The Book of Church Growth

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The gift of tongues manifested on the day of Pentecost is one of many gifts of the Spirit elaborated in scripture, both ancient and modern. We are encouraged to seek after these gifts, especially missionaries serving in foreign lands. According to H. George Bickerstaff in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism :. Gifts of the Spirit are to be sought for their beneficial effect rather than for their remarkable character see 1 Cor.

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In fact, as Joseph Smith observed, only one or two of the gifts are visible when in operation. In its commonly understood sense, the gift of tongues is one such, but President Joseph F. I was in a foreign land, sent to preach the gospel to a people whose language I could not understand.

Then I sought earnestly for the gift of tongues, and by this gift and by study, in a hundred days after landing upon those [Hawaiian] islands I could talk to the people in their language as I now talk to you in my native tongue. This was a gift that was worthy of the gospel. There was a purpose in it. Modern Church leaders, however, have warned us to be cautious in using this gift because of its potential to lead us astray. Elder Robert D. Hales stated:.

We are told by prophets in this dispensation that revelation for the direction of the Church will not be given through the gift of tongues. The reason for this is that it is very easy for Lucifer to falsely duplicate the gift of tongues and confuse the members of the Church. Satan has the power to trick us as it pertains to some of the gifts of the Spirit.

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One in which he is the most deceptive is the gift of tongues. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young —77 explained the need to be cautious when considering the gift of tongues. The devil can speak in tongues. All gifts and endowments given of the Lord to members of his Church are not given to control the Church; but they are under the control and guidance of the Priesthood, and are judged of by it. Our usual interpretation of this gift, communicating in a foreign language for teaching, differs from some other Christian groups, but even from the time of Paul see 1 Corinthians 14 , the wisdom of properly communicating and understanding through this gift is the key blessing.

This gift may also allow individuals who are temporarily living in a foreign country to hear the gospel in a foreign tongue, understand it, become converted, and return later to their homelands to build the Church there. This blessing allows the gospel to be carried throughout the world to people of many different languages.

As the early Church began to expand and include different groups, one particular administrative issue arose that required the attention of the Apostles. Acts describes a situation where Grecians were murmuring against Hebrews because their widows and poor were neglected in the daily ministration.

The Grecians, usually referred to as Hellenists, were a group of Greek-speaking converts to the Church who were living in Jerusalem as Hellenized Jews. Hellenism was the spread and influence of Greek thought, culture, religion, and language throughout the eastern Mediterranean.

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Many Jews in the land of Israel, but particularly Jews living outside of Israel in Diaspora exile from the land of Israel , became Hellenized and thus adopted many Greek ways of thinking and especially the Greek language. The Greek language had become so dominant among Jews several centuries before the rise of Christianity, in fact, that a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible became necessary, thus giving birth to the Septuagint. The Hellenists of Acts 6 probably formed their own community based on language and cultural practices, although their religion was shared with fellow Jewish converts to Christianity.

The Hebrews, on the other hand, were more traditional Jews who had converted to Christianity. They maintained a stronger link to their Semitic language background and culture, speaking Aramaic, which was closely related to Hebrew. Among early Christians they also may have maintained a somewhat separate community based on shared cultural and linguistic traits. The issue that arose between these two groups was over caring for the poor, specifically the widows among the Hellenist community.

The Hellenists felt their widows were being neglected by the Hebrews, so they took their concerns to the Apostles. The Apostles met with the Hellenist community and explained that with the growth of the Church and the need for their missionary service in new areas, they could not adequately care for the widows alone see Thus a new Church leadership position was instituted that helped the Churchwide work go forward while also addressing the local needs of members.

Characteristics of Growing Churches

There are thus many examples of organizational changes that have allowed the Church to expand globally yet continue to assist members on a more local level. President Harold B.

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Lee cautions that we need modern revelation to fully understand the offices and duties mentioned in the New Testament:. We are able by reading the Bible to identify every priesthood office existing in the restored church of Jesus Christ, but modern revelation, giving us the complete organization, is necessary in order to understand how the organization functioned and the relationship of church officers to each other.

One of the errors into which men, unguided by revelation, have fallen today is to confuse terms used in the Bible describing the duties and nature of various callings in the Church with the proper titles by which priesthood offices were designated. Hence such words as pastor, evangelist, minister, overseer, father of the flock a term applied to bishops and applied in apostate churches with titles which mean father were often used in reference to duties rather than to designate an office of the priesthood.

