“CHURCH GROWTH OF PHILIPPINE
MISSIONARY FELLOWSHIP, INC.”
THE FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE SCHOOL
EVANGEL CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA
MONROE, LOUISIANA, USA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE
DOCTOR OF RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHY
BABY RUTH S. HABLO
SAN JOSE, OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, PHILIPPINES
This researcher wishes to acknowledge the following persons who
in one way or another helped much in making this thesis possible:
To her brothers: Mr. Edgar B. Santos who is working in
California, USA, the sponsor of this study program. His financial
assistance helped much in the realization of her pursuit of education and
Dr. Joel B. Santos,
Board of Director and Missionary of Philippine Missionary Fellowship, Inc.
for the technical assistance and suggestions;
To Rev. Samuel C. Pascua, Executive Director of Philippine
Missionary Fellowship, Inc. for allowing this writer to study the church
growth of the local churches of Philippine Missionary Fellowship,
To Dr. Dee Nance of Evangel Christian University of America
for the encouragement and kindness;
To Dr. Iluminada G. Remo, Director of Occidental Mindoro National
College Labangan Campus, English critic and adviser, for the patience
in reading the manuscript, direction and moral support extended;
To Rev. Isaias Sarmiento, PMF Area Coordinator- Occidental Mindoro
and Rev. Teody Suarez of Sambahang Kristiyano ng Ligaya for
their kind assistance during the validation of questionnaire;
Special acknowledgement goes to Rev. & Mrs. Marcelo & MyrnaTobias
, Ms. Florie Mazo, Mrs. Etta & Sarah Mazo of Sambahang Kristiyano
ng San Jose, Pastor and Mrs. Rey and Grace Flores of Bethany Evangelical
Missionary Church and Pastor Roberto Paulmanal of Church of
Christ Worldwide for lending this writer books and other reference materials;
To all members of Sambahang Kristiyano ng San Jose, Occidental Mindoro;
to my officemates, loved ones and friends for prayers, moral
support and encouragement;
To my husband Noli and sons Von Raymond and Von Kenneth for the affection,
patience and understanding while doing this research; and to my parents,
brothers and sisters for the prayers and encouragement;
To all those whose names may not be mentioned, their good deeds are
always remembered and treasured.
Above all, to our Almighty God for His endless love and guidance
that leads her all the way to make this research a success.
All Pastors of
PHILIPPINE MISSIONARY FELLOWSHIP, INC.
…who remain true to God
under all circumstances…
… who carry us through…
This simple piece is heartily dedicated!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page……………………………………………………………… i
Dedication …………………………………………………………….. iv
Table of Contents ……………………………………………………. v
List of Tables ………………………………………………………… vii
Abstract ……………………………………………………………... viii
Chapter I THE PROBLEM
Introduction ………………………………………………………. 1
Statement of the Problem …………………………………………. 8
Significance of the Study ……………………………………..…… 10
Assumptions ……………………………………………………… 10
Scope and Delimitation …………………………………………… 11
Definition of Terms …………………………………………….…. 11
Chapter II REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE AND STUDIES
Scientific Studies on Independent Religious Movement …………. 17
Religious Independent Movement in Philippine Catholicism …….... 20
Religious Independent Movements in Philippine Protestantism
Brief History of Protestantism in the Philippines ………………… 28
Evangelical Christianity in the Philippines ……………………….. 35
The Rise of Faith-Missions …………………………………….. 37
of Pastoral Theology
Purpose of Pastoral Theology ……………………………………. 39
Biblical Foundations ………………………………………………40
Historical Perspective ……………………………………………. 47
The Shepherd’s Call and Qualifications ………………………….. 55
Principles, Strategies and other Researches on Church
Growth …. 69
Five New Testament Principles on Church Growth ……………… 72
Understanding Church Growth ………………………………….. 74
Church Growth Principles that are Real, that Work, and are
Biblical ……………………………………………….......……. 80
Chapter III METHODOLOGY
Description of the Subject ………………………………………. 204
Description of the Research Instruments ………………………… 204
Method of Data Gathering ……………………………………….205
Method of Data Presentation …………………………………..
Chapter IV PRESENTATION, INTERPRETATION
AND ANALYSIS OF DATA
Characteristics of PMF Ministers ……………………………… . 206
Effectiveness of Church Growth Methods and Strategies
Specific Programs and Projects Implemented by the
PMF Churches ………………………………………….....….. 214
Problems, Issues and Needs of the PMF Churches ………………225
Relationships Between the Minister’s and the Perceived
Effectiveness of Church Growth Methods and Strategies
Relationship Between Problems, Issues and Needs of the Church
And the Effectiveness of Growth Methods and Strategies
Interrelationships among Problems, Issues and Needs……………. 235
Relationship Between PMF Minister’s Profile and the
Problems, Issues and Needs of the Church ………………..........
Chapter V SUMMARY, CONLCUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Summary ………………………………………………………… 238
Findings ………………………………………………………….. 240
Recommendations ………………………………………………. . 246
A Constitution and By-Laws of Philippine Missionary
Fellowship ………………………………............……….. ..255
B List of PMF Workers …………………………………….. 268
C PMF Churches as of December 2002 …………………….. 276
D Churches Established by PMF but are Now Separated …. .. 283
E Survey Questionnaire ……………………………………....287
F Certifications ……………………………………………... 300
Curriculum Vitae ……………………………..……………… 304
HABLO, BABY RUTH S. Evangel Christian University of America, Monroe,
Louisiana, U.S.A. September 2003. Church Growth of Philippine Missionary
This study was conducted to determine the growth of the Philippine
Missionary Fellowship, Inc. The specific objectives were to: 1) describe
the profile of PMF Ministers; 2) find out the specific programs and projects
implemented in terms of different church growth factors; 3) identify the
different problems, issues and needs of the church, and assess their seriousness;
4) find out the different church growth methods and strategies, and assess
their effectiveness as perceived by the respondents; 5) determine the relationship
between minister’s profile and the problems, issues and needs for church
growth; 6) find out the relationship between profile and the perceived
effectiveness of church growth methods and strategies; 7) appraise the
relationship between problems, issues and needs and the perceived effectiveness
of growth methods and strategies; and 8) determine the interrelationships
among problems, issues and needs.
The study used descriptive research, with questionnaire as instrument.
The respondents were the 54 PMF Ministers. Statistics such as frequency,
rank, means, standard deviation and correlation analyses were used, and
the data were processed through the Statistical Package for Social Sciences
Majority of the PMF Ministers reached college level, 44.10 years
old and had 9.85 years of work experience. They implemented different programs
and projects in terms of the different church growth factors. Problems
and issues encountered by the church were moderately serious, and also
had needs for the implementation of programs and projects for growth. As
perceived by the Ministers, the methods and strategies employed by the
church for growth were highly effective.
The Church. It’s very name inspires different thoughts in
different people. For some, the church is warm and secure, but for others,
it is a threatening, demanding master waiting to impose its will on our
The word “church” is used in two senses in the New Testament. The church
means the congregation of disciples which comes together on the first day
of the week to break bread and engage in other acts of public worship (Acts
20:7; Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19). It also means the general spiritual
body over which Jesus is the head and in which every Christian is a member
(Matthew 16:18; Colossians 1:18, 24; Ephesians 1:22).
In the Bible Dictionary, the word church came from the Greek word ekklesia,
meaning “called out.” It signifies the entire body of those who are savingly
related to Christ; a particular Christian denomination; the aggregate of
all the ecclesiastical communions professing faith in Christ.
The English word church is derived from the Greek word kuriakon which
was used by ancient authors for the place of worship. In the New Testament,
it is the translation of the Greek word ecclesia, which is synonymous with
the Hebrew kahal of the Old Testament, both words meaning simply
an assembly, the character of which can be known only from the connection
in which the word is found.
According to the New Testament definition, the church is the mystical
body of Christ of which He is the head (Ephesians 1:22, 23).
The church is our spiritual home. In every village and town the
sky line is marked by the slender spire or the square tower of the church.
In Europe and America the Church has been the greatest force in shaping
the world in which we live. Universities, schools and colleges, hospitals
and asylums, better prisons, kinder laws, the ending of slavery and dueling,
and the attempt to end war and bring in the brotherhood of man, all these
have been in large measure the work of the Church.
The Church is something like a tree limbs branch off: some small,
some large; some straight, some twisted; and whose leaves in the fall may
be still mostly green, with patches here and there of gold and flame. Even
so, the Church has many branches and leaves differing as to form of the
building, the dress of the clergy, the services and beliefs. Some spires
are tipped with crosses and some with weather vanes. Some churches give
the altar a central position in front, and some the pulpit. In some, the
minister wears robes of many colors; in others, only a plain suit. The
Quakers have no altars and no pulpit and no minister. Yet all strive to
serve one Master.
A familiar nursery rhyme asks, “Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does
your garden grow?” Jesus answers a similar question about how the kingdom
grows in the parable of the sower in Mark 4. His response is, “The
earth produces by itself.” If we were to say “automatically,” we would
reflect the actual Greek work automate, translated as “by itself, of its
The Lord intends His church to grow. He designed it that way.
It began with a “big bang,” some 3000 in one day. And it grew daily, in
Judea, Samaria, all around the Mediterranean, to Rome, and the world.
Some 13 years ago, churches of Christ were number one among U.S. churches
in church growth. Now we are 13th! It’s good to know that many are
helping to look at ourselves in the attempt to find out what is wrong.
Church growth has been and still is a chief concern of numerous
organized groups: our Christian schools, which themselves are growing;
specialized workshops and training efforts, which are more prolific than
ever; and, of course, every truly Christian congregation with its leaders
are concerned with their own growth – or lack of it.
Some are optimistic. Shubert quotes the pollster George Gallup
about their present opportunity for church growth “that might not come
again for another 100 years, if ever.” Normal Bales of Cedar Rapids
is optimistic, not because of what the statistics show, but brought faith
in God and His church against which “the gates of hell shall not prevail.”
He is tired of pessimists, particularly those who cite endless statistics
and plot them out to show that the church will be extinct in so many years.
Michael Harper, an Anglican and author of “Let My People Grow:
Ministry and Leadership in the Church”, warns that “church leaders have
appeared to be blind or impervious to such shocking statistics.”
He refers particularly to 1978 when nearly two million adult professing
Christians in Europe abandoned the Christian faith to become agnostics,
atheists, or adherents of non-Christian religious or cults. Harper speaks
of the “lukewarm West,” lulled into a false sense of security. A Christian
writes that we, like the Israelites of old who stopped fighting and became
well-fed farmers of God’s promised land that flowed with milk and honey,
have crossed the tracks and now are settled down with our successes and
blessings and have become fat.
David Edwards, the dean of Norwich in Great Britain, writes “the
Church of England… is largely dead.” Main line Protestantism is dying,
particularly those led by theological liberal leaders who have denounced
the very fundamentals of Christian belief such as the godhead, the incarnation,
the resurrection, and biblical authority.
And, undeniably, church of Christ membership as a whole is declining.
The Church is dying. It is as if an infectious disease was sapping the
spiritual strength of Christ’s Body. His church. The church needs
leadership, a leadership capable of diagnosing the disease; then a leadership
courageous and capable of administering the cure.
But what is the diagnosis?
What is the cure?
One more thing for sure: our doctors will disagree.
No two will make the same diagnosis. No two will prescribe the
same cure. One extreme will recommend a mild sedative. The other will insist
that radical surgery alone can save.
Seriously, local church leadership – elderships particularly
– they are responsible. God will hold them accountable for their
Thom S. Rainer told a story of Paul and Melissa who joined their
church with great enthusiasm. They became friends with another young couple
in their Sunday School class. They could not say enough good things about
their church. Yet after nine months they stopped attending, they received
notice that they had joined another Baptist church in that area. He said,
“ I must admit that I am hurt each time we lose a member to inactivity
or another church. I feel like the shepherd who has seen his sheep stray,
perhaps never to be found again. In the case of Paul and Melissa, I am
grateful that they are active in another church. Most drop-outs leave all
church activity for years, perhaps forever. What could we have done differently?
Was there anything we could have done to keep them?”
Consultant Pat Keifert reveals some amazing study results.
“Every year for more than a decade, he said, my research associates
and I have run a very simple test in thirteen different congregations around
the country. We send in twelve visitors who are not known to each particular
congregation. We ask the congregations to identify the visitors that is,
to tell who their visitors were. We have found that in no instance since
we started this exercise has any congregation been able to identify more
than six of the twelve.”
This is even more amazing when you consider that every church
will tell you that their number one strength is that they are warm and
friendly. However, the data suggests that about 50 percent of their visitors
get ignored. Now we all know that it’s not intentional, but the vast majority
of congregation are not trained and prepared to reach out to their guests.
A minister, who is an avid student of outreach and one who has
worked with his congregation in their area, related an email he received
from a guest. He said,
“I visited your church and went to class. Everyone seemed to
enjoy each other and were very friendly toward one another. I stayed around
after class and no one spoke to me. I mean, no one even said hello. Your
church seems very close, but I am looking for a friend because I am so
lonely. I guess church is not the place to find someone to talk to. I’ll
just stay home and watch the TV evangelists. I might as well, for all the
good it does to go to church. I hope the next person who comes to your
church looking for a friend will be treated better. So long.”
The story should break the heart of anyone with the mind of Christ.
Jesus sacrificed his life that none should perish. He came to seek and
save the lost. And churches are not prepared to respond when God sends
his lost sheep right into their midst.
John W. Ellas presented the story about the outstanding growth
at the Calgary Church of Christ in Alberta, Canada. Here is a church that
managed what 85% of churches of Christ never accomplish. They grew
from a small church-broke through the 200 barrier-and became a large church.
This accomplishment, in addition, was without a Bible Belt community to
sustain transfer growth. The following article tells their exciting story.
For the past six years Bob has served as Calgary’s pulpit minister,
and has devoted himself to helping the congregation apply church growth
insights and methods. Over the five-year period that I have known Bob,
he continues to impress me, not only with his commitment for growth, but
also with his understanding of the complex issues.
No individual staff person, elder, or member alone can generate positive
change. With genuine teamwork between staff, elders, and members, Calgary
Church of Christ has become a wonderful example – even a classic example
– of how a congregation can grow. By this, we mean, how a group of dedicated
Christians can effectively plant and water so that God can give the increase
(I Corinthians 3:6). We are partners with God by His own design, and must
be concerned about using productive rather than non-productive methods.
God has given the increase to Calgary, and they are now the largest church
of Christ in Canada.
From reviewing a case study of growth such as Calgary’s, the
first questions that might arise from an observer are, “Why do some churches
grow while others decline?” “Why are some congregations able to motivate
members to evangelize while others can’t even get their members to invite
friends to the Sunday assembly?” Asking questions, especially the right
questions, is a healthy start.
Philippine Missionary Fellowship (PMF) started from scratch,
except their strong desire and vision to evangelize the rural places of
the country, the places neglected by major Protestant denominations. This
was an offshoot of a ministry of Far Eastern Gospel Crusade (FEGC), in
the campus of Far Eastern Bible Institute Seminary (FEBIAS) in which the
main vision was to pioneer Gospel ministry and to plant local churches
to the rural places in the Philippines. It started as a prayer fellowship
in 1952, started its operation in 1954, and was incorporated with
the Stock and Exchange Commission (SEC) on July 14, 1956.
The PMF missionaries opened Philippine Missionary Institute (PMI) in
1961 at Biga, Silang, Cavite and have become the training center of many
Christian pastors and workers in the Philippines. The vision of this school
is to train competent pastors, missionaries and Christian leaders who know
how to start a ministry, establish it, and ensure its growth and expansion.
It is along this view that this researcher would want to investigate
the different church growth methods observed in the different churches
of Philippine Missionary Fellowship, Inc. Since from these methods, we
hope to determine the status of the churches of PMF in terms of church
What is the church becoming? Where are we going? Where should we be
going? What changes do we need to make effective ministers in our
communities and contexts? Today? Tomorrow? In the next decade? What do
the world, our communities, our churches, our members need? These are the
questions, important questions. Each is a different question, with
a different focus and with different answer.
On this foundation, the writer submits that the principal subject
and object of this study is focused on the church leaders’ efforts to enhance
spiritual welfare of its congregation with the church growth methods as
Statement of the Problem
The problem of this study is to identify and analyze the different
church growth methods observed in the churches of Philippine Missionary
Fellowship. On this perspective, the study sought to answer the following
1. What is the profile of PMF Ministers in terms of:
a. educational qualifications
2. What are the church growth methods and strategies observed in
How do the PMF Ministers rate the effectiveness of the church growth
methods and strategies?
3. What are the specific programs and projects implemented by
the church in terms of the following growth factors:
i. birthing; and
4. What are the problems, issues and needs of the Philippine Missionary
Fellowship churches? How are these problems, issues and needs managed by
5. Is there any significant relationship between the minister’s
profile and the effectiveness of the church?
6. Is there any significant relationship between the seriousness of
the problems and the effectiveness of the church growth methods?
7. Is there any significant relationship between the needs of the church
and the effectiveness of the church growth methods?
8. Are there significant interrelationship among problems, issues and
needs of the church?
Significance of the Study
This research will attempt to establish a tangible framework of church
growth methods in Philippine Missionary Fellowship churches. To exhort
and encourage those churches that are attempting to maintain a strong evangelical
testimony. Our burden is for churches that are trying to stay true to the
Lord and have experienced little or no growth through the years as a result
of their stand for the truth. This study will also suggest some of
the techniques of the dynamic church growth model which will give greater
impact to PMF churches.
Results of the study will provide helpful information
in so far as the church growth methods are concerned as well as serve as
a starting point for further studies on its implementation.
It could help PMF and its pastors and missionaries in choosing
the methods that can be applied best in their respective churches.
This study assumes that the churches under the Philippine Missionary
Fellowship have an existing church growth methods that will help assess
its growth or its decline. It also assumes that this
study will help PMF in evaluating their churches and come out with
a more comprehensive church growth methods.
Scope and Delimitation
This study is focused on the church growth methods observed in
the churches of Philippine Missionary Fellowship. The Respondents
are the ministers and staff of PMF organization. The main concern
of this study is to establish a tangible framework of church growth methods
in the churches of Philippine Missionary Fellowship.
Definition of Terms
For better understanding of the study,
some terms have been defined as follows:
Biblical Principle. The term refers to “truths revealed in Scripture,
founded on revelation, and believed as bedrock to the faith.”
Christian Nationals Evangelism Commission (CNEC). Christian Nationals
Evangelism Commission was first organized as “China Native Evangelistic
Crusade” in 1943 at Shanghai, China dedicated to the winning, training
and sending of national leaders to serve the Lord among their own people.
In 1961, when it extended its ministries beyond the Chinese to other peoples
the name was changed to “Christian Nationals Evangelism Commission”. PMF
entered into a partnership with CNEC in 1978 and continues until now.
Church. In Christianity, has two basic meanings. Church is the term
for a community of Christians who share a specific set of beliefs. It also
means the building that Christians use for worship and other religious
activities. The word church comes from the Greek kuriakon, which
means of the Lord.
Church Growth. It refers to that careful discipline which investigates
the nature, the function, and the health of Christian churches, as they
relate to the effective implementation of the Lord’s Commission to make
disciples of all people. It is a spiritual conviction, yet it is practical,
combining the eternal principles of God’s Word with the practical insights
of social and behavioral sciences. According to Thom Rainer, church
growth, “is that discipline which seeks to understand, through biblical,
sociological, historical, and behavioral study, why churches grow or decline.”
Church Growth Principle. It is a worldwide truth which, when properly
applied, along with other principles, contributes significantly to the
growth of the church.
Disciple. This term is derived from the Greek word mathethes.
