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Simple Churches in a Complex Culture

As a pastor who has sponsored many new church plants, I am always excited to meet people who want to start new churches. All the research shows that new churches reach new people faster than old churches. The Southern Baptists (who keep immaculate records of this sort of thing) have reported for decades that the baptism-per-member ratio of new churches is five times better than that for existing, older churches. That alone is a good reason for mission-minded, ourtreach-oriented pastors like me to be enthusiastic about helping new churches get started.

Part of the success of new church plants comes from their intentionality in looking for and finding new ways to break into the non-churched culture with the gospel. While the gospel message itself never changes, we way that we “package” it, in other words, the way that we do church, is always changing.

Twelve years ago, when I was sponsoring church plants in Texas, I could outline a mathematical formula for planting a suburban church. You stared with a church planter, added 10 people, and had a core group. A core like this would produce $60 per person per month– you could count on it. For worship space, you needed fifteen square feet per person and for Sunday School classes for kids; you needed thirty five square feet. A rule of thumb for small church budgets is that one-half of the offerings can go to personnel, while a third to facility and rest is applied to program expense or invested in missions. With these parameters, the math is not difficult to do.

When the group reached 100 people, they would have $6,000 per month income. This presupposes a “middle class” congregation of mostly regular people. We did some plants among special ethnic groups, like the Cambodian refugees in our zip code, and obviously, the giving ratios were less among that group.

By typically, a group of 100 people could easily fund a pastor with half of their offerings. Another third would rent 3,600 square feet in a storefront shopping center (at six dollars per foot per year). By the time the new church reached 200 in attendance, they had the wherewithal to fund their part of buying land and constructing a new building. About $300,000 would erect a first-unit building complete with a gravel parking lot that could be paved when you got around to it. Texas Baptists built a lot of churches that followed this formula in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Fast-forward to where I serve today, Denver, Colorado, in year 2009, and you can forget all the formulas presented above! The old template just won’t work. Grow a new church to 100 and they will barely be able to afford rent in another church, let alone a storefront. Storefronts can run $3,000 to $6,000 for basic space. Giving-per-person ratios might be higher, say $80 per average attender per month, but with 70 people the rent could consume their entire budget. Yikes.

Grow a church to 200, even with $16,000 per month in offerings, and they are not going to build anything in today’s hostile-to-church-building climate. Property and building costs on the edge of Denver, for a new “first unit church facility,” would be closer to $3 million than they are to $300,000. No way a church of 200 is going to build brand new building, without a great deal of outside assistance.

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Whatever Happened to Church Discipline?

Church discipline has never been popular. It has also been abused. We have had people burned at the stake for not believing the dogma of the church or for owning a Bible. Also, in our own nation we have had witches put to death. These are abuses of “church” discipline. This is not the kind of church discipline that is becoming to a Christian church.

It cannot be motivated by a get-even spirit. It must be done in such a way as to bring unity to the church and blessing to everyone that is affected by it. It must be administered by the whole church. The pastor and church board should be coordinating it for the whole church. It should be done in a spirit of love and forgiveness. It should not be done without proper preparation. This should include prayer and fasting for the situation to be resolved in a godly manner.

The offender should be treated as if nothing ever happened. If the offender goes back to his or her old ways and comes back, he or she should be placed on probation before being allowed to be a full member. No offender should be allowed to have a leadership position in the church until he or she proves his or her repentance and restitution were in good faith.

Perhaps this can be better understood if we understand the reason for church discipline. The reason for church discipline is so it will be a godly witness in the world. The church is not a social club like the YMCA or YWCA. The church is the “pillar and ground of the truth.” Jesus tells us, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life.”

The church is in a mess because we have not administered proper discipline to its membership. Without proper “pruning” the church will continue to bring forth “poisoned fruit.” It will continue to be a disgrace to all that is good and godly in this world. In an hour when the message of the church is needed so badly, the church is powerless to bring redemption to our sin-sick world.

There is hope on the horizon. The way the church will “clean up its act” is to have a Holy Spirit-inspired revival. There is a movement of God for a revival. People are following the 2nd Chronicles 7:14 Scripture’s call to repentance all over our land. If the church has a revival, God will hear our prayers, forgive our sins and heal our land. This will enable the church to have power and authority to carry out its mission of love and grace to the ends of the earth.

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Tradition, Religion Of Christian Churches

the Christian religion, people use to go for prayers in Christian church. Christian church are the worldwide traditions which represents the Christian faiths, preaches, worship, religion and saying of the god Jesus Christ. Christian church can be seen world wide and finds to be world wide spread religion. The followers of Christianity find a church through online church directory or any other church directory and make their prayers valuable.

Christianity is spread world wide by the followers by preaching to the people regarding the religion, faith and saying of the god and also regarding the lord Jesus Christ. Christian churches can be classified as Catholic Church, Baptist church and Pentecostal church which comes up with different Christian church history church growth.

Christian church expresses the ideas of different people and makes those ideas as shared one. They also share the faith, religion, saying with regards to the prayers and also bind with Christianity. Christian church comes up with wide church history and at also regarding its origin. Christian church finds its origin in roman and after realizing the value it has been spread world over.

Roman Catholic Church, Apostolic church, Lutheran church, charlotte church, Episcopal Church, Florida church, US church, Washington church and many other kinds of Christian church are available for people to have their prayers and services.Nowadays, large number of people started realizing the purpose and need of the religion Christianity and started going for different churches placed in different places and states.

There are local churches available to facilitate the people with their prayers. Though Christian churches are classified as Baptist church, Pentecostal church and Catholic Church, they form under Christian churches. Generally, most of the people provide services to create broad Christian services and to have best resources for finding the local church or foreign churches located in different places of world.

