How To Grow A Church

Why Conservative Churches Are Growing, by Dean M. Kelley (Harper & Row, 1972, 166 pp., $6.95), America’s Fastest Growing Churches, by Elmer L. Towns (Impact, 1972, 218 pp., $4.95), Church Aflame, by Jerry Falwell and Elmer Towns (Impact, 1971, 191 pp., $4.95), How to Build an Evangelistic Church, by John R. Bisagno (Broadman, 1971, 160 pp., $3.95), You Can Reach People Now, by James E. Coggin and Bernard M. Spooner (Broadman, 1971, 160 pp., $3.95), Hope For Your Church, by Harold L. Fickett, Jr. (Regal, 1972, 159 pp., $3.95), The Kennedy Explosion, by E. Russell Chandler (Cook, 1972, 125 pp., $.95 pb), Full Circle, by David R. Mains (Word, 1971, 217 pp., $4.95), and Body Life, by Ray C. Stedman (Regal, 1972, 149 pp., $.95 pb), are reviewed by John E. Wagner, attorney, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Why are conservative churches growing in America? And what is the key to the extraordinary growth of a number of congregations in different parts of the nation? Not surprisingly, the answer is not simple; this growth is rooted in a variety of factors and techniques.

Dean M. Kelley, a Methodist associated with the National Council of Churches, says conservative churches are growing because they give an authoritative answer to man’s need for meaning in his life, and because they maintain tighter theological control and stricter discipline with regard to belief and behavior. Kelley’s Why Conservative Churches Are Growing is a well documented, statistically grounded, sociological analysis of denominational membership trends. His prognosis is not good for the liberal, ecumenical denominations in America: he thinks the foreseeable future belongs to the conservative evangelicals and the denominations that embody strong commitments. ...

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