“In the Christian sense, a disciple of Jesus Christ is one who has come
to Him for eternal life, has claimed Him as Savior and God, and has embarked
upon the life of following Him.”
Far Eastern Gospel Crusade (FEGC). This was legally incorporated as
an interdenominational missionary agency, loyal to the bible as the
inspired and authoritative word of God, and operating on faith principles
on April 12, 1947 in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. Their first major ministry
in the Philippines was the establishment of the Far Eastern Bible Institute
and Seminary (FEBIAS) in July 1948. It was FEBIAS where the Philippine
Missionary Fellowship was born. At the beginning of 1982, SEND International
became the official name of the mission.
Filipino. This refers to all citizens of the Philippine Republic.
Growth. The term refers to the process of growing; development.
Independent Church. This term is to be understood “functionally” so
that a Filipino “independent” religious movement administers itself
and its resources without the influence of compulsion coming from the other
groups, particularly from the foreigners. An independent church chooses
its own Board of Directors coming from among themselves and its decisions
as a group are final, without reference to an outside body.
Independent Protestant Movement. The movement referred to in
this paper is a “social movement” which differ from other kinds of collective
behavior in terms of endurance and degree of organization.
Local Church. A local church may be defined as that ordered body of
professing baptized who, on the basis of common experiences of the Lord
and convictions of the Word, in the bond of mutual love and understanding,
in the interest of common concerns and causes, and for the purposes of
mutual spiritual benefits and fellowship, assemble themselves together
according to the Word of God, conduct worship services in an organized
and orderly manner, observe the Lord’s ordinances, perform such functions
as they deem advantageous to themselves and their community according to
the Word of God, and discharge such other responsibilities as they judge
their duty before God and man.
Minister. A clergyman serving a church, especially a Protestant church;
spiritual guide; pastor.
Mission. This refers to an enterprise devoted to proclaiming
the good News of Jesus Christ, and to persuading men and women to become
His disciples and dependable members of His Church.
Missionary. A person sent on the work of a religious mission.
Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF). OMF was formerly China Inland
Mission (CIM) founded by Judson Taylor in 1865 to reach China with the
Gospel of Christ. OMF began its work in the country in 1951 assigning missionaries
to assist Chinese churches in Manila and Cebu, to work with FEGC and with
Far Eastern Broadcasting Company (FEBC), and to evangelize the primitive
Mangyan tribes in Mindoro. The local churches they established became part
of the ABCOP. OMF missionaries helped PMF especially in teaching at the
Philippine Missionary Institute (PMI).
Pastor. This is a Latin translation of the Greek word poimen which
means literally a “herdsman, a shepherd.” One who flocks the sheep.
Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC). PCEC started
as a fellowship of fundamentalist or conservative churches in 1967 but
was only legally incorporated in 1971. It provides cooperative ministries
in evangelism, missions and social concern. PCEC joined the World Evangelical
Fellowship (WEF) in 1974. PCEC was also established to break the sole Protestant
representation to the Philippine government of the National Council of
Churches in the Philippines (NCCP). NCCP’s leadership tends to go to theological
liberalism. PMF is a founding member and still affiliated with the PCEC.
Philippine Missionary Institute (PMI). This is the Bible School and
seminary of PMF established in 1961 as a “Tagalog Bible Institute”
in order to train PMF Missionaries and pastors. PMI was legally incorporated
to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 1969. It now offers
Bachelor of Arts major in theology degree with permit from Commission on
Higher Education (CHED).
PMF. This pertains to Philippine Missionary Fellowship. Its main
vision was to pioneer Gospel ministry and to plant local churches to the
rural places in the Philippines.
Protestantism. This is a Christian religious movement which formally
began with Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic priest, in 1517 when he attacked
the doctrine of the indulgence of the Roman Catholic Church.
Theology. The study of God and His Word.
World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF). WEF was formally established
in Holland in August 1951 to provide fellowship and to coordinate the works
of the “Evangelical Churches” around the world. It was really to counter-act
the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) ecumenical liberalism by creating
conservative international organization.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE AND STUDIES
This chapter deals with related studies presented in three parts:
The first part is focused on the Scientific Studies On Independent Religious
Movement, Independent Religious Movement in Philippine Roman Catholicism,
Religious Independent Movements in Philippine Protestantism, Brief History
of Protestantism in the Philippines and Evangelical Christianity in the
Philippines. The Second part deals with the Concept of Pastoral Theology:
Biblical Foundations, Historical Perspective, The Shepherds Call
Qualifications and the Pastor and His Work. The third part involves Principles
and writings on Church Growth as well as researches similar to the present
study. They were reviewed to establish the necessary background which helped
this writer in making this research more comprehensive.
I. Scientific Studies on Independent Religious Movement
There are two important pioneering studies concerning the rise of independent
religious movements. The first was by Ernst Troeltsch in his book
entitled “The Social Teaching of the Christian Churches,” where he classified
religious institutions as belonging to either churches or sects. Troeltsch
believed however that as the sect grows it evolves into a church.
Troeltsch differentiated the “church” from a “sect” in nine ways. First
regarding size, the church is large while the sect is small. Second, regarding
relationships with other religious groups, the church is tolerant while
the sect feels it has the sole truth. Third, the church has an extensive
wealth while the sect’s wealth is limited. Fourth, the religious services
of the church have limited congregational participation, formal and have
an intellectual emphasis, while the sect has extensive congregational participation,
spontaneous and with emotional emphasis. Fifth, the church have specialized
and professional clergy, while the sect have unspecialized, part-time and
little training clergy. Sixth, the church has liberal interpretation of
the Bible, emphasizing the this-worldly aspects, while the sect have
literal interpretation of the Bible with emphasis on the other-worldly
aspects. Seventh, the church’s membership procedures are by birth or by
ritual participation, while the sect is through conversion. Eighth, the
church’s members belong mainly to the middle class, while the sect mainly
on the lower class. And the last, the church endorses the prevailing culture
and social organization, while the sect renounces or opposes the prevailing
The second study was by Rodney Stark and William Bainbridge in their
book “The Future of Religion: Secularization, Revival and Cult Formation.”
They reserve the label sect to “those who broke away from an established
church and claims to be a cleansed version of the faith from which they
split.” The cults, on the other hand, refers to “”religious institutions
without ties to established churches, created entirely new religious beliefs
and practices, and rupture their convert’s ties to conventional institutions
including the family.” Hence, both have something to do with improving
their mother’s church where the former do it by being strict to its standing
rules and dogmas, while the latter do it by the radical transformation
of its rules and dogmas.
The work of Arthur Leonard Tuggy, in his book Iglesia ni Cristo:
A Study in Independent Church Dynamics, he provided a framework for understanding
the factors for the rise, successful secession, and growth of independent
churches worldwide following the thesis of David Barrett in his research
of church independency in thirty-four African nations. Whereas Barret’s
thesis is that the church independency is an Africa-wide phenomenon, Tuggy
generalized Barrett’s thesis that the independent church is a worldwide
phenomenon. Tuggy did his thesis by comparing the “Iglesia ni Cristo”,
an independent church in the Philippines, with an independent churches
in Africa, Taiwan, Japan, Chile and Brazil.
For Tuggy, the key factor for the occurrence or rise of independent
churches is the idea of “people-consciousness.” This is actually the nationalistic
feeling of the people for their own tribe or group or “sakop.” Whenever
there are things that give pride or unity for a certain group of people,
the occurrence of independency movement is there and might already be on
its way. However, “people-consciousness” is not enough for the successful
formation of the independent church. This “people-consciousness” must be
strong triggered by feelings of grievance toward the parent body and by
feelings of solidarity. A leader respected by the group must be there to
lead them towards independency as the situation became intolerable for
them to join the parent body in their worship and activities. There must
also be a fairly large initial exodus of adherents in order for the secession
to be successful. The negative responses of the parent religious organization
and the neutrality of the government help a lot in the formation of an
Independent churches only grow, according to Tuggy, if there are suited
historical, sociological, methodological and religious factors. The
historical factors have something to do with the personal and group experiences
of the secessionist group before their secession or independency. These
experiences include national independence, the continued feelings of nationalism
of the people, the democratic political system which resulted to religious
pluralism, liberty and competition, and the superior attitudes of foreign
missionaries. The significant sociological factors include the presence
of an innovative society, great internal migration, charismatic leadership,
societal unrest, strict organization, and indigenous leadership, language
and lifestyle. The significant methodological factors include centralized
leadership and financial system, trained and disciplined ministers, aggressive
evangelism, and the use of extensive and intensive methods of propagation.
The significant religious factors include the widespread disillusionment
of the big churches, the certainty it offered, the appeal to the Bible
as authority and demand for committed membership.
Religious Independent Movement in Philippine Roman Catholicism
During the Spanish period, there were many uprisings caused by
economic and religious discontentment. One of those caused by religious
discontentment occurred in October 1841 led by Apolinario dela Cruz at
Tayabas. Dela Cruz or “Hernando Pule” formed a secret confraternity of
pure-blooded Filipino men and women. Usha Mahajani wrote that “pre-Christian
religious beliefs greatly helped cement the bond between its members.”
However, the Spanish policy towards “rebels”, whether political or religious,
was uniform” retributive and deterrent punishment. Sonia M. Zaide noted
this revolt as the first important religious revolt in the Philippines.
“Hernando Pule” founded the Cofradia de San Jose. When Governor General
Marcelino Oraa and the Spanish Archbishop declared it a heretic group,
Hernando Pule carried on with his movement and fought for religious freedom.
They were all killed and it became clear that no Filipino independent religious
movement would be allowed in Roman Catholicism during the Spanish period.
Even the Philippine Independent Church (PIC) or the “Iglesia
Filipina Independiente” (IFI) also called as the “Aglipayan Church” had
their independence formalized only during the American regime. Sister Mary
Dorita Clifford in her study of the “Iglesia Filipina Independiente: The
Revolutionary Church” traced its founding and historical developments.
The first phase, 1898-1901, was the period of revolution against Spain
and the United States. Aguinaldo, after returning from Hongkong on May
19, 1898, appointed Father Gregorio Aglipay as military chaplain to coordinate
the efforts of the native clergy, to fill the vacancies of the parishes,
and to separate the common people from their allegiance to Spain and draw
them to revolution. The defeat of the revolutionary forces, the capture
of Aguinaldo, and the subsequent surrender of Aglipay and other insurgents
by May 1901, brought about the eventual pacification of the Philippines
under the American control and brought the independent church under the
control of the Spanish hierarchy in Manila. This installed
the founding of the independent church.
The second phase was its founding until 1905 when after Taft’s
departure, the Aglipayans lost the support of the American authorities.
Its founding had three stages. First on March 1900, Aguinaldo issued a
decree affirming Aglipay as the supreme authority of the Catholic Church
in the Philippines instead of the Spanish Archbishop. Second, in January
1901, Felipe Buencamino attempted to build an independent Filipino Evangelical
Church using his church as a necessary requirement for membership in a
political party. This second attempt failed also because the American government
never approved using a political party for religious purposes. And finally,
Isabelo delos Reyes, who led a campaign for the Filipinization of the clergy
before the start of the 1896 Revolution, supported a policy of complete
break with Rome and an independent church. He proposed it again in August
3, 1902 which won approval and was formally inaugurated on October
25-26, 1902. Membership in this church grew by leaps and bounds, with the
spirit of nationalism still burning in the hearts of many Filipinos.
The third phase started the decline of the Independent church
in 1905 until in September 1, 1940, Aglipay died at the age of eighty.
The main reason for the decline were the Supreme Court decision returning
the church property to the Roman Catholic Church possessed by the Independents
on November 24, 1906, and the steadfast adherence by the native priests
to their mother church. The last nationalistic act of Aglipay was
on June 1935 when he ran for the presidency of the Commonwealth but lost.
Clifford made a general observation that,
‘the whole movement was motivated by nationalism and the desire for
political independence as well as for recognition of the rights of the
native clergy. The subsequent attempts to set up an independent church
were radical departures in doctrine as well as authority and seem to have
been more political in nature than they were spiritual.”
The decline of the Aglipay Church, therefore seems due to its
secondary emphasis on spiritual doctrine and growth, and its primary emphasis
on political reaction to the abuses of the Spanish friars.
Religious Independent Movements in Philippine Protestantism
Douglas J. Elwood (1969), provided us with the reasons concerning the
rise of many independent religious groups in the country. In his Varieties
of Christianity in the Philippines, he explained the factors for the growth
of independent churches in the country. He wrote that there were five distinct
branches of Christianity in the Philippines:
1. Roman Catholicism;
2. Independent Catholics or the “Iglesia Filipina Independiente”;
3. Ecumenical Protestants or those related with the National Council
of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP);
4. Independent Protestants who never favored the ecumenical and liberal
doctrines of the NCCP, and those affiliated with the Philippine Council
of Evangelical Churches (PCEC); and,
5. Other non-Catholics who identify with neither the “Roman Catholic:
nor the “Protestant” tradition.
Elwood enumerated the following as the factors facilitating the growth
of independent Protestant movements in the Philippines. The first
was the institutional insularity of fragmentation of the traditional churches
and their failure to meet the religious needs of the whole Philippines.
Since they were heavily concerned with their inner struggles, many Protestant
churches neglected doing missions. The second factor was the newly found
freedom of religious expression that was guaranteed in the Philippine Bill
of 1902, carried over in the 1935 Philippine Constitution. The third is
the feeling of nationalism, against which Christianity was sometimes seen
to be a Western import on Philippine cultural patterns. The fourth factor
was the cultural orientation of the Filipinos which is regionalistic and
the consequent development of churches in relative isolation. The fifth
factor was the search of many Filipinos for cultural identity. This contributed
to the reception of numerous separatist movements from abroad. The seventh
factor was the hypersensitivity of many Filipino leaders to the confrontational
approach and frankness of the Americans. The eight factor was the widespread
Catholic lukewarmness to their faith and vestigial anticlericalism. And
the last factor was the expansion, after 1938, of the Independents or “Faith
Mission” movements in the United States stimulated by the Fundamentalist-Modernist
controversy of the 1920’s. These Conservative Protestants in the United
Stated saw no hindrance in starting missions in the country.
According to the study of Elwood (1969), prior to World War II, at
least twenty different independent Protestant agencies from abroad had
begun missionary work in the Philippines. It increased to thirty by 1949
immediately after the war. By 1969 there was an estimated number of 350
different religious bodies in the Philippines including pseudo-Christian
groups. More than 150 of them had some foreign ties and the rest were local
churches or movements who split from their mother churches and were led
and supported by Filipinos.
On the other hand, Kenton J. Clymer, in his book Protestant Missionaries
in the Philippines (1986), made the following historical conclusions about
the American Protestant missionaries in the Philippines who were the cause
for the rise of Protestant independent movements. First, he said, “all
missionaries virtually disapproved of Filipino resistance against
the Americans.” Second, they looked at the Filipinos as “underdeveloped
persons, akin to children” Clymer ascribed the many schisms within
American Protestantism in the Philippines to “the missionaries” failure
to give Filipinos more authority in mission affairs.”
Lastly, Clymer pointed out that the Baptists “were successful
in Filipinizing their churches more effectively than other missions.”
The Baptist’s commitment to Filipino controlled churches “came less from
a concession to Filipino nationalism but to their theological emphasis
on local autonomy based on the principle of self-supporting and self-propagating
native churches.” Later on, “other denominations followed with concessions
with Filipino nationalism in its ecclesiastical form which is the right
to govern themselves.” A pioneer in this move was the United Brethren
The book by Franklin W. Allen, Breaking the Barriers (1990), is about
the history of partnership of the Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF),
Far Eastern Gospel Crusade (FEGC) and the Alliance of Bible Christian Communities
of the Philippines (ABCCOP) in the Philippines. This book illustrates that
missionary goals of an indigenized Filipino church affected independent
Allen noted the strained broken relationships that existed between
the American missionaries and the national church due to the issues of
colonialism, imperialism, cultural misunderstandings, gunbout diplomacy,
and ethnocentricity. This is the picture of Protestantism after World War
II, “one of division and fragmentation.” This fragmentation, according
to Allen, was “due to many doctrinal differences between missionaries that
came from the United States and from their narrow sectarianism.”
Meanwhile, a number of American soldiers during World War II returned
to the Philippines to do missions under the Far Eastern Gospel Crusade
(FEGC). In 1950, the Board of Directors of the FEGC laid down principles
that was an attempt to establish a relationship with Filipino local churches
basically free from colonialistic overtones as well as faithful to the
bible. The following principles were:
1. “ That every effort put forth by the foreign missionary to counsel
and advise the believers in the establishment of a local church as set
forth in Paul’s examples to the church as found in the New Testament. This
local church must be indigenous and described as being self-supporting,
self-governing, and self-propagating.
2. That local believers form the congregation and the legislative
body for the
3. That pastors be appointed by the local congregations with the advise
of the missionaries.
4. That no missionary under the appointment by the FEGC be appointed
pastor of a local church.
5. That no local churches be established upon FEGC property.
6. That all monies be expended by the local congregations, and all monies
given by the churches in the United States for the establishment of churches
be channeled through the FEGC for such designated purpose. It is not the
purpose of the FEGC to assume responsibility for the maintenance of churches.”
These principles seemed to be fine until a number of local churches
left the FEGC mission behind and established the “Fellowship of Fundamental
Independent Churches of the Philippines” (FIFCOP) due to the lack of fellowship
between them and the foreigners and the local church leaders. The Overseas
Missionary Fellowship (OMF) who came to the Philippines in 1951 joined
the “Worker’s Fellowship” established by FEGC in each geographical area.
Later on, the move went on to “Church Fellowship.” Then, it went further
and caused to the establishment of a strong national church. On November
14-18, 1967 at Tagaytay, the Far Eastern Gospel Crusade (FEGC), Overseas
Missionary Fellowship (OMF), Philippine Missionary Fellowship (PMF), and
the representatives of the “Worker’s Fellowships” and “Church Fellowships,”
took the steps for the establishment of a national church. The Philippine
Missionary Fellowship did not follow through with an official association,
but the rest founded the “Association of Bible Churches of the Philippines”
(ABCOP) on November 18, 1972. Allen did not discuss the reasons why PMF
did not join the group. However, the main reason was that PMF was already
established during that time with around forty (40) missionaries working
in the Philippines.
Brief History of Protestantism in the Philippines
It is very necessary to review the history of Protestantism
or Biblical Christianity in the Philippines, of which PMF is a part.
The study of Alfredo de Guzman on History of Philippine Missionary Fellowship,
Inc.: A Historical Case Study of an Independent Filipino Christian Movement,
provides a short history of Protestantism in the Philippines.
De Guzman wrote: “On August 13, 1898, Chaplain W.D. McKinnon
conducted for the American soldiers the first Protestant worship
service. Also Frank A. Jackson and Charles A. Glunz of the Young Men’s
Christian Association (YMCA) conducted the first open Protestant Worship
service in the country on August 14, 1898. Chaplain George C. Stull,
a Methodist minister assigned with the First Montana Volunteers, also conducted
a Protestant service in the Philippines on August 28, 1898. during the
mid-November of 1898, Rev. Charles A. Owen of the Methodist Episcopal church
arrived in the Philippines but was never recognized by Bishop James I.
Thoburn who had jurisdiction of the Philippines. Rev. Owen went back to
the United States in the summer of 1899. Before his return to the US he
wrote: “I have preached more than 40 times, held revival services 18 nights
and eight were converted. One was baptized by sprinkling and four by immersion
in the Pasig River.”
However long before 1898, in 1853, the British and Foreign Bible
Society (BFBS) distributed 50 Spanish Bibles and 50 New Testaments
in the country. Again in 1870, a German national named Heinrich Hoffenden
of the BFBS came to Manila and distributed a total of 1,000 Spanish Bibles.
