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Understanding Church Growth Hardcover – 1970


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: William B. Eerdman's; Presumed 1st as edition not stated edition (1970)
  • ASIN: B000GJS872
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,148,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. T. Gregory on November 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
This revised edition is the place to get both the broadest and deepest exposure to the thinking of one of the twentieth century's most important missiologists. It is better than the first edition in applying the theses developed in India and elsewhere to the North American situation. It is better than the third edition, revised and edited by his student C. Peter Wagner, in conveying McGavran's passion.
Although the book includes biblical and theological research and reflection, case studies from contemporary missions on many continents, and illustrations from little-known periods of older church history, much is presented with the passion of a good sermon or courtroom argument.
The major thesis is that "missions" or "evangelism" must be seen as the task of persuading people to become committed followers of Jesus Christ and responsible members of local churches. The secondary thesis is that this can be accomplished only by understanding the receiver of the Christian message as well as the message itself. On the basis of these convictions, he argues the legitamacy and importance of keeping thorough and accurate records, of asking hard questions in statistical and case study research, and using the insights of the social sciences in developing mission strategy.
Persons who view the Church Growth Movement as obsessed with numbers, marketing, megachurches, or merely the despised (and usually misunderstood and misquoted)"Homogeneous Unit Principle" would do well to go the primary document of the movement which takes its name from his groundbreaking studies and teaching.
There are things to argue with here, and plenty have done so, both with and without actually reading what he said. But there is so much to learn--and do. Anyone serious about evangelistic strategy should become familiar with the concepts McGavran introduced or illuminated.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Terry W. Dorsett on November 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
Many church growth books promote short lived fads that may produce some quick but typically not long lasting results. This book has stood the test of time for giving practical concepts that churches can use to grow. When you tired of all the fads, come back to this classis and learn what you need to grow the church you lead.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Clayton S. Thompson on August 24, 2014
Format: Paperback
I first read this book while attending Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas in 1972, only two years after it was published. In our Spiritual Foundations for Missions class, we were told that we would be responsible for every word and concept in the book when it came to finals. So I devoured the book. It had some impact on me, but not perhaps the one my missions prof would have expected. The book defined the church in unbiblical terms and asked that we look at the church in terms of what it might do rather than in terms of what it should be. As with many in the American church today, whether in the old line protestant churches, evangelical or catholic churches, the focus was on expansion, referring to Christ as the author of our faith but not someone with whom we actually have a relationship with. Oh we used the term "relationship" as a part of our advertising, but never get around to showing people how to have that relationship on a day by day basis. As I read and then reread this book I saw the image of a church that did not require a God, except as people prayed the Sinner's prayer. The vast majority of the church today, unfortunately, live in world where He simply is not an essential part of the life of the church. Because of this, I cannot endorse this book. I do understand that this book is regarded as a classic, that it is the standard that judges me and I willingly accept anyone's criticism of me. But I also believe that we look at this book through the lens of Scripture and not at our Churches through the lens of the this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I will be brief. The part I would tend to disagree with it the idea of a sword in one hand and a Bible in the other and calling it evangelism. It may be said that this is just the way the gospel spread, but one has to wonder if the gospel really was spread or just got diluted by bringing in all of the paganism from false religions and calling them Christian.
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