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ME 700 Principles of Church Growth


III. Textbooks: The following textbooks are for students in MS 615 and ME 700. The literature, especially McGavran's Understanding Church Growth, should be perceived as the heart of the course. Class sessions will stimulate deeper reading, provide perspective, headline some themes and expand upon others, fill gaps, suggest implications and applications, and facilitate learning and strategic thinking. Class sessions may involve varied technologies, such as lectures, experiential lectures, case studies, visiting speakers, films, maps, data gener- ation, simulations, pencil and paper instruments, reports, processing of assigned readings, etc. 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. 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. 3. George G. Hunter III. Radical Outreach: The Recovery of Apostolic Ministry and Evangelism. Abingdon, 2003. 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 1 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. Arn, Win and Charles Arn. The Master’s Plan for Making Disciples. Baker Book House,1998. Unpacks a Church Growth approach to social-network evangelism. 6. 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. McIntosh, Gary. Biblical Church Growth. Baker, 2003. This is a new engaging treatment, especially useful for people with any doubts about whether the Church Growth approach to mission and evangelism is rooted biblically. 8. 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! 9. 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.

Publication Date

January 2006


Asbury Theological Seminary


ME700, MS615, Spring, Wilmore



MS 615 Foundations of Church Growth