One of those who received and zealously read the Bible was a Dominican
friar named Manrique Lallave. When the friars in Manila came to know about
it Lallave was excommunicated. With the help of his friends, he was able
to go to England where he became an Episcopal minister, before he went
back to Spain. At Spain with the help of Eric Lund, a Baptist missionary,
and Felipe P. Castells, a convert of Lund, he translated the whole New
Testament into Pangasinese, with the exception of Revelation which only
translated in 1907. This was the first Bible translation into a Philippine
dialect. They reached Manila in 1888 but Lallave died a few days later
and Castells, after selling some Bibles, was deported to Spain along with
the boxes of Bibles. On September 1898, three weeks after the American
forces entered Manila, for the first time in the Philippines, the BFBS
sold Bibles openly to the public. Then, on November 1898, Charles B. Randall
of the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) accompanied by Jackson
and Glunz made a trip to Dagupan, Pangasinan to distribute the New Testament
translated by Lallave.
The Rev. H. S. Miller, who arrived in Manila in July 1889, was
the first agent of the BFBS while Rev. Jay C. Goodrich was the first agent
of the American Bible Society when it established a branch in 1899 in Manila.
These Bible Societies translated and published the first complete Bibles
in the Philippine dialects. BFBS published Bible translations in Bicol
(1905), Tagalog (1914) and Pangasinan (1915). The ABS published the Bible
translations in Ilokano (1909), Hiligaynon (1912), Pampango (1915), Cebuano
(1917) and Samareno (1937).
On February 28, 1899, Bishop James I. Thoburn of India came to
Manila where he met the Zamora family and others who were in the circle
of Protestant believers. He baptized new believers and licensed a fellow
Methodist, an American businessman whose name was Arthur Prautch as a local
preacher. Then he held a series of evangelistic services attended largely
by American servicemen. However, the first officially appointed missionaries,
Mr. And Mrs. James B. Rodgers, arrived in the Philippines on April 21,
1899 under the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions (US). It was on May
7, 1899 when Rodgers held his first service attended by seven persons of
whom four of them were members of one family (Paulino Zamora and his three
sons – Nicolas, Ricardo and Jesus). Paulino Zamora was the nephew of Father
Jacinto Zamora, one of the three Filipino priest martyrs of 1872. They
were later baptized on October 22, 1899, with one woman, and four other
It was the initiative of the Presbyterian to create a formal
comity agreement among the Protestant missions who came to the Philippines.
During their meeting on December 13-19, 1900, the Presbyterian Mission
passed the following resolutions:
1. “That all Protestant Filipino churches be designated “Iglesias Evangelicas”
without further distinction that marks their location.
2. That one mission station is sufficient for one town or district of
3. That we shall respect the prior claims of a mission where positive
and definite steps have been taken to occupy towns or districts and shall
not establishing preaching places in such places.
4. That where people from another district attend our services and wish
us to open in their district already occupied by another mission, we refer
them to the mission already in their district as being the branch of our
church doing work there.
5. That an effort be made to form an agreement with the other missions
work in the islands to divide the territory in such a way that our different
spheres of labor may not overlap.
6. That a copy of these resolutions be sent to each mission doing work
in the islands, requesting their cooperation in carrying out these plan.”
On April 24-26, 1901, a conference of all Protestant missionaries in
Manila was held at the YMCA Center in response to the Presbyterian comity
resolution. On April 25th the “The Evangelical Union of the
Philippine Islands” was formed, a council of representatives from the various
participating missions and Christian agencies. The original groups which
composed it were the Presbyterian Mission, the Methodist Mission, the Young
Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the British and Foreign Bible Society
and the American Bible Society. The primary goal of this act was to bring
about a spirit of comity, unity and cooperation that would eliminate rivalry
and effect harmony among its constituent bodies. A distinctive feature
of this Union was the fact that it was a missionary organization and its
membership was limited only to the Americans. The comity agreement to formally
divide the territory among the various missions was laid down in a number
of resolutions dated April 26, 1901, as follows:
“WHEREAS, the evangelization of these people will be more speedily
accomplished by a division of a territory, thus avoiding waste
time and money arising from the occupation of the same districts by
than one Society, which has marred the work in other and older fields,
BE IT RESOLVED, that each Mission now represented on the field accept
the responsibility for the evangelization of certain well-defined areas,
be mutually agreed upon, such agreement to be open to revision at the
of three years by the Evangelical Union at its regular meeting.
BE IT RESOLVED, that in the Island of Luzon the Methodist shall become
responsible for the work in the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac,
Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Bataan and Zambales; the Presbyterians for
work in the provinces of Morong, Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Tayabas,
and South Camarines, and Albay; the United Brethren for the work in
Provinces of La Union, Ilocos del Norte and Sur.
BE IT RESOLVED, that no new work be begun in the city or Province of
Manila, except by mutual understanding between the Superintendents
Missions whose interests are involved, and in cases of disagreement
to rest with the Executive Committee of the Evangelical Union.
BE IT RESOLVED, that we recommend that the Baptists and Presbyterians
shall become responsible for the work in the Islands of Panay and Negros,
they mutually deciding upon the portion of the Islands for which they
In the final scheme of territorial division which would last until
1950, the Methodists has north Luzon, except for the Ilocano provinces
which were given to the Disciples and the United Brethren. The Presbyterians
held south Luzon (except certain sectors in Laguna and Tayabas which were
given to the Disciples), Palawan and all of eastern Visayas. The Baptists
received all of the Ilongo-speaking Visayas including Negros and Romblon.
The Congregationalist had Mindanao, except for Sulu, Basilan, southern
Zamboanga and certain pockets in Cotabato which were entrusted to the Christian
and Missionary Alliance or the Episcopal Mission.
Dean Jorge Bocobo became the first Filipino president of the Evangelical
Union (1901-29) in 1921. In his leadership, the name of the Union was changed
twice: National Christian Council (1929-38) and then the Philippine Federation
of Evangelical Churches (1938-42). During World War II, Dr. Enrique C.
Sobrepena became its president. After the War, the name of the group became
the Philippine Federation of Christian Churches (1946-63), its name became
National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) which remains until
now. Through the years of the Protestant union, there was the cry
for the indigenization of the Church. Only after ten years of Protestantism
in the country, on February 28, 1909, a major event occurred which we will
call the formal beginnings of religious independency movements within Protestantism.
This event was the founding of the Iglesia Evangelica Metodista en las
Islas Pilipinas (IEMELIF) led by Rev. Nicolas Zamora. He was the first
Filipino to be ordained a Protestant minister. Many minor and major church
divisions occurred after that. Within the relatively short period
of seventy years (1898-1968), there were an estimated number of 350 different
religious bodies in the Philippines including pseudo-Christian groups.
The NCCP during its inception was already composed of seven denominations.
They were the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC), Iglesia
Evangelica Metodissta en las Islas Filipinas (IEMELIF), Iglesia Evangelica
Unida de Cristo (IEUDC), Methodist Church, Philippine Episcopal Church
(PEC), Philippine Independent Church (PIC), and the United Church of Christ
in the Philippines (UCCP). Only the Methodist Church, Philippine Episcopal
Church and the Philippine Independent Church had foreign leadership and
support, the others separated from their mother missions and became
self-supporting, self-governing and self-propagating.
As early as 1965, a new rival “national council” of churches
was organized in the Philippines by a number of Protestant independent
churches and organizations called the Philippine Council of Fundamental
Evangelical Churches (PCFEC). Its charter members were: Conservative Baptist
Association of the Philippines (CBAP), Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA),
International Foursquare Gospel Church (IFGC), Inter-Varsity Christian
Fellowship (IVCF), New Tribes Mission (NTM), Far Eastern Gospel Crusade
(FEGC), Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC), Overseas Missionary Fellowship
(OMF), Philippine Missionary Fellowship (PMF), and the Fellowship of Indigenous
Fundamental Churches of the Philippines (FIFCOP). This was formed because
they did not want the NCCP to be the official voice of the Protestantism
before the government and become the accrediting body for foreign missionaries.
They were suspicious of the NCCP’s leadership on their theological and
social compromise expressed primarily by their ecumenical teachings. When
it was legally incorporated in 1971, Philippine Council of Evangelical
Churches (PCEC) became its name.
The Charismatic Movement that started in the United States in
the 1950’s, as an offshoot of Protestantism, became popular in the Philippines
in the 1970’s. This movement brought revival to major Protestant groups
and caused the establishment of many independent churches in the country.
The Charismatic Movement, unlike mainstream Protestantism, encourages believers
to seek the gifts (charisma) of the Holy Spirit as a source of personal
experience and relationship with God, as well as the Bible as a source
of theological doctrine.
Evangelical Christianity in the Philippines
Review of Nineteenth Century Spiritual Awakening
An overview of the progress of worldwide Protestant missions in
the nineteenth century and the role of spiritual revivals may help
to enlighten the reader on the analysis of this study. Dr. J. Edwin Orr,
the great historian of revivals, has this to say:
There were four great outpourings of the Holy Spirit in the nineteenth
Resulting in revivals and awakenings and their extension by evangelism
social action… which made the nineteenth century the ‘Great Century’
evangelism and Christian action.
The ‘turn of the century’ awakenings sent off pioneer missionaries to
Seas, to Latin America, Black, America, India and China. There rose
Missionary societies such as the Baptist Missionary Society, the American
and other national missions in Europe. At the same time, the British
Bible Society was founded, followed by the American Bible Society and
National Bible Societies, as well as societies for promotion of Christian
Evangelical missionary endeavors reached their peak in the nineteenth
century. Church historians describe this particular period as the “Great
Century of Protestant Missions.” The evangelical Christians of America
and Europe have become acutely aware of their moral and spiritual responsibilities
to the rest of mankind. Observe that “of a total of 13,600 Protestant missionaries
in 1900, for example, (there were) 5,900 British, and 4,100 Americans…
The English-speaking peoples thus provided about three-fourths of the total
Protestant effort.” And this genuine burden for the souls of men,
without regard for life and wealth, was one of the lasting fruits of spiritual
awakening of revival.
Both continents had experienced a series of spiritual awakenings. These
revivals began during the first half of the eighteenth century and lasted
until the end of the next century. Even the church of England was not spared:
“An evangelical revival moved through the Church of England during the
first third of the century under the leadership of such well-known saints
as John Newton and William Wilberforce.” Linked with this mighty
outpourings of the Spirit of God were names of some of the great churchmen
of the past centuries. England had the brothers John and Charles Wesley
and George Whitefield. The great revivals in America were associated with
Theodore Frelinghuysen (1726), Jonathan Edwards (1734), Charles Finney
(1824), Jeremiah Lanphier (1857), Dwight L. Moody and Ira Sankey (1873-1875).
Dr. Orr’s voluminous and intensive researches testify to these mighty
movings of the Spirit of God creating spiritual momentum, as well as counteracting
spiritual declension. He speaks of the direct correlation between
revival and missions:
The Mid-century Awakenings revived all the existing societies and enabled
them to enter other fields. The practical evangelical ecumenism of
was embodied in the China Inland Mission founded by Hudson Taylor in
aftermath of the British Awakening…
The Rise of Faith-Missions
Speaking of the relation of revival to Christian missions, A.M.
Renwick says: “It has never been adequately realized, however, how much
this period owed to the great revival movement which took place.”
Indeed this period of Church History gave birth to mission boards and societies
whose faithful constituents had blazed the missionary trail. To name a
few of them: Baptist Missionary Society (1792), London Missionary Society
(1792), General Methodist Society (1796), Church Missionary Society (1799),
American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions (1810), Basel
Evangelical Missionary Society (1821), Danish Missionary Society (1821),
Berlin Missionary Society (1824), and Parish Missionary Society (1824).
The foreign missions movement continued to expand.
The latter half of the nineteenth century saw the rise of so-called
“Faith-Missions” for the propagation of the gospel on foreign fields: China
Inland Mission (1865), the Regions Beyond Missionary Union (1878), Central
America Mission (1878), the Evangelical Alliance Missions (1890), African
Inland Mission (1895), Sudan Interior Mission (1901), and many others.
“As in the first half of the century,” Orr continues, “practically every
missionary invasion was launched by men revived or converted in the Awakenings.”
The revivals provided men and motivation.
The outstanding missionaries of the period were Robert Moffat, David
Livingstone, J. Hudson Taylor, Robert Morrison, Alexander Duff, Henry Martyn,
Adoniram Judson and William Carey, “the father of modern missions”.
Nation after nation, we are told, had been reached with the gospel
of Jesus Christ as these zealous and faithful missionaries went to the
regions beyond. Indeed, it is remarkable to think that “the great missionary
work of the various denominational and interdenominational societies now
encircle the globe… The nineteenth century was preeminently the century
of missionary expansion.” Evidently, the foreign missionary enterprise
was gaining momentum in the churches of the western world:
From William Carey down to John R. Mott this movement took quite
the whole of humanity as its responsibility: ‘the evangelization of
the world in
our generation’… these thousands of men and women who for four generations
poured out to the ends of the earth to die among strange people of
in order to tell them the good news of what God had done in Christ.
Thus, the nineteenth century became in itself the century of Christian
action, taking the Good News to every quarter of the earth, to every phase
of life. Those whose hearts the Spirit had touched became the great initiators
of reform and welfare and tuned even the conscience of unregenerate men
to a “sense of Divine harmony in society.” A great century indeed and whose
effects split over to as far as the Far East and the Philippine Islands!
II.CONCEPT OF PASTORAL THEOLOGY
For more appreciation of the substance of this study, this writer incorporated
the concept of Pastoral Theology. Considering the pastor’s/elder’s significant
role as a leadership body in the local churches, and seriously local
church leadership – elderships particularly – they are responsible for
church growth. God hold them accountable for their congregations’ health.
Thomas C. Den defined “Pastoral Theology” as the branch of Christian
theology that deals with the office and functions of the pastor. It seeks
to reflect upon the self disclosure of God witnessed to by the Scripture,
mediated through tradition, reflected upon by critical reasoning and embodied
in personal and social experiences.”
Seward Hiltner describe “Pastoral Theology” as that branch
or field of theological knowledge and inquiry that bring the shepherding
perspective to bear upon all operations and functions of the church and
minister and then draws conclusions of a theological order from reflection
of these observations.”
Paul’s words to Timothy, “Thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus
Christ” (I Timothy 4:6) , do not refer to the latter’s preaching but to
his practical administration of the affairs of the local church of which
he was a pastor.
The name “pastoral” is a uniquely Christian term that expresses
a fundamental concept that is deeply embedded in every biblical portrayal
of Christian ministry. The Term refers to a rich scriptural figure that
finds its beginning and end in God. He, who is the “Shepherd of Israel”
(Psalm 80:1), ultimately demonstrated the meaning of His covenantal love
as the Great Shepherd of the sheep by giving His life for them (John 10:11.
The figure virtually bursts with significance, far more than
didactic statements ever could express. Let us try to capture something
of what it meant for David (as a former shepherd) to write:
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23: 1),
for in that great declaration lies all that is meant by “Pastoral Work.”
To help to understand this:
“The Lord is my Pastor; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).
In conclusion, Pastoral Theology is not a comprehensive title
for all sorts of practical applications of theology but is restricted discipline
that lay at the heart of practical theology and deals with the relationship
between doctrine and practice in both the pastoral task specifically and
the ministry generally.
PURPOSE Of PASTORAL THEOLOGY
It is designed to be helpful in the work of the ministry outside
of the preaching of the Word. They ought to deport themselves at all times
while filling the office of a pastor.
This is helpful to those who are preparing for this work, but
they may also be useful to some who are already in the pastorate.17
WHY IT IS NEEDED
The Lord Jesus certainly prepared the Apostles for their work.
For about three years. He thoroughly and carefully taught them many things
pertaining to success in their ministry of the Gospel such as: Seeking
first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33); Being watchful against false teachers
(Matthew 7:15,16) practicing humility (Matthew 18:1-6); and Disciplining
a sinning brother (Matthew 18:15-19). The need for instruction and training
has not ceased in the apostle’s period. Three of Paul’s letters are commonly
called pastoral epistles (1 and 11 Timothy & Titus).
In Genesis 48:15 Jacob said…”the God who has been my Shepherd
all my life to this day.”
A. Historical Experiences. It was rare for them to speak of God as
The Psalmist, David said, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not
want.” Psalm 23:1 and Jacob declared on Genesis 49:24, from there is the
Shepherd, the Stone of Israel.”
B. It shed light on their own identity. Psalm 100:3 proclaim, “We are
His people, the sheep of His pasture.”
C. God’s ministry to His own people. The shepherd imagery in no way
exhausts the extent of God’s ministry to His own people. To it we must
add the picture of God as “Father” which is so touchingly portrayed in
Hosea 11:1-11. God lavishes on them the proud and gentle love of a Father.
All subsequent understanding of ministry takes its starting point from
the ministry of God to His own people. The human ministry can never be
more than a pale and partial reflection of that divine ministry. God the
Shepherd defines the relationship and function of the pastor to His flock.
God being the Shepherd speaks of both the patience required of love
and of the pain involved, the gentleness required to teach others and God’s
judgment that God cannot be trifled with.
However, it equally warns the pastor that the only position from which
he can minister to someone else is that of recognizing himself to be on
the same level as that person, since he too stands in need of the grace
of God and is only fit for the service of God because of that same grace.
The ministry’s responsibility is simply the modest task of “translating
the covenant love of God no specific human attitudes and actions that affirm
it is one’s life.”
The pastor who puts himself above the fellows and has an over grand
conception of his responsibility will spend most of his ministry suffering
from fatigue and seeing people as a burden or a problem.
THE LEADERSHIP OF MOSES
In the history of Israel it became apparent that God intended to use
people or leaders like Moses, to affect His own ministry to the Israelites.
Moses was neither a king nor commander of the army. He directed the worship
of the Israelites to God but he neither hand the status of a priest nor
did he ever offer sacrifices. In one way he was a prophet, perhaps the
greatest of the prophets, Deuteronomy 18:15.
The attempt to impose some classification on Moses is futile for as
Deuteronomy 34:10-12 indicates that there had never been his like before
From the time they were slaves in Egypt, Council of Elders governed
Israel. God acknowledged the elders’ place of leadership by sending Moses
to them first to announce the people’s deliverance: “Go and gather the
elders of Israel together…” (Exodus 3:16). The elders appear as the people’s
chief representative leaders (Exodus 4:29, 31) and as Moses’ chief assistants
– standing by his side when he confronts Pharaoh (Exodus 3:18) and assisting
him as he prepares the people for their first Passover (Exodus 12:21).
At God’s command, the elders were Moses’ constant attendants
and witnesses to his leadership and actions during the wilderness wanderings.
THE PASTOR OF ISRAEL
The nation of Israel was threatened with disintegration because
in the absence of leadership, “everyone did as he saw fit” (Judges 17:6;
21:25). Israel eventually sought leadership in monarchy, but in addition
to the three other groups were to emerge as the pastors of Israel: priest,
prophets and wise men (Jeremiah 18:18).
New Testament theology consists of the interweaving of two strands.
An explicit strand deals with the nature and constitution of the church
and speaks directly about its ministry. The implicit strand does not however
stand-alone. It is accompanied by an implicit strand which has been comparatively
neglected implicitly the New Testament documents are pastoral documents.
They are theology called forth by the pastoral situations of the church
and theology shaped to speak to particular pastoral situations. However,
it would be absurd to claim that the New Testament is exclusively a pastoral
document. Clearly it is not. It has evangelistic, mission logical, apologetic,
ethical, socio-political, purely theological and even polemical dimension
THE SYNOPTIC GOSPEL AND ACTS
Gospel of Matthew
The gospel of Matthew has pastoral interest and pastoral purpose
1. The gospel of Matthew speaks of Ethics of the Kingdom (on the Sermon
on the Mount) which is by nature pastoral (Matthew. Chapters 5-7).
