Five Lessons from Donald McGavran that I’ve Learned and Applied – Part 2

imgresMany church leaders don’t know the founder of the modern church growth movement, Donald McGavran, and what we can apply from his teaching to our own ministry.

In honor of McGavran’s birthday this past Tuesday, I shared the first three of five motivational Donald McGavran quotes that have impacted what we do at The Journey. Today I’m sharing the other two quotes and I hope they will challenge you to reclaim these biblical initiatives and apply them to your church as well.

4. Focused Efforts, But Where? “The homogeneous unit principle was born in McGavran’s mind out of the Indian system of caste. He experienced castes coming to faith in Christ and still remaining a separated group. This led him to say that people “like to become Christians without crossing racial, linguistic or class barriers.” – Donald McGavran

How do you reach a city like New York? Hold a service, see who shows up and make that your target! Our church from the beginning has been very multicultural. We prayed that we could look like our city, and now we’ve been called one of the most multicultural churches in America.

For your community, ask yourself, “Who are we currently reaching, and how can we reach more people like them? Where can you focus your limited resources?

5. Great Commission Focus. “These good deeds must, of course, be done, and Christians will do them. I myself was doing many of them. But they must never replace the essential task of mission, discipling the peoples of Earth.” –Donald McGavran

McGavran was great at restoring our focus on the Great Commission. He felt like churches were focused on good deeds, but not on going a step beyond and developing disciples.
As you and I do the work God has called us to, we must keep a relentless, laser-like, uncompromising focus on the Great Commission. For example, when we do a servant evangelism project, we’re doing this in the name of Jesus – focused on reaching the unchurched.

Every decision we make should be filtered through the lens of Jesus’ words.

McGavran-graphicsYour partner in ministry,


P.S. – For an in-depth look into the life and work of Donald McGavran, pick up Dr. Gary Mcintosh’s latest work Donald A. McGavran: A Biography of the Twentieth Century’s Premier Missiologist.

Join Dr. McIntosh on a discovery of McGavran’s life and work; no other person so impacted the growth of the church in North America and around the world. When it comes to applicable truths concerning the growth of the Christian church, McGavran’s story reveals critical insights that many in ministry today have been missing for far too long.

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church growth strategist, pastor, church planter and coach, consulting with churches around the world. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has personally trained more than 3,500 church leaders in over 45 denominations through live events, seminars and monthly coaching. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in Boca Raton, FL. Nelson and his church routinely appear on lists such as “The 50 Most Influential Churches” and “The 25 Most Innovative Leaders.” He is the author of over 100 church growth resources and 18+ books, including The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life, Ministry and The Difference Maker: Using Your Everyday Life for Eternal Impact, and At the Cross with the People Who Were There. He and his wife, Kelley, have one son, Alexander.

Nelson SearcyChurch Growth, Ministry

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