A Survey of Church Growth Methods Used by Christian Churches

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A Survey of Church Growth Methods Used by Christian Churches

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LIBERTY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
A SURVEY OF CHURCH GROWTH METHODS USED BY CHRISTIAN CHURCHES
IN THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES
A Thesis Project Submitted to Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree DOCTOR OF MINISTRY
By
E. Arlin Bolejack
LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA May 1,1994

LIBERTY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY THESIS PROJECT APPROVAL SHEET
GRADE
~~ .. ~ EADER<:::::?

ABSTRACT
A SURVEY OF CHURCH GROWTH METHODS USED BY CHRISTIAN CHURCHES IN THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES E. Arlin Bolejack Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, 1994 Mentor: Dr. James A. Freerksen
The development, distribution, reception and interpretation of a survey sent to selected Christian Churches/Churches of Christ in eight of the southeastern United States. The survey's purpose was to discover the church growth methods and philosophies used by these churches where the migration of the population from the northern states has increased the population in their areas. The survey was sent to churches that displayed at least a ten percent membership increase between 1985 and 1992. The data was reviewed to determine what these churches were doing and conclusions made on effective church growth methods.
Abstract length: 95 words.

To my father Evan A. Bolejack, who taught me what the love of a father
is in the Kingdom of God.
To my mother Margaret Elizabeth Westmoreland Bolejack, who taught me tenderness
and grace through love in a Christian home.
To my wife Trudith Kaye McKnight Bolejack, who continues to teach me the depth
of love and the encouraging power bestowed upon those who are loved.

VITA E. Arlin Bolejack

PERSONAL Born: Married: Children:

November 27, 1944 Trudith Kaye McKnight ................... June 24, 1966 Chari Lyn, born ......................... May 24, 1969 Kevan Arlin, born ...................... August 23, 1971 Peter David, born ....................... July 24, 1976

EDUCATION B.S . . . . . . M.A. .... . M.M..... . M.Div.... .

Cincinnati Bible College, ........................ Cincinnati Bible Seminary, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Cincinnati Bible Seminary, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Cincinnati Bible Seminary, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..

1972 1988 1989 1991

MINISTERIAL Ordained: Brownstown Christian Church, Brownstown, Indiana .......... April 20, 1967
Ministries: Norman Church of Christ ...................... Norman, IN, 1965-1968 Medway Church of Christ ... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. Medway, OH, 1968-1972 King Church of Christ, ......................... King, NC, 1972-1977 Fairfax Christian Church, ................... Indianapolis, IN, 1977-1980 Okalona Christian Church, ................... Louisville, KY, 1980-1983 First Christian Church, ...................... Leesburg, FL, 1983-1989 Northside Christian Church, ......................... Cape Coral, FL,
1990 - present

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter 1

INTRODUCTION

Page 1

Project Objective .................. . . . . . . . . . . . .. 1 Rationale ..................................... 2 Background .................................... 3 Restoration Movement Churches .................... 5 Statement of Procedure ........................ " 6

RESEARCH QUESTION

10

DEFINITIONS OF SPECIAL TERMINOLOGY ................ 11

Christian Churches/Churches of Christ. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 11 New Birth Experience .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 12 Autonomous church government ..................... 13 Church Growth .................................. 13 Evangelistic calling/Shepherding calling ................ 14 Growing churches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 15 Directory of Ministry of Christian Churches . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 15 Preacher/Minister/Pastor ......................... " 16 Population Migration .............................. 16

STATEMENT OF LIMITATIONS .......................... 17

Chapter 2
BIBLICAL AND THEOLOGICAL BASIS FOR THE PROJECT ............................ Page 19
Sin and its Effect ................................ 20 Justification ................................... 21 Church Growth Mandate .......................... 23 Examples in Scriptu re . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Chapter 3
METHODOLOGY ............................... Page 28 Survey Basics ................................. 29 1. Ministry staff and longevity ........................... 30