2. The Gospel of Matthew speaks about the “church” (Matthew 16:18;
3. The Gospel of Matthew alone speaks openly about church’s responsibility
for reconciling an estranged brother (Matthew 18:15-20)
4. The inclusion of blocks of teaching by Jesus in Matthew 5:1-7:29,10:5-42;
13:1-52; 18:1-35 and 23:1-25:46) it shows a very real concern for instruction
in the Christian community.
5. Jesus’ miracles are not important for Matthew for their own sakes
but primarily for their values as instruments of instructions for the church.
Three interrelated themes the need for and nature of faith which can be
found on Matthew 8:5-13; 9:18-26; discipleship in Matthew 8:23-27; 14:13-21,
22, 23 and 17:14-21; and the authority and person of Christ found on Matthew
8:16-17, 28-34 and 9:2-7)
6. The need to confess Jesus publicly (Matthew 5:13-16; 10:32-33; 26:69-75)
7. The spirit of leadership is his prominent concern (Matthew 10:24-25;
18:2-9; 20:25-28 and 23:7-12)
8. A final characteristic of the community of disciples in Matthew
is that it is a missionary community, Matthew 10:5-15; 28:19-20.
Gospel of Mark
A theologian named William Lane says that the Gospel of Mark is a “Pastoral
response” to the critical situation of the Gentile situation of the Gentile
Christians in Rome who were facing persecution and martyrdom.
1. The essence of discipleship is captured by Mark in his account of
the appointment of the twelve, Mark 3:13-19.
2. Jesus’ own understanding of the ministry, which is formative for
that of his, disciples, is spoken of in, Mark 1:35-39.
3. Jesus spends as much time teaching them about the other side of
the ministry. The disciples are called to suffer, Mark 10:35-45)
4. The disciples must reject any notions of status, Mark 9:33-39.
Of reward in this life, Mark 10:28-31.
Gospel of Luke-Book of Acts
Luke’s writing (Luke and Acts) has a pastoral intent.
There were three possible misconceptions regarding Luke:
1. To argue that Luke wrote in response to pastoral needs in the church
of his day is not to claim that this was his only purpose in writing Luke
has other objectives in view.
2. The claim that Luke is writing pastorally should not be taken to
mean that he is unreliable as a historian. However there is a good deal
of evidence to suggest that Luke succeeded in being historically trustworthy.
3. Thirdly, to argue that Luke wrote pastorally is not to argue that
his writing is merely practical and therefore untheological. To be practical
is not to be untheological. To be good a pastor demands that the one is
both practical and theological.
Pastoral Dimension of Luke and Acts
A. Luke sets out to write an orderly account (Luke 1:3), which demonstrated
as how the church is the proper outcome of the ministry of Jesus Christ.
B. Stephen’s attack on the Temple, law and the people (Luke 11:37-54;
and Acts 15:1-35) Show how much Christianity is to be distinguished from
C. Paul has been commissioned by Jesus Christ to be an apostle to the
Gentiles (Acts 9:15).
D. God’s unfolding plan for his church was that it should spread from
Galilee to Jerusalem and then through all Judea and Samaria, and to the
ends of the Earth (Acts 1:8).
E. The church is shown to be politically non-subversive (Luke 20:25
and Luke 23:1-5)
F. The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and the founding of the church
have already fulfilled eschatological hopes in part (Luke 4:17-21, 17:21,
The Gospels and the Book of Acts are not just historical, theological
and evangelistic documents, they are pastoral as well. Behind them lie
the needs of the church.
The Early Centuries
The development of the pastoral role beyond the New Testament
period is complex. In the early centuries, many rich work were brought
to birth, which gave an insight into the work of the ministry.
The early document which has recognized the value of itinerant
teachers and pastors is the Didache. Echoing the pastoral epistles, the
Didache says in part: “You must choose for yourselves overseer and assistants
who are worthy of the Lord, men who are humble and not eager for money,
but sincere and approved, for they are carrying out the ministry.”
Clement of Alexandria, wrote in his “The Rich Man’s Salvation.”
“For this purpose, my wealthy friend, you should set over yourself
some man of God as trainer and pilot. Give him your respect and fear. Be
at pains to listen to his rebuke . . . Let him spend wakeful nights for
you in prayer, let him be your ambassador in God’s presence…” Real development
in the pastoral role did not lie, however, in Alexandria but in Carthage
Cyprian (200-258). He comes down to history as a theological combatant,
but he was in reality, more of a pastor and administrator, and his policies
were motivated by genuine concern for the welfare of the church.
H.T. Mayer has accurately summarized Cyprian’s contribution to our
understanding of pastoral care. In one of his letters, Cyprian presents
a classically beautiful picture of the bishop working as the shepherd of
his flock. The bishop expends his energy without reservation to care for
every need of his sheep. He finds their scratches and wounds and pours
in oil and wine. He combs their fleece, he beds them down at night, he
knows each one by name, he loves each one. It’s moving pastoral picture.
Ambrose of Milan (339-397) wrote a work entitled, On the Duties
of the Clergy. Ambrose was an understanding preacher and Administrator.
His work is not really a textbook in pastoral theology so much as exhortation
to ministers to live virtuous lives and to hold fast to perfect duties.
The significance of Ambrose lies as much in the effect he had
on Augustine of Hippo (354-430). It was through Ambrose’s preaching that
Augustine had been converted, and as bishop Augustine looked to Ambrose
as his model. In one of his messages he said:
“To rebuke those who stir strife, to comfort those of little courage,
to take the part of the weak; to refute opponents, to be on guard against
traps, to teach the ignorant, to shake the indolent awake…
To be preaching, disputing, reproving, edifying, to be on hand for
everyone- that is great burden and one which lies heavily on me…”
Augustine’s pastoral care was exemplary. He was the first to introduce
monastic living into a cathedral and his life in the community, which was
situated at the heart of the town, was open for all to see. Having renounced
luxury as hostile to spiritual growth, he maintained a simple lifestyle.
The Middle Ages
Politically the period of the Middle Ages saw the decline of the Roman
Empire and, religiously, the papal on the wane.
It is in this stage when it was hard to maintain a pure view
of the Christian ministry against the backdrop of the institutionalized
church and the clergy had become inextricably bound up with the affairs
of the world.
In conclusion, although there may be much gain from some medieval
works of devotion, and though there are some notable exceptions, there
is little in this period which relates, except by way of warning to the
pastoral ministry today.
Rather, an examination of the futile attempts to reform the ministry
during the centuries of the Middle Ages underlines the need there was for
a reformation. Nothing less than a radical renewal of the church seemed
capable of making any impression on the generations of false shepherds,
who rather than feeding their sheep, looked after their own interest while
their flock suffered the ravages of the wolves.
The Reformation and its Legacy
The two great questions of the Reformation, according to Paul
Avis, were: “How can I obtain a gracious God? And “where can I find the
true church?” These questions call for the pastoral ministry to undergo
a fundamental reformation.
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
He set out demolishing the medieval view of the papacy and priesthood
in 1520. In reconstructing the doctrine of the church a number of basic
tenets were soon stated and repeatedly affirmed. The true church was to
be found wherever the word of God was preached, “If the word of God is
present in its purity and is active, the Church is there.”
The ministry then, became a ministry of the word and the pastor
is a teacher of the flock, not a dispenser of sacraments. Preaching was
their specific responsibility and their ordination was a setting apart
to the responsibilities of that office, not to some priestly status.
Luther himself was much involved in pastoral work, and his numerous
writings and letters show. To be a pastor seems to be his nature.
Martin Bucer (1491-1551)
The supreme accolade of “Pastoral Theologian of the Reformation”
must however, without doubt be awarded to Martin Bucer. He was converted
to Lutheranism in 1518.
Bucer’s major work On the Care of the Souls, written 1538, has
never been translated into English. Its twelve chapters, plus a concluding
summary, are a comprehensive statement of the church and its ministry and
how to care for particular cases within the church, all liberally supported,
at each point by reference to Scripture.
John Calvin (1509-1564)
He made a substantial contribution of the revival off the work of pastor.
His commentaries are full of pastorally discerning sensitive comments;
his letters are always pastorally discerning; his writings on the church
give much attention to the question of pastoral care and the growth of
the individual in Christ and, in his life, he set a high standard of pasturing
for order to follow.
Richard Baxter (1615-1691)
The ripest fruit of the Reformation’s pastoral theology is to be seen
in the ministry of Richard Baxter. In his The Reformed Pastor, he gives
us a comprehensive insight into his philosophy of ministry. It was written
in 1656 for the Worcester Association of Ministers. It reaches the heavens
while having its feet firmly planted on the ground. It is immensely spiritual
book. It reveals the awesome spiritual dimensions of the pastoral office,
the spiritual temptations to which pastors are vulnerable, the spiritual
conflicts they have to endure as well as the spiritual resources which
In conclusion, the Reformation had thus profoundly affected
the nature of the ministry. It had received something of the spirit it
originally, had in early church and set it on a much surer course for the
future. It restored its spiritual character and rejected its compromise
with the world.
John Wesley (1703-1791)
He spoke of the Christian ministry in this way:
“This is the great work; not only to being souls to believe in Christ
but to build them up in our most holy faith. How grievously are they mistaken
who imagine that as soon as the children are born they take no more care
Charles Simeon (1759-1836)
He conducted his ministry with a spiritual conscientiousness which
was notably lacking in most of his peers. He conducted a system of meetings
model on the pattern of John Wesley. He cared for his people and encouraged
them to visit others.
Christianity, was, Simeon, not a doctrinal system to be accepted and
memorized but a remedy to be applied. The primary evidence of regeneration
was not the mental acceptance of facts but a brokenness of life and self-loathing
Simeon’s contribution to pastoral theology is in his burden in inspiring
and training students who felt themselves called to the ministry.
Angel James (1785-1859)
James wrote An Earnest Ministry the Want of the Times. He saw
the ministry are dignified and honorable office since following 2 Corinthian
5:20 it was an embassy on the behalf of God. Its grand object was the salvation
of souls, in broad sense, thus involving the primacy of evangelism and
commitment to sanctification, comfort, and progress of those who through
grace have believed.”
Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
The essence of the ministry of Spurgeon was preaching, and most
of his efforts were concentrated in training the gift of preaching in his
students. Preaching led to conversion and to grow in Christ, if it was
on the right sort.
Spurgeon saw the ministry as people-centered, the grand object
being to serve the spiritual needs of the congregation as a mere steward
of the Lord. Ministers are for churches, and not churches for ministers,”
20Tth Century Trends
His concept of the pastoral ministry was contained in his work
Preface to Pastoral Theology. He defined pastoral theology “as the theological
theory resulting from study of the operations of pastor and church approached
from the shepherding perspective.”
He wrote the Minister and the Care of the Souls in which he discussed
the relationship between the Christian account of the grace and the psychological
account of acceptance.
He wrote A Theology of Pastoral Care which was a major contribution
to pastoral theology from an evangelical perspective. He argued that the
exclusive ingredient of pastoral care is the word of God through preaching.
Adams begins with the strong belief that Christian care and counseling
has sold its birthright of a mess of pottage by subjecting biblical
truth to contemporary psychology or even trying to integrate the two. Adams
argues that the root cause of all our problem is sin. Hence the task of
the pastor is to comfort the person with his sin and with God’s demands
and way of effecting change.
The Shepherd’s Call and Qualifications
What is a call?
Webster New Encyclopedic Dictionary says a call is a summons
to a particular duty, office, or employment.
It is a personal call; To special religious duty (Matthew 22: 3, 8,
9, 14; 20:16).
By a call to pastoral work, we mean the inner conviction we have
received a divine commission to the preaching of God’s Word and such other
duties that are associated with it.
The call goes forth, and is at once followed by the response
of obedience. The response of the disciples is an act of obedience.
The Scriptures teach the necessity of such call both in the Old
Testament and in the New Testament. Prophets, priests, and judges were
set apart for their particular office by divine appointment. “And no man
taketh his honor unto himself, but he that is called of God as was Aaron
(Hebrew 5:4). The New Testament regards the various orders in the
ministry as among the “gifts” which the Holy Spirit has divided among men
according to His own will (Ephesians 4:11,12). It has been said that no
man should go into pastoral work if he can possible stay out of it, he
must be compelled to say “Woe is me, if I preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians
In the Introduction of Paul’s letter to Titus says he is
“a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s
elect.” Notice the little expression “God’s elect.” The word elect means
“to choose,” and Scripture shows quite clearly that God is in the habit
of electing, or choosing. Now, whenever we think of God’s elect, we think
in terms of a people that God has called, a people He has chosen.
Pastors receive a call for significant reasons:
1. It is a spiritual ministry. As a matter of fact it is the only truly
spiritual ministry in the world today. Christian used the word “spiritual”
with it’s scriptural meaning: namely, to denote the inner, invisible and
eternal qualities of a human being, especially in his relation to God.
The pastorate or the Christian ministry, is the only calling which is wholly
devoted to a service on this level.
God chose a people for Himself because He wanted to make it clear that
He was the sovereign Lord, that He would act as He chose.
2. It is ministry which links men with God. The great end or aim of
pastoral work is to help bring about a spiritual union between men and
God, and then help the one thus link with God to live a life that is pleasing
to God. It is this conviction that enables a man to go on in the ministry
in spite of great difficulties and trials.
God chose a people so that they might live as model in the community
in the midst of fragmentation to show what community is all about.
3. It conserves all true values for a human being. This is not true
of other professions such as that of a lawyer or doctor.
God’s people are also to be the means of demonstrating His grace.
How Does a Pastor Receive his Call?
The apostles received a personal call from the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke
6:13). They have been His disciples or followers, for some time and one
day He called them and commissioned them to be apostles.
The apostle Paul received his call in a vision in connection with or
immediately after his conversion (Acts 9:5). After this he also received
a personal message from Ananias to the same effect (Acts 9:15-117 and Galatians
Timothy and Titus received their call through the apostle Paul (Acts
16:1-3). But it should be noted that God also wrought in the hearts of
these men, especially that of Titus giving him a personal concern for the
Every Christian should seek God’s guidance and if he keeps his heart
and mind open toward God, he will find out whether or not God has called
him to the ministry.
Counting the Cost
Jesus made it clear: If you want to be His disciple, then you
must deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him (Matthew 16:24).
When Jesus spoke of ministering discipleship, he warned against failure
to count the cost (Luke 14:25-22). It has become far too fashionable for
men to move in and out of the ministry at will with (it would seem) little
or no consideration for this matter.
There are factors that do no make the pastoral ministry either an easy
or inviting life calling. It takes more than the work itself to attract
and hold men.
Counting the cost requires a full recognition of the personal
disadvantages (and assets) but it also involves taking stock of the heavy
responsibilities involved in pastoral work.
At no other time in American history has popular respect for the church
and its leadership dropped to such a low point. On the other hand, perhaps
at no previous period have the demands that make the pastoral ministry
either an easy or inviting life calling. It takes more than the work itself
to attract and hold men. And when you couple to these consideration the
facts of meager pay, lack of appreciation and an abundance of thoughtless
criticism, the sum total of all is an unappealing picture.
God has called His Church to follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
Christ’s footsteps led to the pathway of sufferings (I Peter 2:21). Being
a Christian disciple does not only involve faith in Jesus Christ
but also suffering for his sake (Philippians 1:29).
Truly any man entering the ministry today must sweep aside all idealistic
or romantic notions. That necessity, however, can be an advantage. It forces
one to face the realities and to count the cost.
The Pastor’s Spiritual Life
President Woodrow Wilson, speaking to a group of ministers and
other Christian workers, stated that his father, who was a Presbyterian
minister used to say, “The Christian minister must be something before
he can do anything!”
In giving a charge to a young minister at his ordination, an old Scotch
“The great purpose for which a minister is settled in a parish is not
to cultivate scholarship, or to live among them as a good man, whose mere
presence is a demonstration that can not be gainsaid, that there is a life
possible on earth which is fed from no earthly source, and that the things
spoken of on Sunday in the church are realities.”
The Pastor’s Intellectual Life
Education can not take the place of spirituality, but there
is nevertheless a close connection between study and spiritual life. The
pastor who does not study will be found lacking in fresh spiritual experiences.
We do not mean experiences not warranted by the Word of God, but those
fresh glimpses of the truth which come from the study of God’s great revelation
of Himself. The pastor who does not study will soon become stale in his
preaching. He will be in danger of saying the same things in the same way
over and over again until they become tiresome to his congregation. Sometimes
it does not take long to reach the result.
Let be remembered that the spiritual life comes first.
A man may be brilliant scholar but without spiritual power, while another
man may lack some of the cultural polish given education but successful
in the ministry because of the reliance on God.
But no Christian worker should cease studying after he has become settled
in a pastorate or other place of Christian service.
The Scriptures endorse the view of a disciplined study.
Paul’s advice to Timothy is familiar to all. “Study to show yourself
approved unto God. A workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing
the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The word “study” has been rendered
“give diligence,” but study is one form of diligence.
Pastor’s Social Life
This topic concerns the pastor as he appears before his people
of his church and community. He must spend much of his time in the
home. What the pastor do at home will at the same time come out into the
open and either help or harm the ministry. He must conduct in relation
to one’s wife, must be responsible in the training of the children and
entertaining guests. In social gatherings, he must be concerned in the
church, in the homes of members and doing public functions.
Friendships are essential; Jesus said, “ I have called you friends”
(John 15:15) The friend, unlike the servant, has intimate knowledge of
what one is doing. This Jesus observed, is an essential and distinguishing
characteristics of true friendship: “The servant does not know what his
master is doing; but I have called you friends, for (note for the explanatory
and definitive nature of what follows) all that I heard from my Father
I have made known to you” (v. 15). The true friend “sticks closer than
a brother” (Proverbs 18:24), “loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17),
and “lays down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
The need for such friendship in the ministry is great. There
are discouragements, puzzling times; periods of indecision, opportunity
(or even doubt) in which one’s friends become all-important. Many pastors
today would be more effective ministers if they had only cultivated friendships.
The Pastor and his Work
The Pastor and Church Music
The idea of singing in worship may have come to the Christians from
the Old Testament. The book of Psalms is the greatest hymn book of the
Bible. David was a musician and played the harp. He was called the “Sweet
Singer of Israel.” The psalms are the lyrics for the singing of the temple
choir. They are full of the praise of God.
The Pastor and the Sunday School
It is well to remember that the church existed a long time before the
Sunday school. Perhaps the Sunday school as we know it today was not necessary
in apostolic days and in early centuries of the church. Much of the preaching
was teaching. The sermons of the apostles recorded in the New Testament
are all of the teaching type.
It should be remembered that the Sunday School belongs to the
church and not the church to the Sunday School. The Sunday school is very
important part of the church, but it is not independent of the church,
unless there is no church organization.
The Pastor should always be in the Sunday school regardless of whether
he teaches a class or not. Unless he does this, it will appear as if he
is lacking in interest, and how can he expect others to be interested.
Further the pastor should understand the organization of the Sunday
school. And he is the ideal man to teach the Teacher Training Class. It
is appalling to discover how many Sunday school teachers there are who
have no training. They do their best with the knowledge they have but undoubtedly
they could do much better with adequate training.
The Pastor should have a part on every Sunday school program. Sometimes
he is asked to bring a message as brief as possible. If a pastor has no
part, he should at least offer a prayer at the beginning or at the end.
The Pastor and Ordinances
There are just two ordinances performed by the pastors, baptism and
the Lord’s Supper. The command “to baptize” is included in the Great
Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus commanded the apostles to baptize
new believers in the name of the triune God. The command to observe the
Lord’s Supper was given at the time of its institution. Jesus said concerning
it. “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).
