The Local Congregation Puts It Together

The Local Congregation Puts It Together
By George G. Hunter III

A local church may enjoy growth for a while without sophisticated organizing and planning if something contagious is spontaneously occurring in its ministry or outreach. But effective year-by-year outreach and growth will take place only through a congregation organized for programmatic outreach.

It does matter how the evangelizing congregation is organized and deployed. The criteria for effectiveness include at least the following three: (1) All of the essential tasks in the total outreach enterprise must be defined. (2) The members must be matched, according to their perceived gifts, to the appropriate tasks. (3) The ministry of the organized evangelizing community must result in congregational growth from new disciples joining from the world. No organization or method should be retained which “ought to work,” but does not. The means of evangelizing exist for the ends of helping people to become disciples of Jesus and find life in his body.

What follows is a demonstration of how this might be organized. It is assumed that the church takes seriously the fact that the ministry of witness is somewhat threatening to most lay people, that some Christian witnesses will have to learn to walk before they learn to run, and that although the various tasks in total outreach are not equally demanding, all the tasks are intrinsically worth doing and are part of the mission. I have arranged the tasks of organized outreach in increasing order of difficulty for the outreachers. Many of your people will find it possible now to do the easier tasks preparing some of them for the more rigorous tasks later. The tasks are also arranged according to the several elements of the Great Commission found in Mt. 28:18-20, Mk. 16:15, Lk. 24:47-49, and Acts 1:8 and in the approximate order that the steps, principles, and experiences would take place.

“Wait To Receive Power”

Prior to launching out into the community, several things need to happen in the vision, structuring, and life of the congregation—especially within those members who will be part of the regular outreach ministry. I am not including two important elements in preparation—”analyzing the congregation’s growth record” and “setting goals for new growth”—because they are now well covered in recent writings by Donald McGavran and Win Arn—How To Grow a Church and Ten Steps to Church Growth. Do include these elements in your preparation.

1. Make a Discipleship Survey. You need to begin a process of discovering the undiscipled people in your ministry area—i.e. people not presently following Jesus Christ through some community of faith. The discovery of a significant number of undiscipled people will help your readers see the possibilities for growth and will build active interest in new programmatic outreach. You will discover prospects for discipleship by a door-to-door survey of your ministry area or selected target neighborhood.

Notice: You are not trying to discover people’s “church preference.” Seven out of ten people have a nominal church preference, or at least they think of something to say when being surveyed. Church preference surveys reap piles of data that are useless to you, unless you are especially interested in finding out the names of the churches people stay away from! The most useful data can be gathered by an indicator-question something like “Are you currently attending any Christian congregation or group in this community?” Where a no is indicated, make sure the people’s names and addresses are placed in your “Undiscipled Prospects File.”

This surveying will give many of your people the experience that will free them for the more demanding tasks of outreach later on. But your central purpose in surveying is to record (on 3 x 5 index cards) the names and addresses of unchurched people (including nominal members not currently involved in any community of faith), and especially people who may be receptive.

2. Begin Record Keeping. The cards containing the data of prospective Christians should be filed, with one person in charge of the file. Because the cards represent people, the church should never risk losing a card. This is assured by giving outreach workers duplicate cards and never letting an original card leave the file. In time you will want to expand to two files—one based on the relative receptivity of persons (using the five categories: receptive, interested, indifferent, resistant, and hostile), and one based on geographical sections of the ministry area, to enable the most visiting with the least traveling for your outreach teams.

3. Begin Training for Outreach. Your people will feel the need for some training and will be reluctant to reach out without it. The training ought to include: (a) scripture verses and principles of theology that inform evangelizing, including some consideration of the content of the message, (b) models of a local church engaged in evangelizing (such as Richard Armstrong’s The Oak Lane Story), (c) and methods that can be employed by your people. Among the smorgasbord of methods available today, your choice ought to be guided by two criteria: the method you initially go with must be consistent with the theological tradition of your church, and it should continue to be used only if it is effective in communicating to your target population. This training period should also be characterized by (d) practice, which would include both role playing and on-the-job training (two trainees observing one experienced witnesser). Pervade all of this training with the emphasis that the most important task is the making of new friendships—which will then make evangelizing much more possible.

4. Establish Evangelism Support Groups. The ministry of witnessing is threatening work. All of your people will need the support of a group if they are to stick with and grow in the practice of evangelism. They should meet as a group immediately before going out, and immediately after. The understanding, learning, support, and empowerment that each person will receive from this koinonia is indispensible to the church’s continued outreach.

5. Pray for Empowerment. Evangelism is primarily the mission of the Holy Spirit, and only derivatively the mission of the church. The Spirit goes before us creating receptivity in some people by his prevenient grace, and we follow him to those whom he has prepared. If what we say is perceived as the good news and the person responds to Jesus as Lord, this is happening because the Spirit is communicating to their being. And when we have appropriate words to say and the courage to reach out, this is because he is empowering us. We may know much about strategies and methods of communicating the gospel and evangelizing people but, whenever communication and response take place, it is his work communicated through our appropriate strategies and methods. We must always be more dependent on Christ’s enabling Spirit than we are on even our best strategies and methods. This is so important that a group would be well advised to wait, perhaps for some weeks, until it had a sense of being visited, called, led out, and empowered by God’s own presence.