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Principles Of Church Growth In The Early Church

The African Church is dismissed as a mile wide and an inch deep which implies that other parameters other than numbers account for church growth. Church growth could also be seen as an application of Biblical, anthropological, and sociological principles to congregations, denominations and their communities in an effort to disciple the greatest number of people for Jesus Christ.

The church planter and the laity share a common vision for what God wants that church to accomplish. In most cases, the church planter and the people can clearly describe and articulate their vision. This gives the people a sense of direction. They are moving toward an objective. They are not merely existing.

The church planter must truly desire growth for the church and must be willing to pay the price in hard work. The leadership must lead the work to organize the mission, set goals, develop plans, and mobilize the people to accomplishment. S/he must be creative, innovative, and assertive with regard to the vision and mission God has for His work.

The people of the work must be equipped to discover and use their gifts. They must be ready to assume new responsibilities and willingly hand over various leadership positions to other new people as the church continues to grow or expand.

This could be stated as the principle of assimilation. Perhaps the most important aspect of this principle is that the church must be structured in a way that develops an organizational base for growth. The larger the base, the greater the possibilities for growth. Life development groups provide a critical function that facilitates a church’s growth e.g. Sunday School groups, Youth Fellowship, Ministries (Men, Women, Youth, Children) etc.

Paul and Barnabas left the indigenous churches with leadership that would provide the direction after the apostles departed. Though the forms of church government vary in the New Testament, they appointed elders to continue their leadership roles. The elders were within the church (“in each church” Acts 14:23) completing the indigenization process.

The mission of the church is to win souls. Therefore, evangelism is not treated as a single principle since that is the primary mission of the church. The related concept of ‘follow” is crucial for young Christians. According to Acts 15:36, “some days after, Paul said unto Barnabbas, let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.” Follow-up could be regarded as a motherly instinct

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Administering the Local Church Through Organization

The movement towards “Monepiscopacy” gathered momentum so rapidly that by the end of the second century it was the standard pattern of church government throughout Christendom. That is to say, each congregation was governed by a bishop, a body of presbyters, and a board of deacons. In the latter part of the third century, a development began whereby the bishop of the Chief City in any province tended to become principal bishop of that province.

The bishop of Constantinople derived importance from the fact that his city was the capital of the Roman Empire, the only such capital city after the downfall of the Roman Empire in the West in AD 476. During this time, Rome was important from the Christian point of view, the reason being that it was the only church in the West of undoubted apostolic origin, because it was associated with Peter and Paul, and because its bishops were usually found in theological dispute on the side which finally won acceptance as orthodox.

Rivalry later developed between the Patriach of Rome and that of Constantinople. This tension between the Eastern Church (Constantinople) and the Western Church (Rome) ended in a great schism in 1054.8 After this final separation between the East and West, the Roman bishop was able to make good use of his supremacy over the churches of Western Christendom.

First, the congregation or the independent government. In this pattern of government, each local church was autonomous in the sense that it governed its own affairs, for instance, calling and dismissing its Ministers, regulating its own finances and disciplining its members without any outside interference.

This type of church government is that controlled by elders. This church government recognizes two types of elders, preaching and ruling. These meet to form the session of the church – that is, the body transacting the business of the church, even to the admission and dismissal of members. This type of government was started by John Calvin in Geneva where he was the chief Minister from 1541-1564.11

Church organization is necessary in that it conforms to the nature of God. God Himself is orderly. He is a God of organization. Nature itself gives proof of how organized God is. The heavens are wonderfully fashioned. The Old Testament record reveals how carefully God organized Israel for her sojourn in the wilderness. The New Testament shows how Jesus went systematically about his task.

The local church organizes in order to meet the needs of its own people through outreach. One of the local churches is the Regent Road Baptist Church in Freetown. It trains its own leaders and send them out for evangelism. Presently the church has two preaching stations and three home-cell groups

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The Seven Churches of The Book of Revelation

When one reads chapter two and three in the last book of the Bible (Revelation), many questions may arise as to why God choose the seven churches and in the order He addressed them through His servant John to write. Young Christians normally attempt to spiritualize the letters to the seven churches as they retrace History with total confusion. Many young and even mature Christians are unaware that the “seven churches” were literal historical churches in Asia.

The churches commanded for John to write to were actual well known churches in his day. Their unique selection show us as Believers many things. For starters, these churches represent types and conditions of all church generations to come. This fact can be supported based on several conditions. First, there were numerous churches in the area in which were not selected and written to. The fact the Spirit was speaking to these churches is another factor of the panoramic view that these “seven churches” shows us today of Church History and the existing periods.

In this paper I plan to show the comparison of each church letter, of each church listed, to match into the church vision for which it was named. All throughout scripture names are of much importance. In Gods’ plan if one’s name no longer fit his journey, God renamed him as in Abram to Abraham. Abram means “exalted father” but Abraham means ” father of a multitude”. God knew Abraham would represent more than just *an* exalted father of history but that he would become *the* Father of History. The purpose of this illustration is to show what is in a name is of utmost importance when it comes to scripture.

Before looking at the period in which it represents I feel first one should look at the Church itself. Esphesus was the fourth largest city in the empire when Paul visited the city and taught the people of Christ. It was connected by highways to all the important trade routes. Even The Roman Governor resided in this city as it was ideally located for sea harbor. The city’s temple served Asia as a Bank. The wealth of this city showed in the attraction of tourist visiting the legendary temple.

 The problem however in this city was even though it met the needs in both profit and pride of the people, it failed in the deliverance of the deepest needs of the population. The city was filled with both sorcery and witchcraft. Paul journeyed and visited the city and taught the people the true meaning of the relationship and the church as an living organism. This was a major start and beginning of the Early Church looked at as a real and living Church Body. Their love grew for God as did the Church, while Institutional Religion became a great success in Esphesus.