Jesus Christ undertook the rite of baptism on behalf of sinful man
that needed purification. Although his baptism or identification with the
sinners began from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), it was
realized for man when he took the form of a servant and went all the way
to the cross. This self-identification, already made in his inward decision
(“Lo, I came to do Thy will, O God,” Hebrews 10:7), was objectified at
the River Jordan when Jesus was baptized by water. The pleasure of the
Father was also objectified when He declared, “You are my beloved Son in
whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). Incidentally, water baptism
initiated Jesus into his public ministry.
On the other hand, Lutherans believe and teach that Holy Baptism,
and Lord’s Supper, are the only means of grace which God has given to His
The Pastor and Wedding
This is also one of the services the pastor will have to conduct, sometimes
shortly after he becomes a pastor. It should be remembered that the pastor
is under no obligation to marry every couple that comes to him with marriage
license. No state will force a minister to marry a couple against his will.
God initiated the divine union of marriage when the man and the woman,
two persons with different backgrounds, become one flesh. “Each married
couple is a reproduction of Adam and Eve, and their union is therefore
no less indissoluble”
The Pastor and the Church Discipline
The matter of discipline is a subject that is greatly or totally neglected
by a great many churches. It seems there is a desire to keep the membership
list as large as possible no matter how some of the members behave.
In the Old Testament there were strict laws to deal with those who
violated the commandments of God. In the New Testament we are not under
the law, but this is no reason why inconsistent behavior of a member should
not be dealt with. The New Testament teaches church discipline. The Lord
Jesus did not found any local church, but he outlined the method or procedure
when one brother had transgressed another (Matthew 18:15-19).
The apostle Paul founded many local churches and in his epistle he
gives rules for their government. He is very definite in pointing out in
some cases what should be done with certain offenders (I Timothy 6:3-5;
1 Corinthian 5:13).
We believe the church that does not practice any discipline is not
an obedient church and can not expect the fullness of the blessing of God.
Beside it will get a bad name in a community, if it is known that some
people who live evil lives are still church members in good standing.
THE PASTOR AND EVANGELISM AND MISSIONS
Building a New Church
There were many organized churches in the days of the New Testament,
but as far as we know there were no separate church buildings. The apostle
Paul usually began work in a new place by preaching in a Jewish synagogue.
When he cast out of the synagogue, he sought another place where the work
could be continued. In the city of Corinth he went into the house of a
man named Justus which was next to the synagogue (Acts 18:7). In Ephesus
he secured the use of a lecture hall of a man named Tyrannus (Acts 19:9).
In the epistle to Philemon, we discovered that the Colossian church met
in his house (Acts 1:2). This seems to have been the general custom. Just
when Christians began to build separate church building we do not know
for certain. It may not have been before the days of Constantine when Christianity
was first recognized as a legal religion.
Even today churches may begin in a home or in a rented building. In
Catholics of Europe we have seen small Protestant groups meet in the missionary’s
But if a church functions properly and grows, it will become necessary
to find better housing for it. Besides, with the many activities centering
in a church a separate building becomes a necessary.
In book entitled, Making a Missionary Church, by Stacy
R. Warburton, whose combine experience as a foreign missionary, home pastor,
and Mission executive specially qualifies him to speak:
If the missionary work of the churches is to be fully successful the
leaders of the churches must come to understand the missionary purpose
of the church. . . Missions will not take its rightful place in the program
of the local churches, and the missionary efforts of the churches and denominations
will not achieve their full success, until pastors and the other church
leaders understand the primary work of their churches to be missions, of
which everything else is a part and for which it is a preparation… Primarily
the responsibility rests upon the pastor; his attitude, his ideals, his
aims, his intellectual and spiritual horizon, his interpretation of the
Gospel of Jesus and of the mission of the church, will inevitably determine
the interests and activities and achievements of his church.
To look the present missionary situation squarely in the face,
it is not a terrible indictment against the great body of professing Christians
that, 1900 years after Christ gave to His Church the Great Commission as
its marching orders, fully one-half of the people of the world today
still wait to hear of the only Savior.
This also quotes the words of a prominent minister as given in
Egbert W. Smith’s The Desire of All Nations:
The pastor holds the key of the situation; and I do not know of any
missionary-hearted pastor whose missionary outlook is always revealing
itself in his handling of his ordinary pulpit themes, and whose missionary
zeal is always revealing itself in his pulpit intercession, who has not
gradually drawn his people into full sympathy with his missionary aim.
In building a New Testament church the first thing to consider is leadership.
The pastor is the leader. He is the one who sets the direction. God works
in him much as a helmsman works through the rudder. The rudder is
what steers the ship, but the helmsman turns the rudder and determines
the direction of the ship. The Holy Spirit works in our lives, utilizing
the Word of God and influencing us as the helmsman influences the rudder.
Many Christians who believe the Scriptures to be inspired by the Word
of God and who are concerned about serving Jesus Christ as fruitful as
possible nevertheless seem to have a strange blind spot when it comes to
serving Him through Church Administration. Some go as far as to decry planning
organization and management as “dependence upon the arm of flesh” while
others see it as a wearisome necessity and go plodding along under the
sagging weight of a burden that they must carry as “cross that a minister
must bear” or “the price he must pay to be able to preach the gospel.”
Engstorm takes a “professional management” approach in describing the
role and the function of leadership. The spirit of his view can be seen
in this quote:
Acting in our managerial capacity, all of us – presidents, department
heads, foremen, supervisors, pastors, executives – do basically the same
thing. We are each and all engaged in part in getting things done with
and through people. Each of us, at one time or another, carry out all the
duties characteristic of managers. Even a well-run household uses these
managerial functions, though in many cases they are used intuitively.
Today’s effective leader gets things done because he utilizes a workable
style and has the ability to motivate others highly. He also becomes successful
when he is task oriented. This means he must learn the resources available
to his organization and study the means to arrive at goals. He must have
the ability to define policies and procedures to organize the activities
of his people toward the common goal.
In 1Timothy 3:1-5 proven managerial “ability” is set forth prominently
as a crucial qualification for the selection of an overseer. Without this
ability, Paul says, a minister cannot properly carry out the “work of an
overseer.” From this verses we can see that the
management gifts and skills are necessary for discharging the ministerial
duties enjoined by God; that management is a necessary part of such duties;
and that the church suffers when such management fails to be forthcoming.
One of the greatest winning soul pastors in America said,
“ The difference between the pastor who does not have a soul winning
church, despite all his efforts, and the pastor who does have one, is very
simple. One man is seeking to grow a great church. The other is seeking
to grow a great people.”
Most of us are not gifted with natural leadership ability; nonetheless,
strong leadership ability is absolutely necessary to have a spiritual or
soul winning church. God has said that He uses “the weak things of the
world to confound the wise”.
III. PRINCIPLES, STRATEGIES AND OTHER RESEARCHES
ON CHURCH GROWTH
We all desire to have our churches growing, If not, there must
be something wrong. Your call and profession need a review. Growing
a church is biblical, and an imperative from the Lord. However, we also
need to discover what it means to “grow a church.” Most people consider
numerical growth, and for good reasons. Numbers means success most of the
We must remember that it’s Jesus who builds His church. He said, “…
I will build my church.” He is still in the building business where He
finds people who are willing to work with and under Him, using all the
wherewithal He’s provided. It’s then the church grows. It must grow, it
can do nothing but grow.
In the New Testament, “growth” refers primarily to the internal development
of the body toward maturity.
In Matthew 28: 18-20, Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven
and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching
them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” From
these verses we can sense that the emphasis is on spiritual growth, discipleship.
When we are reaching all we can, all over the world, we need to be
teaching them, not just corralling, and counting them.
According to Thom Rainer, church growth “is that discipline which seeks
to understand, through biblical, sociological, historical and behavioral
study, why churches grow or decline.”
Dr. Elmer L. Towns, Dean, School of Religion, Liberty, University,
likewise defined Church Growth as a science/discipline that investigates
both biblical and social data to determine principles why churches grow
In the Ten Steps for Church Growth, Donald McGavran and Winfield
Arn, clearly stated church growth as an application of Biblical, theological,
anthropological, and sociological principles to congregations and denominations
and to their communities in an effort to disciple the greatest number of
people for Jesus Christ. Believing that “it is God’s will that His Church
grow and His lost children be found,” Church Growth endeavors to devise
strategies, develop objectives, and apply proven principles of growth to
individual congregations, to denominations, and to the worldwide Body of
Wagner said that Church Growth is the science that investigates the
planting, multiplication, growth, function and health of Christian churches
as they relate specifically to the effective implementation of God’s commission
to “make disciples of all peoples” (Matthew 2:19-20). Church Growth strives
to combine the eternal theological principles of God’s Word concerning
the expansion of the church with the best insights of contemporary social
and behavioral sciences, employing as its initial frame of reference, the
foundational work done by Donald McGavran.”
On the one hand, Towns defined Church Growth as, “The science that
investigates the planting, multiplication, growth, function, health and
death of churches. It strives to apply the biblical and social principles
in its gathering, analysis, displaying and defending of the facts involved
in implementing the Great Commission.”
Robert J. Young of Oklahoma, in his Automatic Church Growth pointed
out that the characteristics of quality church life are principle-based.
They provide the principle base from which values and behaviors naturally
spring. They are universals that go to the lowest common denominator—principles.
These are not behaviors to be imitated, nor values to be adopted. Behaviors
and values may be culturally driven and vary from church to church. Principles
are foundational. These are the basic building blocks of quality churches.
Churches which incorporate all of these to a significant degree grow “automatically.”
The results are serendipitous, occurring naturally.
Rainer makes an important and interesting distinction between “biblical
principles” and “church growth principles.” Biblical principles like prayer
come directly from the Bible. Church growth principles may be derived from
the Bible, or they may be derived from all kinds of extra-biblical resources.
These extra-biblical principles are perfectly acceptable as long as they
are not clearly forbidden in the Bible.
FIVE NEW TESTAMENT PRINCIPLES OF CHURCH GROWTH
On the one hand, Johnny Hester pointed out five New Testament
Principles of Church Growth. He said that we are encouraged by the fact
that we have, in our Bibles, an example of the very principles needed...grow
a great church. He believe the Jerusalem church is the best example of
evangelism in the New Testament. It was: A. The first New Testament church...B.
Led by men who were personally trained by Jesus. Surely they knew what
the business of the church was...C. Made up of devout, steadfast Christians.
I. What Do We See In The Jerusalem Church?
A. We see the church beginning with 3,000 members ... baptizing people
every day ... and then multitudes becoming members...B. In Acts 2:36-41
the water was splashing that day...C. There was excitement, daily… verses
46-47; D. Acts 6:1 tells us about "those days when the number of the disciples
was multiplying." Verse 7, "Then the word of God spread, and the number
of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the
priests were obedient to the faith." Paul....joined forces with the other
disciples -- Acts 9:31, "Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee,
and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the
Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied."
II. Five Principles Of Growth From This Great Church:
Keep in mind, that these same principles may be employed right here....!
A. Their goal was to take the gospel to every person...! Mark 16:15-16...
B. They taught every day...! Acts 2:42, "They devoted themselves to
the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread
and to prayer." (NIV) Acts 4.
C. They went to every house...! Acts 5:42, "And daily in the
temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus
as the Christ." Paul...Acts 20:20, "I...taught you publicly and from house
D. They had the "every member" concept of teaching...! Acts 8:4...
2 Timothy 2:24, "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle
to all, able to teach..." A rebuke...Hebrews 5:12...
E. They used every Scriptural means...! 1 Corinthians 9:22, "To the
weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things
to all men, that I might by all means save some." Paul practiced "friendship
evangelism." He adjusted his approach...rather than using a "shot-gun"
approach... Paul became "user friendly."
New Testament evangelism will work in our community if WE will
UNDERSTANDING CHURCH GROWTH
For better understanding of this research, a synopsis of Church
Growth written by Phil Van Auken in his Principles of Healthy Church Growth
was enumerated below:
• The growth of a local church is the natural byproduct of its spiritual
health (intimate relationship to God).
• The church belongs to Christ, not to us. He has a unique growth
plan & purpose for each local church that makes up His body.
Christ, not man, makes the local church grow.
• Some churches are redwood trees, others are bushes; some are flowers,
others are grass. But ALL of the plants in God’s forest have strong
• Christ is interested in Kingdom growth (converted souls), not man-made
growth based on the “3 Ms”: materialism, marketing, & management.
• Christ is interested in the right motives for church growth: love
for sinners; a sacrificing lifestyle that is salt & light to the world;
dependence on God (humility).
• Man’s motives for church growth are: the “3Bs”: (budgets, baptisms,
& buildings); empire-building pride (like the Tower of Babel); staff
career-climbing; & guilt.
• Christ vomits man-made growth out of His mouth. (Rev. 3:18)
• Man-made church growth causes church cancers: congregational politics;
materialism; competition between churches; cultural (undiscipled) Christianity;
congregational homogeneity; performance-oriented staff.
• Growing churches are thus not necessarily healthy churches.
• Christ calls us to labor in a number of overlooked fertile harvest
fields: growth in corporate prayer & patience; growth in heartfelt,
genuine worship (instead of routine rituals for God); growth in the percentage
of members who do the work of the church; growth in congregational diversity
(ethnic diversity, as well as a mixture of new Christians & mature
Christians); growth in member discipleship & empowerment; growth in
ministry partnerships with other Christian organizations outside your local
Today's Lukewarm, Naked Church
• The comfortable, non-sacrificing church
• We expect the staff to do the work of the church. "That's what we
pay them for, isn't it?"
• We expect missionaries to save all the souls. "That's
what God called them to do, isn't it?"
• Church leaders must stay out of the comfort zone & model sacrificing
discipleship to the congregation.
• The church must be in the world to save those in the world. (John
• Growing, spiritually healthy churches must make room for the non-Christian,
the "near-Christian," the immature Christian, & the backslidden Christian.
Legalism & membership conformity cause the church to lose its warmth
(salt & light).
• The church must tithe its budget & time to go beyond church
walls in the local community.
• Why we don't pray: (1) We're comfortable & don't want anything
(2) We don't care enough about others (3) We think small (4) We don't want
to get involved (5) We're afraid God will respond & we'll have to interrupt
our comfortable routine.
In the World…
• Church growth does not take place unless a new Christian enters God's
Kingdom. Transferring memberships between churches is "recycled"
• Because our society is breaking down morally, most church growth
opportunities today come from crisis ministry: divorce, unwanted pregnancies,
alcohol & drug addiction, family abuse, etc. This is the harvest
field that Christ labored in & said was white unto harvest. (John 4:35
& Matthew 9:37-38) Unfortunately, this is crisis ministry, not
• Middle class America is comfortable and secular, so this is often
a barren harvest field to work in. Unfortunately, many churches want
to do all of their work in this harvest field, because middle class church
members have money & usually require only a modest amount of the church
staff's time & energy. Crisis ministry church members can be
disruptive to church routine & require a lot of time & attention.
Highly legalistic churches don't view the "crop" in crisis harvest fields
to be very worthy of harvesting. (Matthew9:1-6)
• Church growth requires the church to be all things to all people.
(I Cor. 10:33)
• Because God has a unique purpose & plan for each local
church, He is doing special work in each church. Leaders should find
where God's special construction site is for their local church & go
to work there. If we want our church to grow, we should work where
God is already working in our midst!
• The more a church grows numerically, the more it must engage
in discipleship. New Christians need "big brother" disciplers.
Church growth is discipleship.
• The best form of discipleship is "on-the-job" ministry service to
the unsaved & to those in crisis. Disciples of Christ must get
beyond the comfortable walls of the local church & go out into the
world where people are hurting & searching for forgiveness & a
fresh start in life.
• The local church cannot grow if it seals itself off from the
world for fear of being "tainted" by sin. We have the whole armor
of God to help us be in the world but not be of the world. (Ephesians 6:13)
• Churches should look for ministry partners to provide growth opportunities:
Prison Fellowship, community Christian service agencies (Salvation Army,
etc.), other congregations, etc. God extends special blessings to
unity among the brethren.
…But Not Of The World
• Christ’s local church is not a business (“First Baptist Incorporated”).
A CEO & board of executives shouldn’t run it. The job of the
church staff & lay leaders is not to perform. This is Christ’s
role. Church leaders are to be spiritual role models, reflecting
the light of the Holy Spirit to the congregation & a dying world.
• The local church must not use the devices of the world (entertainment,
material wealth & comfort, power, slick marketing, autocratic management,
etc.) to run itself & promote its interests.
• The church must emphasize outreach (to the unsaved) over inreach
(to the comfortable congregation).
• Church leaders must encourage & empower members to get
away from the church for outreaching ministry activities.
• Church leaders are to empower members, not control them (which is
the proper role of the Holy Spirit). When staff seek to control people,
someone goes out the back door of the church every time a new member arrives
through the front door.
• The Bible is meant to be applied, not merely studied.
• Small churches shouldn't envy middle size churches. Middle-size
churches shouldn’t covet to be large churches. Large churches shouldn’t
lust to be “super” churches. All church growth is Christ’s business.
• The wrong church growth tools are: pressure, competition,
guilt, & entertainment
• The right church growth tools are: prayer, sanctification,
discipleship, outreach, sacrifice, discomfort, sorrow, compassion, diversity,
Encouragement in the Garden of Gethsemane
• God doesn't value you or your church for what you do. We don't
have to earn God's love or blessings.
• God has a unique role for you & your church. Look
at your ministry through His eyes, not man's eyes.
• Church growth is God's work.
• Church growth happens one saved soul at a time.
• The grass & bushes in the forest are just as useful &
necessary as the tall trees.
• Be the Christian God wants you to be & He will sanctify
you to help the members of your church become the Christians He wants them
to be. When the members of a church are the Christians God wants
them to be, the church will grow & grow!
Church Growth Principles that are Real, that Work, and are Biblical
Church Growth principles have been described as universal truths. That
is, they are in a general way acceptable to all Christians. Examination
of these missiological principles reveals that some of them are indeed
Biblical principles which have been used in Christian churches, including
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, for many years. Others are new and
have their origin in sociology, anthropology, and psychology, but they
too have been found to be useful, also by numerous congregations in The
Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. Still other principles have caused some
concern in Lutheran circles chiefly because they are perceived as coming
into conflict with Scriptural teaching, especially with the doctrine of
the means of grace.
1.The number one reason for church growth is the preaching ability
of the pastor. (Luke 3:1-7) .
The Church Growth Movement puts a high premium on the kind of pastoral
leadership. As Wagner puts it, “In America the primary catalytic factor
for growth in the local churches is the pastor. In every growing
dynamic church I have studied, I have found a key person whom God is using
to make it happen.” The pastor is expected to have the blood of Isaachar
in his veins; he must be somebody who understands the times and knows what
Israel should do. According to church growth theory, many pastors are ineffective
because they do not have a realistic view of their own gifts and abilities,
they do not know the people they are serving, and they do not understand
how the community they are attempting to reach looks at life. Successful
leaders are men of vision, who not only know how to read the polls. They
are spark-plugs who know how to motivate others, who know how to involve
others in ministry, who are willing to be ranchers (some would seriously
say “cheerleaders”), who are confident, decisive and optimistic. The CGM
believes and how to follow through with an initiative after it has been
adopted. Their experience indicates that one of the greatest hindrances
to growth is a copy-cat mentality which does not take the principles and
implement them according to one’s own unique circumstances. And this hindrance
is followed closely by giving up too soon when there is a setback.
Bill Patterson, Christian Bible Teacher, in his Church Growth mentioned
that seriously, local church leadership – elderships particularly – they
are responsible for church growth. God hold them accountable for their
congregations’ health. In discharging their responsibility for church growth
he suggested to learn all that you can from whatever source. The bible
is the final judge and the only divine source. Attend lectureships, workshops,
seminars. Read good books, journals, enroll in adult continuing education
classes. Be open minded, receptive. Think. Check everything out. Use more
than one consultant, one expert. Let the Word of God test all. Make
no changes that effect the Bible pattern or doctrine.
