Last Saturday, while Kelley and I were in Los Angeles, I was able to meet one of my Church Growth Heroes – Charles (Chip) Arn of Church Growth, Inc. He and his wife Ann were gracious enough to share dinner with me and Kelley at Kate Mantinlini’s in Beverly Hills (yep, we were living it up!).
Win Arn, Charles’ father, was one of the founders of the Church Growth Movement in America and he has greatly influenced my thinking about church. I’ve read everything from Win and Charles that I can find and I always discover something helpful.
Here’s some of my favorite books:
- The Masters Plan for Making Disciple by Win and Charles Arn
- How to Start a New Service by Charles Arn
- How to Grow a Church by Donald A. McGavran and Win Arn
(you’ll have to find it used, its out of print)
Part of our conversation was how ‘church growth’ is a watered down phrase and is often derided term in many circles today.
Chip responded that one of the reasons Donald McGavran (the founder of the Church Growth Movement) and his father, Win, went with the term ‘church growth’ in their initial writings (over 40 years ago) was that ‘evangelism’ had become such a watered down term in many circles.
I always suspected that Rick Warren chose the term ‘church health’ in his book The Purpose Driven Church, because ‘church growth’ had become such a watered down term.
So what term should we use? I still prefer to use ‘church growth’ and ‘evangelism’ but I’m always open to the term that best communicates to today’s leaders (as long as it retains the heart of reaching and disciplining people in the most biblical and effective way possible).
Chip, thanks for the time over dinner!
P.S. For today only, in honor of Chip Arn, I’m going to give away a copy of my “Starting A Second Service” resource – use the Ask Nelson button on the right to request your free copy (I’ll send you the details by reply email). This offer is only good on April 29, 2008. After that, you can pick it up here
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