We can thus see that these duties and functions persist, such as overseeing a congregation or quorum as a pastor shepherd , in the various offices of the priesthood and administrative titles of the Church today. As alluded to above, some recent notable examples of organizational changes include Area Presidencies and Area Seventies as well as some Apostles living abroad in a specific region for an extended period of time. Currently there are eight Quorums of the Seventy to allow better geographic organization and supervision. Members of the third through the eighth quorums do not serve as General Authorities but rather as area supervisors who help train local leaders and assist Area Presidencies, who are mostly General Authorities serving in the First or Second Quorums of the Seventy.

Holland and Dallin H. Oaks recently lived abroad in the Chile and Philippines, respectively, and later Elder L. Tom Perry lived in Europe. Their direct presence allowed greater service to the local membership while maintaining their roles as witnesses of Christ to all the world.

As the early Church began expanding, it brought together many different cultures, which was both a challenge and a blessing. An interesting episode in Acts that highlights the growing diversity of the Church and its converts is the encounter between Philip and an Ethiopian in Acts — Philip was prompted by an angel to go south from Jerusalem to Gaza. While en route he overheard an Ethiopian man, a prominent official of the Ethiopian queen, reading from a key messianic prophecy in Isaiah The Ethiopian did not understand what he was reading, which provided the opportunity for Philip to explain and preach of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

After some teaching and traveling, they came upon a body of water, where the Ethiopian proclaimed his belief and was baptized. This encounter is interesting because here was an Ethiopian, probably a Jewish convert or God-fearer, since he had gone to Jerusalem to worship and was reading from Isaiah, who was baptized by one of the seven leaders chosen to watch over the Jerusalem Hellenist Christian community.

What a potpourri of cultures, languages, and backgrounds! Yet the Spirit brought them together, and presumably the Ethiopian then took his newfound faith with him back to his home region, thereby building a foundation for the Church that would later bring about the conversion of the king and create a Christian kingdom in Ethiopia in the fourth century.

One great example of diverse cultures united under Christ, according to President Marion G. Romney and others, is BYU—Hawaii, which serves as a microcosm of the growing international Church, with the majority of the students coming from over seventy countries studying and worshipping together.

For what can be done here interculturally in a small way is what mankind must do on a large scale if we are ever to have real brotherhood on this earth. Due to the globalization and movement of peoples throughout the world today, the Church has continued to expand among many different cultures, sometimes even among people living away from their homeland where the Church has not been fully organized.

This expansion and blurring of borders has created some interesting results along with problems as some congregations, especially in major cities of the world such as Toronto, London, Paris, New York, and Hong Kong, bring together many different cultures, languages, and backgrounds. Some individuals become pioneers in a very real sense as they take the gospel back to their homelands to introduce the Church on new soil.

Consequently, they form the foundation for the future growth of the Church in that area. Some of the first African converts fulfilled the role of pioneer for the Church in their homelands. There are many pioneers in the Church in Ghana. Some of them were baptized while studying or working outside the country, then returned home to share their newfound truths with family and friends. Monica Ohene-Opare was baptized as an exchange student in New York in She married shortly after returning home and helped convert her husband, Emmanuel. Each of them has since held a variety of Church callings.

Currently, she is president of the Primary in their ward, and he is president of the Accra Ghana Stake. But their most important leadership contributions may have been in family life. Emmanuel was studying medicine in London when LDS missionaries contacted his family. His wife, Benedicta Elizabeth, was healed of illness and depression through a blessing they gave her. In what they taught, Emmanuel found answers to questions that had troubled him for years.

The Kissis were baptized in There are also some cases where members meet in language wards different from their host country so that they can maintain their gospel study and worship in a familiar tongue. Thus to adapt to growing, global dynamics, the Church sometimes encourages mixed congregations, sometimes separate language congregations, and all the while strives to strengthen individual members in areas where the Church is developing so they can build a strong foundation for future growth in those areas.

The chapter opens by recounting a visionary, angelic experience Cornelius received wherein he was told to summon Peter from nearby Joppa see —6. In the vision he was commanded to partake of the animals, but he resisted due to their unclean status see vv. What is the best way to do this, consider the onslaught of busy schedules and individual needs? Linda McGinn Waterman will help Christian women identify their spiritual gifts, talents, and skills, and use them to fulfill their own lives as well as the ministry of the church. She has over twenty years experience creating and directing leadership development programs, designing and developing instruction curriculum, and identifying and instructing trainers of various prominent national ministries.