The pastors/elders are to see that the church is well-fed. They are
to pay careful attention to doctrinal purity in the teaching and in ministering
of the church. Also, the pastor/elder is to ensure an abundance of teaching
and counsel for the fellowship.
Jay Adams advised pastors to take formal courses of study regularly.
There is no better way in which to force oneself to disciplined study and
thought of material beyond the scope of one’s narrow interests and limitations.
If a pastor takes at least one college or seminary course or it’s equivalent
each year, he will quickly discover the values of doing so. A refresher
course in Hebrew or Greek may be just what he needs to challenge and encourage
him to interpret the Scriptures more faithfully. A course in English literature
or the history of ideas or in philosophy may push him to analyze afresh
the culture and milieu within which he ministers the Word.
As Brunner puts it, “where there is true preaching, where, in obedience
of faith to the command of the Lord and in the authority of His Spirit
the Word is proclaimed, there, in spite of all appearances to the contrary,
the most important thing that ever happens upon this earth takes
Paul’s advice to Timothy is familiar to all. “Study to show thyself
approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing
the word of truth.”
An atmosphere of good preaching/teaching, warm fellowship, mutual concern,
meaningful service opportunities and learning contributes to growth.
On the other hand, Moorehead suggested “Ten Commandments” for every
preacher who desires to preach effectively so the church will grow.
1. THOU SHALT PREACH PREPARED. There is no substitute for poor or no
2. THOU SHALT PREACH IN THE VERNACULAR! Jesus preached in terms all
could follow. We should do no less.
3. THOU SHALT NOT RIDE THY HOBBY HORSE IN THE PULPIT. The tendency
to get sidetracked onto our favorite subject is ever before us all. Avoid
4. THOU SHALT SO PREACH THAT THE AUDIENCE USES THEIR BIBLE. They have
brought their Bibles to use, don’t disappoint them.
5. THOU SHALT PREACH WITH EXCITEMENT. Your audience will not become
more excited than you are.
6. THOU SHALT NEVER BACK AWAY FROM CONTROVERSIAL SCRIPTURE BECAUSE
IT ISN’T POPULAR: God wants it all preached.
7. THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER TASK BEFORE THEE THAN TO PREACH THE WORD
IN POWER. You have not been called to entertain, but preach God’s word.
8. THOU SHALT PREACH WITH A SMILE. Seldom does the Holy Spirit use
a scowl to lead a soul to Christ.
9. THOU SHALT PREACH FOR DECISIONS. Every sermon should answer the
question, “So what?”
10. THOU SHALT PREACH EVERY SERMON AS THOUGH IT WERE YOUR LAST. It’s
called preaching with a sense of urgency. There is no place for casual
Today’s church leaders need both “integrity heart” and skillful hands”
(Psalm 78:72) to guide their churches toward health and growth. Critical
skills will include leading change, interpreting demographics (internal
and external), and organizing for ministry rather than maintenance.
Kirk Hadaway pointed out that, “Whatever their gifts, personality or
style, pastors are catalytic leaders who have vision, understand how to
work with and lead people, are interested in developing people, and have
a great interest in evangelism. Preaching ability is virtually unrelated
The emphasis on the importance of the laity to the growth of
the church is something for which we can be thankful. When laymen suggest
that the solution to every problem is “Pastor, work harder!” we could surely
use renewal here.
Powerful churches are preaching churches. Most times, preaching does
not fail because of logistics, but because the preacher does not know his
audience. People need to have their ears turned into eyes so they can see
the truth. We must always remember that a person’s mind is not a debating
hall, but a picture gallery. If the minister preaches offensively, then
the people will respond defensively.
The pulpit is no greater than the preacher who fills it on a weekly
basis. Some pulpits have style without substance while others have substance
without style. The need is for substance with style in our preaching today.
We must study ourselves to death and pray ourselves back to life again.
Leaders are readers. Howard Hendricks (as cited by Krejcir) was correct
when he said, “It’s a sin to make the gospel boring.” The Christian and
non-Christian alike are searching for truth in a generation filled with
a valueless preoccupation with self, avarice, and greed. Our nation has
the “facts” to make us intelligent. The church must give us the “truth”
to set us free!
2. The number one reason why people stop coming to your church is conflict
and gossip! (James 3:5-6)
Gerard Ediger, et. al. states that one of the concerns the church must
work on is managing healthy conflict in the Church. Many of us seem to
fear conflict and dissent. Others of us believe that disagreements can
be healthy and should be managed openly and honestly.
For a church of two hundred in attendance, up to twelve people will
simply “walk away.” Something negative usually preceded their leaving.
The negative factor may have been a singular event such as a dispute with
another church member. Most dropouts, simply became bored with church because
they never felt like they were part of the body.
Because of conflict, in his letter to the Philippians, Paul encouraged
Euodias and Syntyche to be of one mind in the Lord (Philippians 4:2).
The Christians in Galatians turned to a point of become unhappy in
themselves and they had almost turned against the Apostle. Their condition
was one which so depressed that Paul could even use this kind of language:
“My little children of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed
What was the cause of this change in the Christians of Galatia? The
answer is perfectly simple, and can be put in one phrase – it was entirely
due to false teaching. That was the trouble with the churches in Galatia;
all their problems emanated from a certain false teaching which they had
believed. Now this is something which is dealt with very frequently in
the New Testament and also true to our churches today.
The Bible makes some amazing demands on Christians – demands that would
be totally unreasonable if God himself did not infuse in us His power to
change. Paul speaks of the dynamics of release and power when he writes,
You belong to the power which you choose to obey, whether you choose
sin, whose reward is death, or God, obedience to whom means the reward
of righteousness. Thank God that you, who were at one time the servants
of sin, honestly responded to the impact of Christ’s teachings when you
came under its influence. Then released from the service of sin, you entered
the service of righteousness.
So Christian counseling demands far more than the release of feelings
and an accommodation to circumstances. Christian counseling seeks
to free persons to choose that freedom which is ours through obedience
to God. Christian counseling focuses not on emotions, but on the
Trouble-making resulting from a disorderly walk as a Christian. It
means the formenting of strife, or it may mean stirring up envy and jealousy.
Sometimes it is manifested in greediness and selfishness. There are some
who constantly carry tales and gossip about one church member to another.
Sometimes the whole church eventually becomes involved if the evil is not
nipped in the bud.
Paul also speaks of those whose doctrine is not according to godliness,
who teach contrary to the wholesome words of the Lord Jesus Christ, who
engage in disputings with corrupt minds, and he advises Timothy: From such
withdraw thyself (I Timothy 6:3-5).
Churches in the United States are presented with a unique challenge
today. Many people have closed themselves off to the message and ministry
of the church. Scandals and apparent hypocrisy have tainted the image of
God’s people in the minds of the unchurched in our society.
These “opposite” actions—these “deliberate acts of kindness”—are,
I believe, a potent form of spiritual warfare that touches the hearts of
people and defeats the enemy. Yet as Cincinnati, Ohio, Pastor Steve Sjogren
notes, “most Christians have not recognized kindness as a useful
weapon of spiritual warfare.”
The CGM understands the importance of integrating new converts
into the life of the church. Nobody can please all of the people all the
time… and those who come within the CGM would be the first to say that
you shouldn’t even try. Each year there will be those who come and those
who go, for all kinds of reasons. If people are not comfortable in a given
church, in many instances, they would be better off attending somewhere
else. But having said this, church growth proponents also recognize that
if a church is going to grow it has to “close its back door.” You have
to find out ways to keep members involved in the life and ministry of the
church. If this is going to happen, people must be encouraged to develop
meaningful friendships within the church, they must find out what they
can do to contribute to the work, they must understand and share a common
vision for the ministry and they must feel that they are growing spiritually
as a result of their contact with the church. If these things are not happening,
the sheep will be restless and they may look elsewhere for a place where
their needs will be met.
To overcome this stigma, the church must begin to function in
a spirit that is the opposite of that in the world. Instead of falling
victim to incorrect stereotypes, God’s people must begin to act in a way
that will counteract the materialism and greed so common in our society.
The more we synergize, the more we can evangelize. Unity is achieved
in one of two ways in the local church. We will either be melted together
or frozen together. The first produces vitality and the second mortality.
The first focus on the future and the second focuses on the past. The philosophy
of vibrant churches is: Everybody is a somebody in the body of Christ.
This kind of partnership among the people of the church is centered
around their purpose, fostered by their passion, exemplified through their
personality, and is successful through their pragmatism in worship of God
and witness to the lost. There is camaraderie among the pastor and his
staff, the Sunday school superintendent and teachers, and the various lay
leaders and their assistants. We can accomplish more together in the Kingdom
of God than we can by ourselves.
3. The number two reason that people leave a church is poor “people
skills” of the pastor and/or leadership, because they do not manage the
conflicts and gossip! These poor “people skills” will cause the majority
of conflicts between that pastor and the people. (Matthew 5:9)
One of the earliest writers on the theory of management , Frederick
W. Taylor, is often regarded as the father of scientific management. He
would, for example, attempt to build a “science of shoveling.” Pollard
describes his method: “The actual movements of shoveling, the use of hands,
arms and legs were studied in detail, as were the different types of base
on which material could lie, for example, earth, wood, metal, and so on.
French executive Henri Fayol developed a “process approach” to
management. From his experience and observations, Fayol isolated the five
basic functions of a manager, functions we still work with some fifty years
later. The functions Fayol defined are: Foresight and planning; organization;
direction; coordination; and control.
The minister should develop expertise in conflict management. Lack
of growth fosters scapegoating, and division in the congregation makes
a weak church weaker. Rapid turnover of pastors and the loss of members
limit the church’s ability to cope with community change. Only when the
church practices reconciliation and healing does it have a message for
a broken community.
Confront sin, evil, and heresy in the church immediately! The
leadership must put down conflict quickly, whether it involves political
agendas, the color of the carpet, how to say an offertory prayer, what
songs to sing, or who is to be in leadership. The church must move in purpose
and unity. This is tough, but possible! (Philippians 2:14)
Paul says, “Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to
the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17). It
does happen that church members take up a strange doctrine and still wish
to remain in the church. If they left alone, they will seek to subvert
others. For this reason they should be dealt with.
The pastor and/or leaders must also cater to people’s comfort level.
If people are not comfortable they will leave us. You do not want people
to leave for merely immature reasons.
Dr. Charles E. Jefferson, Pastor of Broadway Tabernacle in New York
City said that, “Let the preacher be a pastor and the flock will strengthen
itself and increase.
The pastoral worker, cannot escape either the need for a theology of
pastoral work (ministry) or the implications of theology in all that he
does. If the pastor finds that he fails in his everyday dealings with men
and women, he should recognize that the source of his problem may not be
lack of experience, strategy or skills; in more instances than he may wish
to admit, his failures may stem from shoddy or erroneous biblical understanding
or theological thinking. Ineffective and harmful approaches to the members
of one’s congregation and to the community may be quite simply the result
of faulty conceptions of both men and God.
In one regard of the principles of the church growth, Peter Wagner
typically begins with the commitment of the Pastor and the congregation
to the purposes of church growth (often stated in terms of
the Great Commission, Matthew 28: 19-20). Hence there is a significant
relationship between membership commitment and growth. Growing congregations
are characterized by four elements: strong worship, diversified programs,
effective pastor and enthusiastic members.
Rick Warren pointed out that it takes more than dedication to
lead a church to grow; it takes skill. Ecclesiastes 10:10 says: “If the
ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill
will bring success.”
Listening, without arguing or defending yourself, is extremely
important! This requires prayer and self-discipline. If you cannot do it,
you may be in the wrong profession. Have someone do it, just get it done!
Your task is not to persuade people to accept your view, but to communicate
Biblical precepts and get them to catch it! You are to make them feel heard.
When they feel they are listened to, then their defenses will come down
and relationships can be built. Then it will be a pleasure to lead them.
They will respect and love you more, and will be more likely to be led
by your goals. (Romans 8:31; Ephesians 4:25-29; James 3:1-12)
The best plans and calls of the Lord will stall out due to conflict!
God’s voice is the first one muted. The Holy Spirit cannot work effectively
when ill will and ill desires are running the roost. You must drop to your
collective knees and pray for revival. That will work! However, church
growth, spiritual or numerical, will never work in an atmosphere of conflict!
The best way to deal with conflict is to combat it through love.
When people know that you love them and will listen to them, it is difficult
for them to be mad. Love, indeed, covers a multitude of sins! (Proverbs
10:12 1 Peter 4:8)
Take time to learn the skills, you needed in ministry. You’ll
save time in the long run and be far more successful. Sharpen you ministry
ax by reading books, attending conferences, listening to tapes, and by
observing working models. You’re never wasting time when you’re sharpening
your ax. Skill brings successes.
4. The Bible must be taught in such a way that it is real and can be
applied to the lives and situations of the people. You are to equip and
disciple people, not just in the basics of the faith, but also on how to
be Christians in their families, work, and relationships. They must be
taught how to be effective Christians, and how to live their lives to His
glory! (Psalm 119:9-12)
According to Dr. Paul Benjamin one reason why some churches grow
is that they have what is termed the “equipping ministry” concept. The
members do not think of the preacher as the one whose primary function
is to minister to the members, but his role is to teach them how
to minister to others.
The New Testament is very clear that God’s will for every believer is
spiritual maturity. He wants us to grow up. Paul said in Ephesians 4:14,
“We are not meant to remain as children at the mercy of every chance wind
of teaching… But we are meant to speak the truth in love, and to grow up
in every way into Christ, the head.”
The ultimate goal of spiritual growth is to become like Jesus. God’s
plan for us since the beginning has been for us to be like His Son. “For
those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness
of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans
8:29). God wants every believer to develop the character of Christ.
One church goal that is universally recognized is to improve quality
of family life in both community and church. The church in the transitional
community should focus on ministry to families. Through demographic
studies, education, and training, church leaders should help the church
recognize the varied lifestyles of families in the city – not only traditional
two-parent families, but also one-parent, stepparent, unwed-parent, empty-nest,
and one-person families.
A quality church provides a context in which individuals continue their
spiritual journeys, without undue expectations and pressures, but with
encouragement and support.
Paul tells Timothy to “preach the word.” In II Timothy
chapter 4,verses 1-2, Paul gives Timothy a strong admonition.
I solemly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who
is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom;
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke,
exhort, with great patience and instruction.
In this principle, Moorehead suggested to apply Bible Preaching. Bible
preaching is taking what is usually more than one verse of scripture and
drawing from those verses truths in the present tense with
which listeners have no problem identifying. That is a mouthful, but the
essence of this type of preaching is simply taking the truth of God’s Word
and applying it to life, where people are. It is not expounding a truth
or principle, then frantically searching for verses to back it up. In this
sense, expository preaching is primarily deductive, i.e., taking the truth
of the Word, then deducing from that word its truth for the present. People
are drawn to that kind of preaching because in it they not only learn the
Word of God over the months and years, they are equipped with God’s principles
derived from the word.
“People will never be drawn to a diet of hors d’oeuvres and snacks
consistently, they will invariable crave meat… preachers must preach the
Bible. Christians visiting will return because perhaps where they’ve
gone before, not much of the Bible is preached. Unsaved people will return
because the word preached creates a hunger for more of it.
We are not to be tossed about with every wind of doctrine, or to lay
aside the Mandate of the risen Christ, or be forgetful to teach all things
that he has commanded us. The church is to walk a straight course, not
looking to the left or to the right, for something that might supplant
her interest in Christ. She is to behave as a chaste virgin, betrothed
to Christ who redeemed her.
Steadfastness means being in earnest and having a desire to adhere
to the Faith, sincerely and without wavering. Such a stance is conducive
This principle will be weakened when interpreted to mean that come
what may, the church is to stick to her old beliefs. If such beliefs are
biblical, most assuredly! But if they cannot be supported biblically, then
it does not spell steadfastness when the church persists in them.
Our aim should be rather to hold fast to the Truth, the undeniable
and established truth, and being united in a common cause, fighting our
adversary, and not each other.
Commitment to the gospel and all its implications is the essence of
Christian discipleship. Fixing our eyes upon Jesus; no turning back. Perseverance
is a mark of true discipleship.
5. Preach holiness, how to worship, how
to deal with sin, how to relate to one another, and how to love one another,
while modeling it yourself! Evangelism, stewardship, and discipleship come
out of these! As people are transformed, they can be taught and motivated.
(Jeremiah 33:6; Romans 7:12; Galatians 3)
The CGM sees effective evangelism as a crucial priority
and this includes the need to plant new churches. “Effective evangelism”
is that which produces results which can be counted and which actually
brings people into the church as active participants. This being the case,
so-called “cold-call” evangelism is out (ie. Door-to-door, street-corner
evangelism), as is most “crusade” evangelism, because these methods just
do not work. Times has changed. People are biblically illiterate. They
are busy and do not appreciate being interrupted at home by religious fanatics.
Ours is a consumer society that has been conditioned to respond only if
what is being offered meets a perceived need and the gospel, at least in
its old form, is completely irrelevant to most people. These and
other “realities of the marketplace,” mean that Christians in a less threatening
way. It also calls on evangelicals to rethink what we are doing and why
we are doing it. Maybe the gospel would be better served if we changed
when we meet to worship. Maybe we should change our traditional ways of
worshipping altogether! And if we are not prepared to be that radical,
the very least we should do is emphasize the importance of cultivating
meaningful relationships with those we are trying to reach because effective
evangelism is much more likely to take place if there is an existing personal
“EVANGELIZE OR FOSSILIZE! OR GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE WILL BECOME GOD’S
Peter and John were told in Acts to stop preaching in Jesus’ name.
They couldn’t. The church today is commanded to preach the gospel and doesn’t.
Until we return to that vision, evangelism will continue to be a lost concept.28
In a foreword of Billy Graham said, “Seeking to save the lost in the
seemingly godless and God-forsaken districts of Whitechapel and Bethnal
Green, they were for the time being unitedly taking part in a special mission,
the headquarters of which was a tent erected on a disused burial ground
belonging to the Society of Friends.”
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES ON EVANGELISM
God Intends His Church to Grow
He created it to grow, He designed it to grow, He equipped it
to grow, He empowered it to grow. And, grow it did. On the very first
day of church’s existence, 3000 people were baptized (Acts 2:41). From
3,000, the church grew to 5,000 (Acts 4:4), then on the “multitudes” (Acts
5:14). It is central to its nature to grow, and rightly so. Its primary
task, that of making disciples, necessitates growth.
Church growth is not a means to an end, but the end to the means of
evangelism.. Most evangelical churches today are not growing, but rather
marking time. Their “no growth” status is a result of no evangelism.
The Work of Evangelism is for the Whole Church, not just a few “Professionals”
Satan’s biggest deception for the church occurred when he convinced
most of the church that the task of winning the lost belongs to the trained
professionals. One of the fallacies of that deception is that the trained
“professionals” represent only one half of 1% of the total membership of
any given church. That plan is not of God. Proof of that is found in Acts
And on that day a great persecution arose against the church
in Jerusalem; and
they were all scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria,
the apostles… Now those who were scattered went about preaching the
When the persecution broke out, all the believers scattered, that is
all except the apostles. It was those who were scattered who did the preaching
and the evangelism. It was the common “laity’ that went everywhere preaching,
because they saw it as their task, not the task of the professionals.
