Joe Handley




Stories from Joe Handley, president of Asian Access

Day 1 from JCGI Network 2010

Gary McIntosh teaches pastors at JCGI Network's 2010 gathering, with Takeshi Takazawa translating. 

Today at our A2 pastors' gathering in Japan, Dr. Gary McIntosh shared the fascinating history of the Church Growth Movement in the United States. It was quite instructive to hear of it's development, growth and decline as well as the reasons for these factors.

Of particular interest was how the decline of the movement was connected to its being correlated to the ideas of "Marketing the Church" and "Business Principles for the Church." While these two ideas helped the church in many ways, the original purpose of the movement was lost—a keen focus on evangelism and the Great Commission.

Dr. McIntosh shared five principles that have proven true both 30 years ago (from Donald McGavran's findings) when the movement started as well as today. These principles include:

      a) People come to faith in Christ primarily through family and friends.
      b) People will enter into spiritual conversations with people they trust, know and love.

      c) Peoples willingness to listen to the Gospel comes and goes.
      d) We must be involved in peoples lives and wait until God opens the door to share.
      e) We must provide a loving welcome for new people and embrace them into the family.

As Dr. McIntosh further explained, 22% of the U.S. attends an evangelical church and only 1% in Japan from what he's heard. Thus the crucial need is to keep a keen focus on evangelism, "We can't afford to focus on the current church [on just the spiritual growth of those inside the church], we must focus on those who don't know the Gospel!!!"

Gary McIntosh teaches pastors about Church Growth principles at JCGI Network's 2010 gathering.

While it's important to grow in our inner walk with Christ, history shows that it's crucial to keep the church focused outward in order to reach the lost. With such a huge need (only 1% of the population of Japan following Christ) it's essential that evangelism be kept front and central.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this important topic!

More information...

Gary L. McIntosh is President of the Church Growth Network and Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.Dr. Gary L. McIntosh is President of the Church Growth Network and Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. For more information about Gary and the Great Commission Research Network:    




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