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ME 700 Principles of Church Growth


A. Read EACH of the following: 1. Donovan, Vincent J. Christianity Rediscovered. Orbis, 1979. This autobiographical case study, one of the most engaging and moving books in all of missiological literature, focuses on the planting of indigenous Catholic Christianity among Masai people in East Africa. It dramatizes the central “apostolic” issue of starting a Christian movement from scratch among an unreached people. 2. Arn, Win and Charles Arn. The Master’s Plan for Making Disciples. Baker Book House, 1998. 3. Donald A. McGavran. Understanding Church Growth, Third Edition. Eerdmans, 1990. The authoritative text in the field of Global Church Growth, written by "the Father of the Church Growth Movement." The second and third editions include "Eurica" within the world's mission fields, thus making this a definitive general text, although the third edition-- condensed by C. Peter Wagner, made some unfortunate omissions. 4.. Winter, Ralph D. and Steven C. Hawthorne, eds. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, Third Edition. William Carey Library, 1999. In this course, we assign only a “bakers dozen” articles (primarily from the “Strategic Perspective” section) from this widely used collection, but every serious mission student will own this book. B. Read ANY TWO of the following: 5. Charles Arn. White Unto Harvest: Evangelizing Today’s Senior Adults. Monrovia, CA: Institute for American Church Growth, 2003. A cogent research-based report on approaches to reaching a distinct target population. 6. Hunter, George G. Hunter, III. To Spread the Power: Church Growth in the Wesleyan Spirit. Abingdon, 1987. Drawing from twentieth century studies, as well as from John Wesley’s strategic genius. 7. ____________________. Radical Outreach: The Recovery of Apostolic Ministry and Evangelism. Abingdon, 2003. Delineates a case for, and approaches to, a more “apostolic” way of “doing church” among pre- Christian populations. 8. McIntosh, Gary. Biblical Church Growth. Baker, 2003. This is new engaging treatment, especially useful for people with any doubts about whether the Church Growth approach to mission and evangelism is rooted biblically. 9. Schaller, Lyle E. 44 Steps Up Off the Plateau. Abingdon, 1993. A range of “interventions” for churches “stuck” at their present membership strength, by the writer who knows more about churches than anyone else who ever lived! 10. Schwartz, Christian. Natural Church Development. ChurchSmart Resources, 1996. Currently the most widely praised (and critiqued) book in the field; purports to profile churches that experience growth through health. C. The following additional books are required for students taking the 700 level course. 10. Donald A. McGavran. The Bridges of God. New York, Friendship Press, 1955. McGavran's 1955 "bombshell", challenging the widespread arrested (mission station stage) development of the world Christian movement, and delineating his early strategic conclusion about how the gospel characteristically spreads along social network lines within people groups. 11.. Donald A. McGavran. How Churches Grow. New York, Friendship Press, 1959. 12. Read one of the field studies in which McGavran was a principal writer, such as the following: Multiplying Churches in the Philippines; Church Growth in Jamaica; Ethnic Realities and the Church: Lessons from India; Church Growth in Mexico; Zaire: Midday in Missions. (The student may choose some other field study if he or she is particularly interested in the field.) D. In addition, the following articles are accessible within the ESJ icon on Asbury Seminary’s website. (Report any difficulty to Julee Bellar 858-2259) The student may either read each article on-line, or print it out. a) Hunter, "The Legacy of Donald McGavran" b) _____. “Learn Why Some Churches are Growing.” c) _____, “Top Ten Reasons for NOT Leaving Evangelism to the Pastor.” d) _____. “Reaching WAY OUT in Urban Evangelism” e) _____. “Mega-Churches” f) ______. “Examining the ‘Natural Church Development’ Project”

Publication Date

January 2004


Asbury Theological Seminary


Kentucky, Church, Fall, ME700, Growth, MS615



MS 615 Foundations of Church Growth