Evangelism is Meant to Take Place “Out There” Instead of
Most of the public gatherings on Sunday were for worship, edification,
equipping and fellowship, so the saints could go out during the week and
let their light shine, and their testimony be given. In other words, there
was the gathering and the “scattering.” This balance enabled the church
to take time for winning the lost and maturing the saints. Sunday services
really should not be for the purpose of evangelizing, but edifying and
equipping SO THAT evangelism can take place in the market place, the neighborhood,
the play place, and the home through natural relationships. While there
is certainly nothing wrong with mass evangelism, our world for the most
part will be won by the one-on-one relationships developed by individual
believers out there where they work and play.
People are Lost, Doomed, and Damned Apart from Jesus Christ
The early church in Acts marched across the world under the banner
of the cross with a firm conviction that men are lost outside Jesus Christ.
In fact, Peter’s words in Acts 4:12 gives us a clue as to the tone of the
preaching in the area:
And there is salvation in no-one else, for there is no other
name under heaven
given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
Jesus made it clear what His mission was … to seek and save the
lost. Until we acknowledge the blatant fact that apart from Jesus Christ
men are doomed, and relegated to a devil’s hell for all eternity, not much
will happen in the way of evangelism.
Jesus said in John 14:6,
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the
Father, but by me.”
What Jesus said is clear. Salvation can be found in no one else,
no way else, nowhere else, except through Him. If we really believed that,
it would totally revolutionalize what we do in the way of evangelism from
week to week.
We believe that apart from Jesus Christ, man is eternally lost.
It is God who Initiates Salvation and Draws People to Him
We tend to forget that salvation always begins with God. Without
attempting to reconcile the sovereignty of God and the free will of men,
let the Word speak for itself
Even as he chose us before the foundation of the world, that
we should be holy
and blameless before him (Ephesians 1:4).
Paul states an amazing truth here. Long before God even created
the world, he chose us to be saved. Perhaps this is why Jesus said:
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him,
and I will raise
him up at the last day (John 6:44).
In fact, we can also find on John 6, these same words:
And he said, “this is why I told you, that no one can come to
me unless it is granted
to him by the Father” (John 6:65).
Before God and man can met in salvation, we who share the gospel
must acknowledge the call of God on people’s lives. It is God who initiates
our salvation. It is God who made the first move in creating us in the
first place. It is God who moved again in the coming of Jesus Christ as
the divine provision and remedy for sin. In his letter to the Romans, Paul
“And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus
Christ “(Romans 1:6).
God Wills our Salvation
Not only is His call upon us, it is His sovereign will that we
will be saved. Among many things that can labeled God’s will in scripture,
the most significant is man’s salvation. Who can forget the most quoted
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever
believes in Him
should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).
Jesus made it clear that it’s the world God loves, the whole world,
Truly the task of evangelism is cosmic. The great commission is still “all
nations.” It transcends cultures, racial barriers, economic strata, and
personalities. The cosmic desire of God to see the whole world saved is
stressed in II Peter:
The Lord is not slow about His promise as some count slowness, but
forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that
should reach repentance (II Peter 3:9).
Jesus died for the world. And while we know some will reject salvation,
it is the task of the church to make the gospel message known to the world,
and in so doing, we are helping fulfill the divine will of God.
Paul made it clear what God’s desire is for worldwide salvation:
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires
to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:3-4).
Jesus made clear His mission when He said:
“For the Son of man came to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10).
His mission was clearly to bring man back to God. This He accomplished
by His death on the cross. Therefore the pattern is this. God wills our
salvation, Jesus came to do the will of the Father, Jesus accomplished
the provision of our salvation by His death on the cross. It is the church’s
task now to fulfill God’s will – man’s salvation!
Effective Evangelism is Done in the Power of God
Just before His ascension, Jesus gave His disciples the game
plan to take their world for Him. It goes like this:
You are witnesses of these things; And behold I send the promise
of my Father
upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power
from on high
This the disciples did. We read basically the same thing when
the great commission is given in Acts 1.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon
you; and you
shall be my witnesses, in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria,
and to the
end of the earth (Acts 1:8).
The most practical way we can witness in the power of God today is to
depend on the Holy Spirit for divine appointments and for holy boldness,
for effective results.
There is Inherent Power in the Gospel
In Genesis we are told that God spoke the world into creation.
By the same token, there is a resident power in the life-changing message
of the cross. Romans 1:16 tells us:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power
of God to
salvation to everyone who has faith.
The message that declares the atoning death, burial, and the resurrection
of Jesus has a built-in power of its own that is able to blow apart man’s
self-sufficiency, his false confidence, and even Stan’s deception. God’s
word is effective when spoken. That is the meaning of Isaiah 55:11:
So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth, it shall
not return to me
empty, but shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the
which I sent it.
Paul preached very rationally and academically in Athens and the converts
were few. On the other hand, he preached by the power of God in Corinth,
and many responded. In reflecting on that later, Paul reminded the Corinthians:
When I came to you brethren, I did not come proclaiming to you the
God in lofty words of wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you
Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and
and trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words
wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power, that your faith
rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (I Corinthian 2:1-5).
Our western mind-set leaves little room for God to operate with His
power in the task of evangelism. Our confidence too many times has been
in the setting of what is presented, the suaveness of the presenter, and
the rational way in which it is presented. We conclude that an intelligent
message, presented in an intelligent way, to an intelligent person, by
an intelligent person, should bring an intelligent affirmative results.
It’s not only the power of God working in and on the situation, but
the power of message which is shared.
The Church is Charged with the Responsibility of Equipping the Saints
We learned that if the saints are going to do the work of evangelism,
they must be trained in the work of evangelism. That is why it is absolutely
essential that there be in every church, regardless of size, an on-going
training program to equip saints who are willing in the work of evangelism.
The important thing is that we are seeking to be obedient to the scripture:
And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets,
some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of
ministry, for building
up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12).
“… to equip the saints for the work of the ministry…” That’s
the key. Every pastor’s task is one equipping, training, coaching, leading.
Many pastors have not yet learned that God has called them to equip God’s
people for God’s tasks. Theirs is not the job of DOING all the tasks, but
equipping others to do them as they come alongside and do with them. Every
local church needs an objective, a goal, and a game plan of how to get
there always before them in evangelism. Then and only then will your church,
and your community, really know you are serious about your existence as
Commitment to loving and caring relationships is essential! Loving
relationships that are sincere, real, and practical from the work of Christ
in your church will be the quintessential factor that will bring people
in far better than any evangelism campaign could ever do! People do not
want to just hear about Christ as much as they want to see and experience
how Christian love really works. They can do this through you! Remember
that Christ lived and taught the principle that people respond when we
reach out to them. (Mark 12:28-31; John 3:22; 13:35; 1 Corinthians 13)
Pastors, who are real, and authentic, lead healthy churches.
This builds trust. Real, authentic leaders will never grandstand, make
up problems, or blame others, but will take responsibility, and tell their
stories honestly. In wisdom, they will disclose truth, tempered with listening.
Be open, and encourage the other leaders to do so too. Authentic leaders
can be vulnerable and sensitive at the right times in the right places,
and yet wise enough not to give out too much so as to be perceived as weak
and needy. Real Christians will forgive you for your mistakes when you
are honest! (Acts; James 5:16; 1 John 1:8-10)
Apostle Paul along with Titus, had ministered in Crete
in an area that was totally ignorant of the truth. They had preached the
gospel and invited the Cretans to come into a personal relationship with
the living will of Jesus Christ. Then Paul had to move on, but he left
Titus there and said, “All right, now take them on from here, Titus.” He
You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. Teach the
older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound
in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older men women
to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to
much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women
to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to
be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that
no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men
to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what
is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of
speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed
because they have nothing bad to say about us. Teach slaves to be subject
to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back
to them, and not to steal from them, but show that they can be fully trusted,
so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
(Titus 2: 1-10)
In growing churches, lay leaders are enabled and motivated to
Every church needs to grow warmer through fellowship, deeper
through discipleship, stronger through worship, broader through ministry,
and larger through evangelism.
This is enunciated well enough in Philippians 1: "Striving together
for the faith of the gospel" - thus indicating the importance of a co-operative
spirit in the Lord's work. Augustine put it this way: "In necessariis unitas,
in non necessariis libertas, in omnibus charitas."
Such a stand, I think, lies behind our High Priest's intercessory prayer:
"That they may be one: as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that
they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent
The church is entrusted with the "message of this life." Nothing should
hinder us from passing it on to the whole world.
This principle will prove harmful when turned against our own brethren
in the Faith, denouncing them as troublers and subverters of the gospel
because they don't see eye to eye with us in all things, even in the petty
This principle of Sola Scriptura, that brings true unity among believers,
needs to be reiterated all the time. We are not pragmatists; we don't act
on the impulse of the moment. We must repeat this all the time; it seems
one of those principles that Christians generally find difficult to put
6. The best growing churches in the world have solid Biblical preaching
at their core. These churches do not water down the Gospel so much that
you cannot see the lifted cross! They do not overemphasize the seeker and
Church Growth advocates use Law and Gospel, but they often do
so in a manner not in keeping with Biblical understanding. Lutheran theology
interprets the mission of the church chiefly from the viewpoint of the
atoning and justifying work of Jesus Christ on the cross (Luther's "Theology
of the Cross"). Many Church Growth leaders, however, tend to view it primarily
from the viewpoint of the concept of the kingdom of God and obedience to
the Lordship of Christ. This means for them that, since Christ is
the Lord of the church, Christians carry out the mission of the church
principally because of Christ's command. The Scriptures indeed compel us
to take the great commission seriously, but they also teach that Christians
are motivated to witness for Christ not by the Law but by the Gospel. The
Law is necessary because it shows us what God's will is. But the Holy Spirit,
working through the Gospel of the crucified and risen Christ, is the One
who gives Christians the desire and the ability to carry out Christ's command.
If Lutherans use Church Growth materials, they should be aware of the dangers
of falling into a legalism which depends on external pressures and threats
to move Christians to be faithful stewards of the Gospel.
Dr. Homer Lindsay, Jr. emphasized that “God has given us His
Word and apart from His Word we have nothing in this life except the word
of man. Man is not trustworthy. He is not reliable. The Bible declares
that all men are liars. Man is born deceitful. He is born evil, he is
born sinful; therefore, man is not trustworthy. The Bible declares
itself to be the Word of God.”
Good Biblical teaching and preaching will provide the Holy Spirit
with fuel that energizes people and facilitates growth. The biggest growing
churches are the ones who preach the Word with power, conviction, and in
truth, such as Calvary Chapel (Acts 2:17-39)!
Preaching is first of all the Word of God. It is a word, then,
that gives life, salvation, grace, reconciliation and truth. Since
the Gospel is an act of God, “Its preaching must therefore be an act, a
“function” of the great act. A true sermon is a read deed… The Gospel means
something done and not simply declared. Bartlett says that “… preaching
actually brings new qualities of life to those who share in the experience…
It does not simply talk about hope or courage or strength or newness of
life; it bestows them.”
The God who acted in the events out of which the church arose acts afresh
in the preacher’s word. The preaching of the gospel is itself a part of
the gospel… True preaching is itself an event—and an event of a particular
kind. In it the revelation of God in Christ is actually recurring.
Wingren said, “But ‘man before preaching’ is the defeated man, who
has not been fully freed, who is still in the jaws of death. Since the
task of the Word is to give battle… messengers are sent right into the
enemy-occupied world of men, sent ‘as sheep in the midst of wolves’ (Matthew
10:16). It belongs to the nature of the office of preaching that it has
its place in the battle between God and the devil… A contrary wind, the
noise of battle—such is the preacher’s native element.
Moorehead said: I believe there comes a time when
every pastor must say what the twelve said, “It is not right that we should
give up preaching the word of God to serve tables” (Acts 6:2b). We need
to do what God has called us to do.”
As Brunner puts it, “Where there is true preaching, where, in
obedience of faith to the command of the Lord and in the authority of His
Spirit the Word is proclaimed, there, in spite of all appearances to the
contrary, the most important thing that ever happens upon this earth takes
When preaching is restored to its proper place in the church
again, we’ll begin to see tremendous growth. The Word still stands as a
reminder to every would-be preacher:
… preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince,
rebuke and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching (II Timothy
Dr. Paul Benjamin, Director of National Church Growth Research
in Washington, D.C. cited that some churches grow because they teach to
change lives. Bible facts are the foundation of the teaching from the pulpit
and in their classes; they have a definite doctrinal basis; and they
have a clear, distinctive message. Their members know there is something
definite to be believed.
The CGM has adopted a phenomenological hermeneutic or a
pragmatic principle of interpretation. Although they affirm that the Bible
is inspired by God and has power to save and is the final authority when
it comes to evaluating the truth claims of all other sources, when it comes
to interpreting the Bible, they are directed by something called “growth
pragmatism.” This means that those doctrines that received the greatest
attention are those which actually work to make the church grow numerically.
They believe that theological findings should always be validated by experience,
if possible and adjusted to fit experience, if necessary. Their key Scripture
in this regard is I Corinthians 9:22b where Paul says, “I have become all
things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” For
those in the CGM, this validates the use of sociology, demography and the
fruits of marketing research to determine what part of the Bible they should
concentrate on in order to have the greatest impact on the people they
are trying to reach.
This is undoubtedly the foundation factor for proper church growth.
The church is the pillar and bulwark of the truth; it exists because of
God's self-revelation and it thrives as it continues in the truth. A church
that is slack in doctrine, or that prefers to stay on the ABC of truth
will not be energetic to conquer new ground and expand.
We must be careful, though, lest we make an idol out of this principle;
it is easy to miss the distinction between the gold bar (that must be protected
at all costs) and the gold-dust (which is also important, but because we
recognize that the church is a growing organism, we are willing to welcome
others, receiving them but not for doubtful disputation). Will a church
grow if we are turned to policemen over each other, or heresy-hunters as
an end in itself?
The regular preaching and teaching of the Word is taken seriously.
Nothing is allowed to subvert its ongoing ministry. Let’s take time to
study and gain a better understanding of the Word, and encourage Sunday
School teachers to prove themselves to be workmen who need not to be ashamed.
The Scripture declares that all scripture is given by inspiration
of God. Therefore, the priority of any Pastor’s life must be the Word of
God. He has to accept the scriptures as being the authoritative, infallible,
inspired Word of God from Genesis through the Revelation. He must set up
his own private schedule that will allow him the privilege of studying
the Word of God so that he will have opportunity to teach the Word of God
to his people.
The preaching factor cannot be ignored in the local church if
growth is to come.
7. Real, heartfelt, God exalting adoration
must be the focus of the worship service. It must never lift up the leaders
or be a performance to entertain. It is God who is the audience and we
are the people who are to praise and glorify Him! We are still to
make our services friendly and innovative, as there is noting wrong with
plays and contemporary themes as long as the service glories Christ and
is not a medium just to entertain the people. Remember, the congregation
is the performer, the worship team is the leader, and God is the audience!
Don’t mix these up! This is where all of the church growth and spiritual
growth principles come to their focal point--the reason for discipleship,
and maturity. All that we do in the church--from faith, fellowship, and
outreach to facilities--come to this point and reason: TO WORSHIP CHRIST!
A quality church has an atmosphere in worship of expectancy and
anticipation, a sense that God is present as we look upward and seek divine
connections and reconnections, and a sense of the worshipping community
that looks around in sensitivity and awareness.
In the primitive worship, Max Muller (in his essay) says: “That
feeling of sonship which distinguishes man from every other creature, and
not only exalts him above the brute, but completely secures him against
sinking into a purely physical state of being, that original intuition
of God, and that consciousness of his being dependent upon a higher power,
can only be the result of a primitive revelation in the most literal sense
of the word.”
1 Corinthians, verse 31, explicitly states that, “Whether, then,
you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
On Chapter 6, Paul reiterated our purpose, “Or do you not
know that your body is a temple of the Holy spirit who is in you, whom
you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought
with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (vv. 19-20)).
In the book of Romans, Paul articulates the same purpose for
the church. “Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant
you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus;
that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ (15:5-6).
Matthew 5: 16 affirms. “Let your light shine before men in such
a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.”
True worship is best understood in the truth that God dwells
and manifests Himself in the midst of a praising people rather than a watching
people. That’s why Psalm 22:3 tells us” “Yet thou art holy, enthroned on
the praise of Israel.” The King James version makes it even more
graphic when it says the God inhabits the praises of Israel. What a truth,
God inhabits in the midst of a praising people.
It’s no secret today that the church, from what we read in the scriptures,
has a four-fold ministry. It is WORSHIP, WORD, WITNESS, and WORK. Though
these flow together and overlap, if the real worship isn’t there, both
corporately and individually, the rest is quite redundant. Fortunately
for the church today, worship, the long missing jewel, is being rediscovered
as well as recovered. Somehow, some way, at some point in out history,
Satan cleverly stole worship away from the church. Devoid of true worship,
the church has basically “gone through the motions.” It has pumped itself
up by programs, plans, projects, promotions and a plethora of activities,
but the jewel that brings the life had truly been missing. At all costs,
we must storm the gates of hell and re-capture this jewel, restoring it
to its rightful position. Then and only then will God’s church begin to
Jesus made it clear at the outset of his ministry that there is a true
worship as opposed to the false.
But the hour is coming and now is, when the true worshippers will
Father in spirit and in truth, for such the Father seeks to worship
Him. God is
Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth
In that scripture, Jesus referred to the “true” worship. That implies
that there is a phony, false, counterfeit worship that also happens. There
are good examples of that in biblical history. Nadab and Abihu offered
strange fire, making a sacrifice in worship not according to divine plans
(Leviticus 10:1,2). Saul disregarded God’s plan that none but priests were
to function at the altar and as a result of that plus other things, lost
his kingship (I Samuel 13:8-14a). Of course the scribes and Pharisees
in Jesus’ day made void the word of God by their legalistic tradition,
thus their worship was hollow and meaningless (Matthew 15:1-9). Much of
Israel’s worship had been reduced to only forms. That’s why God said what
He said in Isaiah 1:11:
What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? Says the Lord’ “I have
burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight
in the blood of
bulls, or of lambs, or of he-goats.”
That’s why Jesus said we are to worship Him in spirit and truth. Spirit
without the truth is aimless, experimental subjectivism. Truth without
the spirit of man is nothing more than cold form and legalism. God wants
both spirit and truth.
Real worship is attributing to God in thought, word and deed the glory,
honor, the praise and adoration that is due Him.
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord the glory
of His name;
worship the Lord in Holy array (Psalm 29:1a, 2).
Our primary purpose for gathering in assembly on Sundays is to ascribe
to the Lord the worship and praise due His name. That is our objective.
God is the audience, we, the congregation, are the performers.
A BIBLICAL MODEL
Nowhere in scripture will you find a better “model” for worship than
Psalm 113. A short Psalm, it somehow captures all the elements about worship
and puts the worship of God in a different perspective than the usual.
A. It Tells us the WHO of Praise:
It starts out by saying “Praise the Lord” in verse 1. He is
the object of our praise. As stated earlier, He is the audience,
not the people who gather. On the contrary, they are the “performers.”
While true worship is subjective in that it is always experiential, it
is first objective, in that the object lies beyond us. The Lord is the
recipient of our adoration, blessing, thanksgiving, songs and hallelujahs.
If we can remember that in planning a worship service, it will color everything
we say, sing and do.
B. It Tells us who the PRAISE-GIVERS Are:
Again in verse 1, “Praise O SERVANTS of the Lord, praise
the name of the Lord.” We are the praise-givers, not the praise receivers.
Again, we enter into worship to dispense something, not to receive something.
To be sure, we do receive, but the receiving is the normal outcome of the
dispensing. It is interesting that David referred to the praise-givers
as “servants.” He didn’t call us worshippers, congregation, audience or
people, but “servants.” I believe this was deliberate, because it shows
the proper relationship between the worshipper and the worshipped.
