the best experience possible. Invitation, hospitality, nurture, and welcome are four practices people do daily and would acknowledge they do so. However, they do not believe they can be successful when asked to evangelize. I argue that, when examined through a theological lens, when people engage in these four practices, they are successfully evangelizing. Through the work of this project, these four Christian Practices are defined, examined, and discussed while thinking about how they can benefit a congregation in helping the church to grow in membership.
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