Growing a church : a manual for establishing self-supporting congregations with a reformed perspective
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This manual is written for pastors who are in new church starts, field secretaries, classes 'Church Planning and Development committees, and denominational staff who are in supportive roles for new church development. It is written from the perspective of the Reformed Church in America but much of the material contains principles which are transferable to a variety of denominations. The manual is composed of eight chapters, a bibliography, and extensive appendix.
Chapter One contains the biblical and theological basis for beginning new congregations. It contains a section on the Old Testament roots of the Church, the nature of the Church, the relationship between the Kingdom of God and the Church, and the relationship between growth and the Church.
Chapter Two is an historical overview of Reformed thought and practice regarding new church development. This chapter begins with a look at the Reformation thought in relationship to new church development. The chapter continues with the beginnings in the new world in the 1600's, the second immigration during the late 1800's and early 1900's, and concludes with a section on the current diversity of thought and practice.
Chapter Three focuses upon the structures needed to support, select, and supervise new fields. It contains sections on the networks needed, developing adequate financial resources for new church planting, supervising and supporting new churches, and developing teams to grow healthy congregations.
Chapter Four examines the necessary procedures to select and support pastors for new church development. It is designed to assist those calling new church development pastors to prepare to call a pastor, know what to look for in a new church pastor, provide for pastors orientation, and provide ongoing support, training, and supervision.
Chapter Five outlines the basic issues and tasks in the first of four stages of development. It has sections on getting the family established, locating the office and securing necessary equipment, establishing and maintaining a system for informational and financial records, gathering a working knowledge of the context of the church planting area, developing an initial plan of ministry and a budget, gathering a group to serve as a steering committee, selecting a name for the church, announcing the congregation to the community, developing a list of potential congregants, selecting a worship location, planning for initiating worship, developing a philosophy of ministry, and readying advertising for worship.
Chapter Six outlines the basic issues and tasks in the second of four stages o f development. It contains sections on the significance of the initial worship service, organizing the congregation for ministry and mission, establishing opportunities for spiritual growth, equipping for outreach and evangelism, beginning a program of stewardship education, preparing documents for organization, determining when to organize, and preparing for organization.
Chapter Seven out lines the basic issues and tasks in the third of four stages of development. It contains information regarding the organizational event, selecting elders and deacons, calling and installing a pastor, establishing a site and site development fund, locating a site for the building, initiating the building program, securing the finances for the building program, groundbreaking, and the construction phase.
Chapter Eight outlines the fourth stage of development and its tasks. It contains information on the dedication of the facilities, the steward ship of the property, moving from explorers to homesteaders, attitudes and actions which promote growth, leadership for a growing church, developing financial interdependence, and growing maturity in ministry.
The Appendix contains samples of a Reformed philosophy of ministry, funding application, advertising for a new congregation, an organizational chart, ministry group descriptions, leadership training suggestions, budget proposal, processes for selecting architects, builders, and other consultants, capital fund raising, and loan application forms and requirements.