Only believers can truly worship God. The direction of worship
is from believers to God. We magnify God’s name in worship by expressing
our love and commitment to him. Unbelievers simply cannot do this.
C. It Tells us the TIME FACTOR of Worship:
Verse 2 says, “Blessed be the name of the Lord, FROM THIS
TIME FORTH AND FOREVERMORE.” So worship is not just something you do in
church on Sunday mornings, and then maybe again on Sunday evenings
or mid-week. It is an on-going attitude of life that should permeate our
thinking and our speech. To be sure, there will be times of concentrated
worship, special times of personal worship, other times set aside for entering
into corporate worship with intensity. But as far as “when” to worship,
it’s an on-going, unceasing experience we develop as an attitude of gratitude.
Driving the car, mowing the lawn, washing the dishes, taking a shower,
or just listening to music can provide excellent setting for worship.
D. It Tells us the GEOGRAPHICAL BOUNDARIES of Worship:
Verse 3 says, “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the
name of the Lord is to be praised!” Any way you measure that phrase, it
means the whole earth, every nation, tribe, every race, every culture,
every level of creation… the whole earth is to praise the Lord.
E. It Tells us the PERSPECTIVE of Worship:
“The Lord is high above the nations, and his glory above the
heavens!” The exaltation of God makes our worship a cosmic exercise. He
is exalted above the earth, above all that is common and mundane, above
the heavens, indeed above the highest heavens! When we enter into an intense
time of worship. Something big is happening that transcends all human transactions!
If you want your perspective stretched, then just worship in Spirit and
When the missing ruby of worship is restored, Satan will indeed
be routed. He shudders to think of the power present in the midst
of a worshipping people. Churches that are learning to worship God biblically,
unrestrained, uninhibited, and not bound and gagged by generations of tradition
are indeed growing. People are attracted to people who worship.
“O, sing to the Lord a new song, For He has done marvelous things!”
- Psalm 98:1
Every church likes to believe its worship style is the most biblical.
The truth is, there isn’t a biblical style of worship. Each Sunday true
believers around the world give glory to Jesus Christ using a thousand
equally valid expressions and styles. Regardless of styles, true worship
employs both your right brain and your left brain. It engages both emotion
and intellect, your heart and your mind. We must worship in spirit and
The CGM believes that the worship service to be used as a critical
evangelistic tool. This is driven by research which indicates that if the
“unchurched” are going to enter a church building, they are most likely
to attend a Sunday morning service, as opposed to an evening service or
a small group like a Sunday School class. They are most likely to do
this because they do not want to be singled out or put on the spot. They
do not want to be questioned or asked to commit themselves to anything.
They merely want to come and observe what is going on and leave as quietly
as possible. The key word is “anonymity”. Because of this the “worship
service” must change. Since we are dealing with baby boomers and others
who insist on quality, we must make sure that everything we do has “excellence”
stamped on it. Furthermore, we need to pay attention to what they want
and surveys tell us that they wan: worship services that are informal and
relaxed, music that is contemporary and sermons that are not too long but
practical, relevant, interesting, simple, positive and even entertaining.
They want drama, skits, dance and other more visual ways of expressing
the faith. One church growth practitioner even tells us that if we are
going to have a “revival,” we need to make it a one-day event because people
are just too busy for anything else!
Dennis Costella, in his FOUNDATION Magazine, (March-April 1998)
wrote, “ After personally covering the Saddleback Community Church “Building
a Purpose-Driven Church” seminar held in Southern California this past
January, it became clear to me that some of today’s most influential religious
leaders misunderstand and misrepresent the true purpose of the church today.
Dr. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Community Church and director of
the “Building a Purpose-Driven Church” workshops, has influenced thousands
of churches during the last decade that are interested in the “Church Growth
Movement.” Without doubt, every church in the United States must give,
or has already had to give, an answer to the strategies of building a super
church. Sadly, many have already jumped on board. The possibility of dynamic
growth for struggling churches, especially old-fashioned, Bible-believing,
Bible-preaching fundamental churches, is tremendously appealing. However,
it is imperative to ask this question: “What actually must be done in order
to accomplish dynamic church growth?”
It was clearly spelled out in that seminar that some changes
must take place for a local assembly to adopt the growth strategy of the
Saddleback model. The following must occur in order to transform a traditionally-styled
church of any size into one that can boast dramatic growth:
· A contemporary-styled “Seeker Service” aimed at drawing in
the unsaved and the unchurched from the community must replace the traditional
Sunday worship service. To do this successfully, the church service must
be non-threatening, familiar and comfortable to the seeker” (the unsaved
· The music must be casual. Attendees and church staff
alike shun any ties, suits and dresses. “Get comfortable.”
· The music must be contemporary. Not only must the lyrics of
the music be more recent, but the style of music should be that which the
unsaved hears on a daily basis. The entertainment composite of the Saddleback
sound system, band, singers and presentation would rival that of any secular
rock concert. Warren stated that one of the first things a church should
do is “replace the organ with a band.” But he went on to say that if a
band was not feasible, then at least a church could purchase a keyboard
that will incorporate midi disks in order to give the sound of a band.
Furthermore, the purpose of the church choir should be “backing up the
soloist. That’s the 90’s way to use a choir rather than just having them
· The message must be only positive. We consider this to be
the most flagrant flaw. Yes, the saved and unsaved alike can feel better
about themselves after a message that often mixes psychology and an uplifting
Scripture text. Such topics as dealing with guilt, self-esteem, interpersonal
relationships, mood enhancement or motivation for success will encourage
the worldly, weary individual. But what is God’s command to the faithful
undershepherd of the flock? Far, far different.
· The ministries of the church must be geared to meeting the
needs and special interests of the thousands who attend. Support groups
for depression, eating disorders, infertility, family and friends of homosexuals,
post abortion, and separated men and women were abundant. Many ministries
were intended to bring together ones with similar business or professional
interest, common recreational interests and so on. We could not find one
single ministry listed in Saddleback Community Church’s bulletin that involved
the taking the Gospel message out to the lost in the community. In fact,
Warren scoffed at the idea of passing out tracts or going door-to-door
since Saddleback Sam” is offended by such old-fashion, out-moded forms
· Doctrinal instruction is not given to the church as a whole
on the Lord’s Day. Despite the fact that the early church clearly sets
forth the example that doctrine is to be taught on Sunday to all the church
body, at Saddleback, doctrine is only taught to sub-groups of the congregation
apart from the regular church services. Warren emphasized Saddleback’s
strategy of moving new members “around the bases” by having interested
Christians take special classes to prepare them for service. Although Bible
study groups also meet together, our question is this: Why is not the pulpit
used to proclaim the :whole counsel of God” to the whole congregation assembled
before it on the Lord’s Day (Acts 20:20-31)? Why make serious, systematic
Bible instruction an option, heard only by the relatively few in the crowd
who desire to “round the next base?” The whole counsel of God is to be
proclaimed, to all seated before the pulpit, all the time!
· A spirit of compromise must prevail in the church that is
to experience dynamic growth. The embrace of contemporary culture and style
will most assuredly set the desired mood that totally opposes the Biblical
mandate to earnestly contend for the faith and separate from error. What
works, what is least offensive and what is positive and uplifting is what
should define the ministry, according to Warren. The church leaders who
are interested in dynamic growth must embrace the attitude that says, “Don’t
try to tell me the Bible requires holiness and a style for worship and
ministry that is different from that of the world.” This “grace-in-face”
attitude is so prevalent today because of church elders who are not willing,
or not aware of how, to instruct ones to behave in the house of God (I
This report will identify and analyze the programs suggested
by the Saddleback Community Church model and will ascertain whether or
not this model is consistent with what the Bible says concerning the nature,
purpose and strategy of the church. Although Saddleback Community Church
is one of the largest churches in America (comparable to bill Hybels’ Willow
Creek Community Church), the believer must not take a pragmatic approach
to church growth. While the contemporary strategies of worship and ministry
employed by both Warren and Hybels seem to be successful (according to
the world’s standards) and do indeed attract thousands of saved and unsaved
alike, results do not determine what is acceptable to the Lord—only God’s
Word reveals if their methods please Him.
It is a natural to worship as it is to live. The feeling and
expression of high adoration, reverence, trust, love, loyalty, and dependence
upon a higher power, human or divine, is a necessity to man. To these sentiments,
to a greater or less degree, in every man, something or somebody, real
or imaginary, appeals. And that something secures his worship. “Worship
is as old as humanity. It has its root in a necessity of the human soul
as native to it as the consciousness of God itself, which impels it to
testify by word and act its love and gratitude to the Author of life and
the Giver of all good.”
There is no set of worship elements or a particular style that
characterizes all growing churches. But, a strong relationship exists between
music and church growth in churches of all sizes. Growing churches tend
to be joyful, expectant, and celebrative.
There is no correct “style” of worship. Jesus only gave two requirements
for legitimate worship: “God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship
in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
8. You must have a well thought out, empowered
vision and mission statement with a clearly defined purpose, and strategies
on what God has called you to do and be. It must be real and authentic,
and you must be willing to act on it. It is one thing to write it out,
but another thing to act it out (Hebrews 11:1-2).
Rick Warren, of the fast growing Saddleback Community Church in
Mission Viejo, California, makes a valid point that every church is driven
by some force whether it be tradition, finances, personalities, facilities,
etc. Leaders should decide God’s purpose for their church from the
Scriptures and let that be their driving force. As opportunity arise, rather
than saying, “We’ve never done it that way before” (tradition, the last
seven words of a dying church.) “Do we have enough money?” (finances, “oh
holy budget”), “what will brother so and so say?” (personalities), or “Do
we have the room?” (facility), we should ask, “Will it fulfill our God-given
Warren said that at Southwest we have a vision statement: “To
be a Christ-focused family committed to living for God, loving each other,
and lighting the word.”
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision the people perish.”
Francis Bacon, the English essayist, once said, “Reading makes
a broad man, but writing makes an exact man.” When it comes to communicating
the purposes of the church, we want to be as precise as we can be.
The CGM believes that churches must have aggressive “church growth
strategy”. It is not enough to pray and wait for people to our service
– we must have a plan of action. This is not to deny that God is sovereign,
rather it is to assert our God-given responsibility to fulfill the Great
Commission by going out into the world and making disciples. Having a plan
helps the whole body moves as one, it clarifies what it is we are trying
to do and it provides a standard by which to measure whether we are succeeding
or failing. Wagner sees a challenging and yet realistic plan as a “practical
manifestation of faith.” However if a church develops a plan, it must take
steps to put the plan into action, otherwise it’s value is lost. When planning
for church growth, a congregation with its leaders should look at ways
in which it can make contact with community. How can we raise our profile
in the community? What needs can we meet? What events can we organize that
will draw in the unchurched? Remembering McGavran’s “homogenous unit principle”,
a good plan will focus attention on and direct resources to those who are
most like the members of the church, since sociologically they should be
the most receptive to their witness.
EFFECTIVE PURPOSE STATEMENT
It is biblical
An effective purpose statement expresses the New Testament doctrine
of the church. Remember, we don’t decide the purposes of the church – we
discover them. Christ is the head of his church. He established the purposes
long ago. Now each generation must affirm them.
It is specific
Purpose statements need to be simple and clear. The biggest
mistake a church can make when developing a purpose statement is trying
to cram too much into it. The temptation is to add in all kinds of good,
but unnecessary, phrases because you are afraid of leaving out something
important. But the more you add to your statement, the more diffused it
becomes, and the more difficult it is to fulfill.
A narrow mission is a clear mission. A specific purpose
statement forces you to focus your energy. Don’t be detoured by peripheral
issues. Ask the questions, “What are the very few things that will
make the most difference for Jesus’ sake in our world? What can we do that
only the church can do?”
It is transferable
A purpose statement that is transferable is short enough to be
remembered and passed on by everyone in your church. The shorter it is,
the better. Although the purpose statement of every biblical church will
include the same elements, there is nothing to keep you from saying it
in a fresh, creative way. Try to make it memorable.
It is measurable
You must be able to look at your purpose statement and evaluate
whether your church is doing it or not. You cannot judge the effectiveness
of your church unless your missions is measurable.
A great purpose statement will provide a specific standard by
which you can review, revise, and improve everything your church does.
If you can’t evaluate your church by your purpose statement, go back to
the drawing board. Make it measurable. Otherwise your purpose statement
is just a public relations piece.
A great Commitment to the great commandment and the great commission
will grow a great church.
Matthew 22: 37-40 states that’ “Love the Lord your God with all
your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.. Love your neighbor
as yourself”. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching
them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28: 19-20)
Thousands of churches struggle from week to week with no vision and
no dream for the future. They plod along, RE-acting to what comes instead
of ACTing so as to dictate what comes. Unfortunately, many churches of
all sizes major in mediocrity and specialize in status-quo due to lack
of vision. The Bible says:
And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out
my spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams…
Peter quoted this verse on the day of Pentecost when the very
first church was born. It’s no wonder it was born in power and dynamism.
Historically, God has consistently worked through a visionary people who
crossed the Red Sea on dry ground, who marched around Jericho seven times,
who went into the promised land and conquered.
Robert Young said that, A quality church knows its mission—within
the local body, an individual lives, in its community, in the world (cf.
Ephesians). A church must be responsive to God if God give the increase
(I Corinthians 3:8).
The Five Purposes of the Church
1. Love the Lord with all your heart (Matthew 4:10).
2. Love your neighbor as yourself (4:12).
3. Go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).
4. Baptizing them (Matthew 28: 20).
5. Teaching them to obey (Matthew 28: 20).
THE RESULTS OF A VISIONARY CHURCH
The church was born in power. The sound of a mighty rushing wind
set the stage. It’s no just coincidental that the full pouring out of the
Holy Spirit and the birth of the church went hand in hand. It was designed
that way. Not only born in power, it grew in power. It conquered in power.
It met opposition in power. It was evident that the church of the first
century maneuvered its way across Asia with a supernatural force that made
Rome sit up and take notice. Without the benefit of a computer, a copy
machine, a telephone, a video recorder or a word processor, the church
grew because of her reliance on God’s power, poured out through the Holy
Spirit. Phrases like this occur all through the book of Acts:
And with great power the apostles gave their testimony
to the resurrection of
the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all (Acts 4:33).
Their power penetrated paganism, healed the sick, raised the dead, drove
out demons, and shook whole cities for the gospel.
Acts 1:8 says, “You shall be my witnesses.” Witnessing was not
an option in the early church;”… now those who are scattered went everywhere
preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).
The churches that are thriving, growing, and expanding rapidly are
churches that have caught the vision of outreach. God has called us to
witness. The church exists to witness, it’s the way God planned for the
church to grow and expand.
To give or not to give… that was never the question in the early church.
There was a spontaneity in giving that caused the church to never lack
funds to do God’s work. If you want to know what the tone was in this area:
… and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his
but they had everything in common (Acts 4:32).
… there was not a needy person among them, for as many as were
of lands or houses, sold them and brought the proceeds of what was
laid it at the apostles’ feet (Acts 4:34-35).
God intended the church to grow. He created it to grow, designed it
to grow, equipped it to grow, empowered it to grow, SO IT OUGHT TO GROW…
unless we stop it. The book of Acts clearly recorded:
So those who received His word were baptized, and there were added
about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’
and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And fear
came upon every
soul; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles (Acts
And they arrested them and put them in custody until the morrow, for
already evening. But many of those who heard the word believed, and
number of men came to about five thousand (Acts 4:3-4).
And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied
in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the
faith (Acts 6:7).
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace
built up; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of
Spirit it was multiplied (Acts 9:31).
And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord
And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number that believed
to the Lord (Acts 11:21)
But the word of God grew and multiplied (Acts 12:24).
So the word of the Lord grew and prevailed mightily (Acts 19:20).
If the leadership has no vision for the future, the local church will
have no future!
Jesus said”…I will build my church.” Matthew 16:18
Paul: “By grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert
I Corinthians 3:10
If you want to build a healthy, strong, and growing church you
must spend time laying a solid foundation. This is done by clarifying in
the minds of everyone involved exactly why the church exists and what it
is supposed to do. There is incredible power in having a clearly defined
purpose statement. If it is short enough for everyone to remember,
your statement of purpose will yield five wonderful benefits for your church:
A Clear Purpose Builds Morale
Morale and mission always go together. First Corinthians 1:10
(LB) says, “Let there be real harmony so that there won’t be splits in
the church… Be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” Notice Paul
says that the key to harmony in the church is to be united in purpose.
If your mission is unclear, your morale will be low.
Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) says, “Where there is no vision, the people
perish.” I believe it is also true that where there is no vision, people
leave for another parish! Many churches are barely surviving because
they have no vision. They limp along from Sunday to Sunday because they’ve
lost sight of their purpose for continuing. A church without purpose and
mission eventually becomes a museum piece of yesterday’s traditions.
A Clear Purpose Reduces Frustration
A purpose statement reduces frustration because it allows us
to forget about things that don’t really matter. Isaiah 26:3 (TEV) says
that God “give(s) perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and
put their trust in (him) (italics added).” A clear purpose not only defines
what we do, it defines what we do not do.
Without a purpose statement it is easy to be frustrated by all
the distractions around us. Maybe you’ve felt the way Isaiah did: “I have
labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing”
(Isaiah 49:4). Trying to lead a church without a clearly defined purpose
is like trying to drive a car in the fog. If you can’t see clearly where
you’re headed, you are likely to crash.
A Clear Purpose Allows Concentration
Focused light has tremendous power. Diffused light has no power at
all. For instance, by focusing the power of the sun through a magnifying
glass, you can set a leaf on fire. But you can’t set a leaf on fire if
the same sunlight is unfocused. When light is concentrated at an even higher
level, like a laser beam, it can even cut through a block of steel.
The principle of concentration works in other areas too. A focused
life and a focused church will have far greater impact than unfocused ones.
Like the laser beam, the more focused your church becomes, the more impact
it will have on society. Paul said, “I am bringing all my energies to bear
on this one thing, forgetting what is behind and looking forward to what
lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13 LB).
A Clear Purpose Attracts Cooperation
People want to join a church that knows where it’s going. When
a church clearly communicates its destination, people are eager to get
on board. This is because everyone is looking for something that gives
meaning, purpose, and direction to life. When Ezra told the people exactly
what God expected them to do the people responded, “Tell us how to proceed
in setting things straight, and we will fully cooperate” (Ezra 10:4 LB).
The apostle Paul was always clear in his purpose. As a result,
people wanted to be a part of what he was doing. This was especially true
of the church at Philippi. The Philippians were so captivated by Paul’s
mission that they gave him ongoing financial support (Philippians 4:15).
If you want your members to get excited about the church, actively support
it, and generously give to it, you must vividly explain up front exactly
where the church is headed.
A Clear Purpose Assists Evaluation
Second Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves to see whether
you are in the faith; test yourselves.” How does a church evaluate itself?
Not by comparing itself to other churches, but by asking, “Are we doing
what God intends for us to do?” and “How well are we doing it?” As Peter
Drucker says, “What is our business?” and “How’s business?” These are the
two most critical questions for evaluating your church. Your church’s purpose
statement must become the standard by which you measure your congregation’s
The foundation determines both the size and the strength of a building.
You can never build larger than the foundation can handle. The same is
true for churches. A church built on an inadequate or faulty foundation
will never reach the height that God intends for it to reach. It will topple
over once it out-grows its base.
The older the church gets, the truer this becomes. Programs and
events continue to be added to the agenda without ever cutting anything
out. Remember, no program is meant to last forever. A good question to
keep in mind when dealing with programs in your church is, “Would we begin
this today if we were not delay doing it?” A bloated church calendar diffuses
the energy of your church. It is essential to the health of your church
that you periodically “clean house” – abandon programs that have outlived
their purpose. When the house is dead – dismount!
End of Part 1
for Part 2