C.A.O. Essien’s conversion and church growth in Eastern Nigeria

Wayne Burger writes about C.A.O. Essien’s conversion and amazing work in Eastern Nigeria in the 20th Century. A wonderful read. Thousands were baptized and many churches established before any Americans arrived.

Wishing to better his English, Essien responded to an ad to learn English that he saw in a magazine. It was an ad from the International Correspondence School in Munich and Anna Marie Braun became his teacher. At the bottom of one of his English lessons, Essien scribbled a note, “Do you know of a Correspondence Course that teaches the Bible?” On the graded return form Braun wrote, “Try the Lawrence Avenue Church of Christ in Nashville, Tennessee.” He wrote for a course and began studying the Bible in this way. During the year he finished the course and had requested another 140 courses to give to others.

Is ‘slow church’ good or bad?

http://www.baptiststandard.com/images/2014/04/slow_church_book350.jpg

The book Slow Church ought to be an interesting read. (See notice of it here.) We’d likely agree with much of it. The mega-church to us appears a creation of something far from Scripture. Jerusalem in the beginning might have been called a mega-church, but it did not long remain so. Even at that, it did not then have the marks of the massive overhead and top-heavy beasts of today.

Having forecast our agreement with the basic idea of the book (I say forecast, since we’ve not read it), the name of slow church doesn’t seem to be a good one. At least one of the authors works with a post-mega-church, after the deflation occurred. One wonders if the book isn’t something of a justification or defense of going from 1000+ to 180 members. Continue reading “Is ‘slow church’ good or bad?”

Theology trumps methodology

church growth methodology

Them’s big words in the title. What it means is this: Much church growth theory and practice revolves around methods. But if we work at being the church of God as revealed in Scripture, methods are icing on the cake.

Larry Miles’s article yesterday on The Fellowship Room, “Five Reasons the Early Church Grew (Acts 4),” reminded me of this truth.

I’m not against methods. To do anything, we have to adopt some sort of methodology. I’ve just proposed to the churches here, who sometimes use no method at all — meaning no work gets done — that we adopt 13 methods in 2013 to win 13 souls (keying off the fame of 12-12-12). Continue reading “Theology trumps methodology”

Gospel in Brazilian cities with greatest GNP

Gospel in Brazil
Goiânia, capital of Goiás state in Brazil

In this list of 20 Brazilian municipalities ranked by GDP, only two do not have, as far as I know, churches of the Lord: #15, Duque de Caixias, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, and #20 Goiânia, capital of the state of Goiás.

I believe that a Brazilian team is preparing for the latter, and we pray they are not taking a false gospel there, since they are being sent by the progressive Great Cities ministry. (UPDATE: That team disbanded. There are no plans, apparently, to evangelize this city.) Continue reading “Gospel in Brazilian cities with greatest GNP”