Lessons from researching healthy and growing churches
Seeking God's will?
Mission trip fund-raising
10 ways to ruin mission trips
Missions International resources
John Slack drew up a list of 14 lessons he learned from his in-depth research on
congregations of the Southern Baptist Convention. His work illustrates how observations
worthy of consideration can be made by analyzing and refleting on demographics, spreadsheets,
surveys, interviews, and historical studies. Here are his 14 conclusions about local Baptist
- New units grow faster than established churches.
- Aging within a church almost inevitably ushers in a "come-oriented" ministry in
contrast to a "go-centered" ministry.
- Older churches do not start as many new churches as do younger churches.
- Churches and church planting drift upward on the economic scale.
- The longer a church is in a community, the less like that community the church
- Existing, established churches have normal plateau and ministry limits.
- Only as a church effectively expands its
discipleship base will it sustain infinitely reproducible church
growth and church planting.
- More baptisms and greater membership
growth occurs in zones or areas that are farther from the existing church and its come-oriented
- The difference between so-called "responsive" and "non-responsive" people
groups is not in the average number of baptisms per church but in the number of new units --
churches that are being started.
- Churches in resistant cultures tend to begin as or soon become cosmopolitan
rather than community churches. In resistant cultures, community churches have far greater
influence on the culture than do cosmopolitan churches.
- As beginning models of church planting, training, and materials are repeated and
age, they become hallowed -- and almost "unchangeable" -- patterns even when and if they are no
- If a lost person or people group is illiterate and poor, the chance of their being
evangelized decreases proportionately to the heights of their illiteracy and the depths of their
- Training in most theological programs has become more academic than
- To be effective, Bible teaching, including the Sunday School and other forms of
discipleship, must be done in a context that includes intentional evangelism.
SNU missions course materials and syllabi
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