William Charles Berg D.Min.
This project addresses the problem of discovering whether, when churches move to be physically present in their communities and engage in appropriate touch through serving, there is a corresponding impact in confession of faith and church growth. To answer this problem, the researcher began with the incarnation and trinity as a model of presence and touch. The researcher reviewed the Gospels to identify Jesus’ use of physical presence and touch in His ministry. The researcher also looked at the impact of presence and touch on the early church in the Book of Acts. He reviewed literature that focused on the importance of presence and touch and its influence on conversions and church growth. The researcher then interviewed senior and associate pastors of seven growing churches. Next, the researcher surveyed congregants from these seven churches. Both the interviews and the survey focused on how serving in the community through presence and touch impacts conversions and church growth. This study revealed that within the seven churches involved in this research there is, indeed, a direct connection between presence and touch and a growth in professions of faith and church attendance. Through his examinations, the researcher identified seven principles of how serving through presence and touch affects churches. As part of their missions, the majority of churches today serve their community in some capacity. Like any organization, the church is limited in time, gifting, and finances. Thus, knowing the effect of a ministry helps the church wisely allocate resources. This project sought to provide the church insight on how its use of presence and touch when serving the community results in conversions and church growth.