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Adding Depth to the Ministerial Roster, Part 2

This is an overdue follow-up to a short series on our efforts to train believers in evangelism using Bible storying. Find the first post here. This post details some of the background of the project. One more post is intended to follow.

One recent trend in missions has captured attention by making some fantastic claims. I deliberately try not to be a student of trends, but it is difficult not being impressed by the numbers of some church planting movements in the past few decades. Here is a sample:

“In the 1990s, nearly 1,000 new churches are planted in Orissa [India] with another 1,000 new outreach points. By 2001, a new church was being started every 24 hours…
In 2001 a newly emerging Church Planting Movement [in China] yields 48,000 new believers and 1,700 new churches in one year…
Despite government attempts to eliminate Christianity, a Church Planting Movement in one Southeast Asian country adds more than 50,000 new believers in five years…
A Central Asian Church Planting Movement sees 13,000 Kazakhs come to faith in Christ over a decade and a half.”

Church Planting Movements by David Garrison

Garrison, David. Church Planting Movements. (Kindle Locations 424, 655, 904, 1426). WIGTake Resources.

Whenever statistics appear to be fantastically extraordinary, it is always wise to ask how the data was gathered. In this case, how were these believers and churches counted? I personally don’t find their definitions to be fully satisfying. However, even the most skeptical assessment of these movements must admit that there is an impressive number of self-multiplying groups committed to propagating biblical teaching. That warrants a closer look.

If you did look into it, you would find that these rapidly expanding church planting movements share this in common: laypeople are immediately engaging in the work of evangelism and discipleship. Knowing that the bulk of the ministerial work load among our churches falls to the pastors, this point is particularly interesting to us. How are these movements able to mobilize so many so quickly?

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February 17, 2014   1 Comment