2. Property and location of the church's buildings ................. 32
3. Congregational growth statistics ........................... 33
4. Church's financial planning and structure ........................ 34
5. Number and style of worship services and Bible studies .............. 38
6. Strategy and philosophy of church growth ..................... 38
7. Style and personality of services conducted ................... 41
8. Preaching style and attitude held by the Pastor .................... 44
9. Goveming and administration style of the local church ................ 48
Chapter 4
U.S. 1990 CENSUS AND .......................... Page 54 DEMOGRAPHIC DATA
Population changes of Eastern states - 1980-1985 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Population changes of Mid-western states - 1980-1985 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Population changes of Eastern states - 1986-1990 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 55
Population changes of Mid-western states - 1986-1990 ............................. 56
Eastern states migration graph ..................... 57
Midwestern states migration graph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 58
Population changes of Southeastern states - 1980-1985 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 59
Population changes of Southeastern states - 1986-1990 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 59
Southeastern states migration graph ................. 60
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Demographic age breakdown graphs

Florida ................................. 62 Georgia ................................ 63 Kentucky ................................ 64 North Carolina ............................ 65 South Carolina ............................ 66 Tennessee .............................. 67 Virginia ................................. 68 West Virginia ............................. 69

Chapter 5

SURVEY DATA RESULTS ............................. 71

Ministry ................................ 72 Property and Location ...................... 75 Congregational Growth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 78 Finances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 82 Program ................................ 86 Strategy of Outreach ....................... 86 Style and Personality ....................... 94 Preachers's Style and Purpose ................ 98 Governing and Administration ................ 102

Chapter 6

SUMMATION

107

Summations Ministry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 107 Property and Location ..................... 108 Financial ............................... 110 Programs .... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 111 Strategy of Outreach ....................... 113 Style and Personality ...................... 114 Preaching Style .......................... 115 Governing Styles ......................... 116

Chapter 7

CONCLUSIONS .................................... 118

BI BLiOG RAPHY .................................... 136

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TABLE OF GRAPHS
Demographics
Eastern States Migration (1980-1985) ................ 54 Eastern States Migration (1986-1990) ................. 55 Midwest States Migration (1980-1985) ................ 55 Midwest States Migration (1986-1990) ................. 56 Net Migration to Survey States ...................... 59 Florida Age Distribution ........................... 62 Georgia Age Distribution .......................... 63 Kentucky Age Distribution ......................... 64 North Carolina Age Distribution ..................... 65 South Carolina Age Distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 66 Tennessee Age Distribution ......................... 67 Virginia Age Distribution ........................... 68 West Virginia Age Distribution ...................... 69

Survey Data

Graph

I
II III
IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII XIII XIV XV XVI XVII XVIII XIX XX XXI XXII XXIII

Staff Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 73 Length in Ministry ..................... 74 Educational Level ..................... 75 Size of Community .................... 76 City Type .......................... 77 Space Usage ........................ 78 Growth Percentages ................... 80 Church Growth Ratio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 81 Financial Preparation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 83 Budget Approval ...................... 84 Final Budget Approval .......... . . . . . . .. 84 Budget Percentages ................... 85 Multiple Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 86 Identical Services ..................... 86 Bible School classes ................... 87 Evangelistic Calling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 88 Demographic Studies .................. 89 Median Age ......................... 89 Plans for expansion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 90 Staff's planning for growth ............... 90 Socio-economic categories .............. 91 Target Groups ........................ 92 Types of Methods ..................... 93 Types of Methods (part 2) ............... 94

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XXIV XXV XXVI XXVII XXVIII XXIX XXX XXXI XXXII XXXIII XXXIV XXXV XXXVI XXXVII XXXVIII XXXIX XL XLI XLII XLIII XLIV XLV XLVI XLVII XLVIII

(Graph Continued)
Styles of Worship ..................... 95 Singing Styles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 96 Types of Instruments .................. 96 Length of Services .................... 97 Invitation offered ..................... 97 Baptisms in the services ................ 97 Preaching Styles ...................... 98 Time in Preparation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 99 Type of Preaching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 100 Administration time ................... 101 Personal Visitation ................... 102 Governing Style ..................... 103 Revision Plans ...................... 103 Pastor's voting ...................... 104 Deacon's voting ..................... 104 Delegation process ................... 104 Church programs and budget. . . . . . . . . . .. 104 Staff assignments .................... 105 Evangelistic program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 105 New Membership Development .......... 105 Accountability ....................... 105 Staff Expectations ................... 106 On the job Training .................. 106 New England Church Numbers .......... 119 Midwestern Church Numbers . . . . . . . . . . .. 120

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SurveySeminaryChurch Growth MethodsChristChurches