She resides with her husband in Chester, Maryland. Is your Sunday School program lumbering toward extinction? These action steps can help you turn it into a success. According to leading church growth expert Ken Hemphill, Sunday School is not only worth saving, it has the potential to revitalize your entire church. Revitalizing the Sunday Morning Dinosaur gives you specific, detailed steps on how to lead your congregation in making it happen, including:.

Ken Hemphill is president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a leading authority on church growth. He is the author of The Antioch Effect: Eight Characteristics of a Healthy Church , and numerous other books on building and strengthening churches. In recent years, the Share Jesus without Fear book and its growing family of ancillary products have sparked a faith-sharing movement that continues to gain momentum. It began with the jaw-dropping story of William Fay, once a money-driven businessman with Mafia ties who ran a house of prostitution until it was raided by police.

Facing the threat of jail time, Fay turned to Jesus Christ for redemption and ever since has been turning others to him as well. Share Jesus without Fear relays Fay's passionate, effective instructions on how to share the love of Christ with anyone—without feeling intimidated on either side of the conversation. Bold and joyful, the outreach movement continues without fear. William Fay , prior to coming to Christ in , was the president and CEO of a multimillion dollar corporation, had ties to the Mafia, and owned one of the largest brothels in the United States.

Since his conversion, Bill has left his former lifestyle, graduated from Denver Seminary with a degree in leadership, and has taken up the mantle of an evangelist. He can be heard on his internationally syndicated radio program and on the Christian speaking circuit. Bill and his family live in Englewood, Colorado.

A Biblical Response to the Church-Growth Movement

She was named the Colorado Christian Author of the Year. Linda, her husband, and their two children live in Longmont, Colorado. Heisler thoroughly examines how the Holy Spirit illuminates and empowers the preacher, opens the hearts of the hearers, and applies the message to their lives. Albert Mohler, Jr. Greg Heisler serves as assistant professor of preaching at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and was a senior pastor for eight years at churches in Kentucky and Florida.

Drawing upon their own extensive leadership experience as well as their ministry to leaders in all walks of life, Henry and Richard Blackaby offer insightful counsel into the ways God develops, guides, and empowers spiritual leaders. Clear guidance is given on how leaders can make a positive impact on the people and organizations they are currently leading. Filled with practical, biblical principles, Spiritual Leadership is a book leaders will refer to over and over again as they seek to be the man or woman that God intended for them to be.

Henry T. His Experiencing God study course has sold more than three million copies. The Advancement unapologetically presents the biblical solution as the only satisfactory worldview for modern life in contrast to the naturalistic worldview that dominates thought today. A unique Christian apologetic approaching Darwinian naturalism from a history-of-ideas perspective, Bush argues that progress and advancement are better metaphors to characterize the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century than the term postmodern. The illusion of spiritual progress is now no truer than it was during the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century.

He is also a former president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and a former president of the Evangelical Theological Society. When the future King David was running from Saul, God sent hundreds of thousands of men to help him. All of the men were chosen for battle for a reason. Some for their fighting ability. Others for their expertise with special weapons. And still others were chosen for their character, courage or loyalty. And they were chosen for their insight and foresight—their ability to look beyond the details of day-to-day life, discern the underlying issues, and chart an accurate course into the future.

With it, the future holds the promise of vibrant growth and effective service. Without it, the future leads to stagnation and decline. He is an active seminar leader and consultant on leadership, small groups, evangelism, and assimilation. He is a nationally known seminary leader and an experienced church consultant who has analyzed more than five hundred churches from fifty-two denominations throughout the United States and Canada. The premise of this book is simple: Preachers can improve their preaching significantly by strengthening specific skills used in the preparation of expository sermons.

Twelve Essential Skills for Great Preaching concentrates on twelve tasks that are necessary to the most effective sermon preparation:. Recent seminary graduates and seasoned pastors alike will easily identify skills that need personal improvement, and McDill encourages readers to address those areas at their own pace and in whatever order they feel is best. Every chapter of this new edition is revised and updated; also included are immensely helpful worksheets and real sermon examples.

Trites BSac Apr 88 p.

B&H Church Growth Collection (21 vols.)

The Fact of Church Growth Beyond question church growth was a remarkable feature of first-century Christianity. In this connection it is profitable to BSac Apr 88 p. The second passage is set against the background of idolatry. You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article. admin