Church-growth experts have made it a point in recent years to pay special attention to Pentecostal and charismatic churches. And for good reason. Recent studies show that the majority of new churches established in the 1980s that have grown to at least a thousand within two years, are almost exclusively Pentecostal or charismatic. The answer to the question Why?, then, is an intriguing one, and one many non-Pentecostal groups are curious about.
The following growth factors can be seen as important for Pentecostal and charismatic local church growth:
- Conservative evangelical theology is unquestioned. There is no debate on biblical authority or the priority of saving lost souls from hell.
- Strong pastoral leadership is encouraged. The pastors exercise extraordinary authority, they have unbounded optimism and vision, and they model radical obedience to the lordship of Jesus Christ.
- Prayer is a significant, explicit, up-front component of the church’s philosophy of ministry. Instead of affirming prayer simply in theory, the new independent charismatic churches in particular have discovered how to organize the congregation’s prayer life, enlist believers’ participation, and experience and share exciting, tangible answers to prayer.
- Openness to the person and work of the Holy Spirit is maintained at all times. Heightened spirituality through the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the release of all spiritual gifts, but especially healings, tongues, deliverance, and prophecy, draw believers close to God as he manifests his power in their midst.
- Abundant financial support is readily available. Money is rarely a problem since the believers are excited about their church and are consequently highly motivated to give. Tithing is the norm, even among the poor.
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