Gary McIntosh: Recognize the founder of the church growth movement never led, planted, or pastored a church bigger than a hundred himself.
Karl Vaters: Hi, I'm Karl Vaters. Welcome to, Can This Work in a Small Church? My guest today is Dr. Gary McIntosh. He's the author of 26 books and counting, including the recent “Donald A. McGavran, A Biography of the Twentieth Century’s Premier Missiologist.”
That in fact will be the topic of our conversation today. We'll talk about McGavran and his role as the pioneer of the church growth movement. Now, hang on there, don't let that stop you from listening. I know for a lot of small church leaders, including me, just the mention of the words, church growth, is enough to have us running, screaming for the hills because we've been burned so many times by things that have come under that title.
That's why I had Dr. McIntosh on today. He is the premier authority on the origins of the church growth movement. And he lets us know that the origins of church growth are very different than what most of us have been taught. Stick around, hear this. You're going to be encouraged, you're going to be blessed, and you're going to leave with a different understanding about this than you might've had before you started. And stick around until the end. I'll come back with a summary of the content and an answer to the question, Can This Work in a Small Church?
First of all, thank you so much for agreeing to be with us on the podcast today. Really, really appreciate your time.
Gary McIntosh: Glad to be here with you to talk a little bit.
Karl Vaters: I’ve heard of your name for so many years because of your astonishingly prolific writing. I don't know how many books you have authored or co-authored. I don't even know if you know. But it seems like there are so, so many of them. And then you and I were guests on a podcast several years ago, I think it was the Sin Boldly podcast with Evan McClanahan, and I so appreciated your take on how our current understanding of church growth is very different than what it was originally intended to be. And I've actually quoted you a couple of times based on that, but I didn't have a podcast at the time, so I just kinda let it go otherwise. And then recently I ran across your biography of Donald McGavran and it really helped me to reframe my understanding of the church growth movement, especially the genesis of the church growth movement in some really important ways, and in ways that I believe will really help other small church leaders. So could you begin by letting us - who was Donald McGavran, for some who maybe have never even heard the name before, although I'm sure most of us have. And why is he so important that you took the time to write his biography?