THIN3 Church Growth (Church Planting)
A study of church planting methods with an emphasis on spiritual preparation and skill development.
This course covers skills normally used when planting new congregations. The prerequisite for this course is Formation of Spiritual Disciples (PL103). Students will be strengthened spiritually during this course to enable them to apply the other skills needed for planting churches. Students will gain basic mastery of important issues and skills including: biblical patterns for establishing a congregation, when does a group of people become a church, different ways to start local churches, how to excite (motivate) church members to serve on a team, finding people to make a team, growing prayer partners, defining a target area, making contacts, persons of peace, creating and growing small groups, growing local leaders, and contextual issues for each community. This class will also talk about different ways to work in urban (city) communities, rural communities, and villages.
Starting new local churches is the most effective way of bringing people to know and follow Christ. Church planting is the most integrative of all the activities of a local church. The spiritual formation of a student is a key element in helping people actually establish new congregations. Church planting skills should be built on the foundation of a deep walk with Christ. This course could be taught over several years in conjunction with a local church or district plan for starting churches. Establishing a new congregation from nothing to a fully organized church requires a very broad range of abilities. Normally, this requires a team effort supported both by a coach and an existing local church. Only a few persons have been gifted with the abilities to do this solo, and it is notable that both Jesus and Paul used teams. Thus, most of the necessary skills focus around the building of various teams to support the efforts of establishing a new congregation. At the same time, there is a broad range of outcomes that apply and will be fulfilled in students’ lives as they practically engage in church planting.
Since establishing a new congregation normally takes between 1 year to 4 years, this course is not designed to always accomplish that task, but to introduce students to the wide range of issues and give them beginning practice in those skills. It may be possible for some institutions to partner with a local church or district to help the student over a period of years to establish a new congregation.
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