Article: “Beyond Church Growth: Kingdom Expansion”

Below is a link to an article written in 2006 by Ken Hemphill. It discusses the positive and negative aspects of the Church Growth Movement. I find the list quite accurate and seems to be as relevant today as it was when it was written. The Church Growth Movement started as a Missiological activity by Missiologist Donald MacGavran. As such, much of the problems with the movement as it exists today (such as focus on style over substance, and methods that promote transfer growth over evangelism or ‘kingdom growth’) are quite alien to the original idea. However, some of the problems were there from the start, with the seeds of pragmatism and (perhaps) overreliance on statistics being among them. From my perspective, perhaps its biggest problem— and this cannot be blamed on MacGavran— is the impression often promoted that church growth is about knowing little tricks for formats that if they work in one place, must work in other places.

Anyway, feel free to read the article below:

http://www.sbclife.net/article/1336/beyond-church-growth-kingdom-expansion

“Bonsai Church” Quote

“The growth of the church is both natural and supernatural. The church was designed by God to grow naturally, but all church growth is a supernatural miracle. In truth, the church will experience growth if we remove artificial and often selfish barriers we have used to keep our church artificially small– to keep it a bonsai church.

… The bonsai church may be cute, but it’s not practical. It is ornamental rather than fruit-bearing. It is a distortion of God’s original plan.”

       -Ken Hemphill, “Bonsai Theory of Church. Grow Your Church to Its Natural God-Given Size.”, pp. 106-107.

55 year old Sequoia sempervirens (California R...
55 year old Sequoia sempervirens (California Redwood or Coast Redwood) “Informal Upright” style bonsai tree from Brooklyn Botanic Garden, in New York City. Copyright 2007 Jeffrey O. Gustafson, released to Commons under the GFDL and CC-BY-SA-3.0. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)