The receptivity principle of church growth discerns who in the local population is generally responsive to the gospel. The biblical warrant for this principle is seen in Jesus’ instructions to his disciples (Mark 5:11) and in Paul’s ministry (Acts 14:19-20). Donald McGavran emphasized, “Evangelism can be and ought to be directed to responsive persons, groups, and segments of society…. Correct policy is to occupy fields of low receptivity lightly.” The experience of anxiety typifies gospel-receptive groups; when their anxiety dissipates, their gospel receptivity diminishes. The special-needs population and those who are close to them experience unrelieved chronic anxiety that predisposes them to gospel receptivity, and yet most churches and pastors either do not perceive that fact or know how to serve them in ways that demonstrate the love of Christ. This article chronicles how The Journey Church (EFCA) of Tucson, Arizona, has experienced dramatic church growth as a result of identifying and ministering to this highly receptive group of needy people. The article concludes with eight steps any church can undertake to minister to the special-needs community and thereby enjoy church revitalization through conversion growth.
Roden, J. (2020). “Lift Up Your Eyes”: Case Study of Journey Church, Tucson. Great Commission Research Journal, 11(2), 126-151. Retrieved from https://place.asburyseminary.edu/gcrj/vol11/iss2/6