Church growth


Brett Gleason D.Min.
This project focuses on the best practices of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) as it seeks to support the replanting or reestablishment of local churches that are considered “dying” because of their unsustainability and inevitably will close. The project thesis is that replants that implement these best practices have more conversions, more growth, and a higher survivability rate than those that do not. Both best practices of replanted churches and denominations that support them were identified in this study. The field work was completed using qualitative research methodology through a series of interviews, surveys, and document review.

Ten best practices of replanted churches were identified. (1) Replant pastor develops pastoral skills before replanting. (2) The church has a disciple making emphasis. (3) The pastor models evangelism. (4) The church serves the community. (5) The church prays evangelistically. (6) The church uses a holistic approach to evangelism training. (7) The church has evangelistic worship services. (8) The church has a vibrant small group ministry. (9) The church has a Connections Ministry Team. (10) The church is committed to Children’s Ministry.

Ten best practices of denominations were identified. (1) Clear distinctions between revitalization, replanting, and church planting. (2) Denominational staff designated for replanting. (3) There is a vision for replanting. (4) A clear process for replanting is developed. (5) The denomination adapts and modifies church planting systems for replanting. (6) The church has a replanting residency. (7) There is an assessment process for dying churches. (8) Interim pastors are utilized in the replanting process. (9) An oversight board oversees the replanting efforts. (10) There is a committed sending church for the replant.

Developing a Replant Strategy to Equip Living Hope Dunbar Cave to Reach the Unchurched in Central Clarksville, Tennessee.

Blake Cordaris Allen D.Min.
Replanting efforts fulfill God’s desire for spiritual flourishing and gospel advancement. The goal of church replanting is to go from dying to flourishing. There is no pleasure found in the closing of a church that bears the name of Christ. For this reason, dying churches need biblical solutions to address their current conditions. The purpose of this project was to develop a replanting strategy to equip Living Hope Dunbar Cave to reach the unchurched in Central Clarksville, Tennessee. Chapter 1 presents the history and ministry context of Living Hope Dunbar Cave and the goals of this project. Chapter 2 provides an exegesis of three passages of Scripture (Ezek. 37:1-6; Rev. 3:1–6; Acts 2:40–47) to show that replanting efforts fulfill God’s desire for spiritually flourishing churches and gospel advancement. Chapter 3 presents the practical reasons for church replanting, including biblical stewardship, encouragement, and community vibrancy through gospel advancement. Chapter 4 describes the details and descriptions of the project itself, recounting the project goals, content, and teaching methodology of the eight-week series. Chapter 5 evaluates the effectiveness of the project based on the completion of the project goals. Ultimately, this project intended to take the first step in equipping churches for church replanting.

Equipping Selected Adult Bible Study Leaders of Philadelphia Baptist Church in Alexandria and DeVille, Louisiana, in Small-group, Multiplication Practices

Andrew L. Orr
The purpose of this project was to equip selected adult Bible study leaders of Philadelphia Baptist Church in Alexandria and Deville, Louisiana, in small group multiplication practices. The project director researched the field of multiplication practices to gain a better understanding of various settings including community, business, and religious practices. Once the research was underway, the project director reported on the findings and sought to establish a connection between successful group multiplication practices and application in a specific religious setting. He wrote a curriculum to present to the adult small group Sunday school and Bible study leaders at Philadelphia Baptist Church. The project director taught the curriculum to equip teachers and leaders with practices in multiplying themselves as leaders in the Sunday school and small group ministry at both the initial location in Deville, Louisiana, and the revitalized church location (Horseshoe Drive) in Alexandria, Louisiana.

A Critique of Multi-Site Churches and Southern Baptist Ecclesiology

Mack Dale Roller Jr. D.Min.
There are very few subjects in the church growth arena attracting more controversy than the subject of Multi-Site Churches (MSC). On one hand, MSCs have been touted as being successful in “reaching” more people with fewer resources, making it a very efficient and effective strategy for church growth. On the other hand, the structure of MSCs have been called into question. Some claim this movement runs wide of Baptist ecclesiology, resulting in a deluded and distorted representation of the NT teaching concerning the doctrine of the church. Southern Baptist opponents claim MSCs are a breach of Article VI of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. The question at hand: Is it possible for one church to maintain Southern Baptist ecclesiology, particularly adhering to the BFM2000 Article VI, and adopt the MSC strategy? The research will address Southern Baptist ecclesiology from a biblical and historical perspective. An evaluation of the definition and history of the MSC movement as well as an evaluation of the various structures of MSC strategies will provide essential for a solid conclusion. A review of the critics, as well as a response to their prominent objections, is necessary to achieve thorough evaluation. It is the claim of this research project that it is possible for an MSC to adhere to Article VI of the BFM2000. It is the prayer of this researcher that this work will serve Southern Baptist churches as they seek to obey the Great Commission.

Training Members of New Life Gospel Church in Keller, Texas to Understand the Love of God for Sustained Spiritual Growth

Tiejun Wang
New Life Gospel Church (NLGC) Keller, TX a Chinese immigrant church, has been at a bottleneck for quite a while. The situation was analyzed through biblical research, historical review, and theoretical study. The analysis revealed that the Christians of NLGC Keller were still living in a state of spiritual war. Then, the project was designed to focus on solving this issue through ongoing heart transformation by the love of God.
The project is called “heart transformation project.” Only God’s love can transform the heart. Therefore, Christians’ hearts must be put into the circulation of God’s love. The argument is whether God’s love can continue transforming Christians’ hearts. If Christians’ hearts can continue transforming through receiving and giving God’s love in the love-circulating system, the church will certainly grow up sustainably.
Focusing on heart transformation, the project can be utilized as a discipleship training program. Through the process of transformation by God’s love, Christians are expected to grow up quickly to become acceptable to God after His own heart.

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.
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