Because we will be talking about the church and its nature during this conference, I thought it might be good for us to be reminded of some basic characteristics of the church and the various ways the church has seen itself. At the risk of oversimplification, I would like to briefly survey ten broad perspectives on the Church which one may derive from the Church’s history and relate them to Church Growth theory. The ten perspectives mentioned in this paper are in no way meant to be exhaustive of the multiple ways one may view the Church. I do not see these ten as mutually-exclusive. Neither am I assuming that in each age the church has exhibited only one of these perspectives, though at certain times one or two may have been stronger than the others. The ten perspectives are meant only to illustrate the breadth of viewpoints available to us in seeking to describe the mystery that is the Church: called forth by Jesus Christ, created by the Holy Spirit, sustained by the power of God, involving human persons and structures, shaped by its contexts, and incarnated in specific times and places.
Van Engen, C. (1999). Perspectives on the Church and Church Growth Theory. Journal of the American Society for Church Growth, 10(1), 23-67. Retrieved from https://place.asburyseminary.edu/jascg/vol10/iss1/3