Church-growth thinking is paying off around the world. In country after country it brings hope and effectiveness to those who use it. It introduces new methods, opens up new fields. As they swing into growth thinking, churches in the third world are declaring dividends. They find it profitable.
Can church-growth insights be applied to the American scene? An increasing number of leaders in this country think it can. The articles that follow are presented in the hope that the denominations taking part in Key 73 will apply church-growth thinking to the largest and best-planned evangelistic program ever conducted on this continent. As 200,000 congregations from 150 denominations surge forward in “a coordinated campaign aimed at confronting every person in North America more fully and forcefully with the Gospel of Jesus,” they too will profit by using church-growth thinking. Key 73’s Congregational Resource Book glitters with good ideas. We add church-growth thinking to the other Key ingredients with a prayer that the whole may be blessed by God to bring substantial growth of sound Christian churches.
In the summer issue of United Evangelical Action, Bruce Shelley proclaimed in bold, black letters, “The acid test of evangelism is never numbers of decisions but growth of churches.” He was doing good church-growth thinking. Key 73 must pass that test. The dividends declared a year from now should appear in the form of lasting growth of churches. At the beginning of this fateful year, let us be clear that the goal of Key 73 is that every person in the United States and Canada have a real chance to say “yes” to Jesus Christ and become a dependable member of his Church.
What Is Church-Growth Thinking?
As Methodists, Baptists, Churches ...1
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