“GO INTO YOUR WORLD”

Evangelistic strategy begins by achieving a presence and dialogue with the persons the church desires to attract into the Faith. Several tasks within this program for church evangelism stress our presence amidst the target population. Proclamation and persuasion may not be possible for now among resistant people. But achieving presence is intrinsically worthwhile, and may prepare people for proclamation, persuasion, and discipling. Of course, the witnesser who is trying to achieve presence should be open to attempting more when the person is receptive or when the Spirit leads. But in presence ministry, it is not necessary that one always (or even usually) verbalize the gospel; the Christian has not “failed Jesus” just because he has not mentioned his name. The essential purposes of presence ministry are to know people, to be known by them, to identify with them, and to demonstrate a caring interest in them, to build the friendships which can become the bridges of God. The following ministries of presence are important, and are less intimidating to new witnessers than are tasks which do mandate proclamation and/or disciplemaking.

6. Telephone Ministries are the least threatening form of “going,” and some people have real gifts (and experience) for communicating over that medium. A variety of ministries can be performed over the telephone—from calls to people who have visited the church, to birthday and other special event calls, to crisis telephone ministries like Contact. Shut-in persons can frequently minister by telephone, especially to each other.

7. Door-to-Door Friendly Visits are manageable for many Christians. These visits go beyond surveying in that the purpose is to establish credibility, trust, and friendship and to discover needs to which the church can minister.

8. Offering the Services of the Church to People involves sharing a very particular facet of the good news to individuals and inviting response. Any church has (or should begin) ministries to meet the human needs that really are present in its ministry area. Day-care centers, mothers-day-out programs, meals-on-wheels, Parent Effectiveness Training, Big Brothers, counseling services, and special groups (scouts, senior citizens, etc.) are some random examples. Here the role of presence evangelism might be to inform people of these special services, inviting those who need them to participate. Or, the offer to serve might be more unstructured, as in the case of the visitors from the Oak Lane Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia who ask people—”How can we be of help to you?”

9. Visiting People Who Have Visited the Church’s Worship Service is a crucial presence ministry. People who visit your church are, statistically, among the most receptive people in your ministry area. They should be telephoned that afternoon and visited that week—and then somewhat regularly until their church involvement is decided, one way or another. The purpose of these visits is to express interest in people, to get to know them and be known by them, and to inquire regarding their beliefs, relation to Christ, and desires for Church membership. “Hard sell” to casual church visitors would be counter-productive. In this ministry you may very well engage in church referral. As you find out what people are looking for, if in your judgment another church could better meet their need—your greatest service might be to refer them to that church!

10. Call on Inactive Members. If inactive members were once worth winning, they are now worth reactivating. In certain cases, inactive members may be one of our most responsive populations because, as Canon Bryan Green reminds us, “They have something to return to.” But if they are inactive because the church left them as new members outside the fellowship-involvement circle, they may be a quite resistant group. In any case, their renewal in the body of Christ requires the initiative of active church members. It is even worth talking to those whom we cannot reactivate—for the feedback they can give us. If we find out how we failed them, we may make the changes that will prevent us from failing others. Besides, for the sake of those who have not yet joined us, we need to love those who once joined us. If we are perceived to shower attention on prospects while forgetting about members, then prospects understandably will be reluctant to join. “How those Christians love one another” is the ancient appeal which must be preserved. When prospects are loved, and they perceive that they will experience even more caring love within the community, they will desire to join that community.

“Preach the Gospel—Be My Witnesses”

Some tasks within an evangelism program involve presence and also message-sharing. It is crucial that we share the gospel with all persons who “have the ears to hear” because “faith comes by hearing the word of God” and “it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” How is this witnessing to be done by today’s Christian lay people? A rather elaborate answer will be found in the chapter “A New Model for Christian Witnessing,” but some suggestions for relevant and effective forms of message-sharing are appropriate here. To maximize effectiveness, know in every congregation that the forms of witness used must be considered and indigenous. Slinging texts at people or regurgitating slogans before them will not be effective, nor can we blindly import methods that succeed in different populations. Our forms of witness must be creative and incarnational in ways that speak to secular people so that they can respond. The following forms represent some real possibilities that are available to many outreaching churches.

11. Organize and Host Neighborhood Groups in which non-Christians can explore the Christian faith. The Church Growth Movement is discovering that many persons will come to a home meeting who would not come to a church building. But make sure that the non-Christians do not feel outnumbered. Have no more than two Christians present for every three non-Christians. The total number should not exceed fifteen. If it does, organize a second group. Such “outpost groups” should be considered top priority; organize as many as possible, because for many people they will be the threshold into the local church and Christian life. Their agenda must be the basics of the Christian gospel, expressed in quite secular language, correlating the message with the felt needs and motives of the receptive people who visit—and all of this within the setting of a warm, supportive, affirming fellowship. Occasionally non-Christians will volunteer their living rooms for such meetings; this is an opportunity that should be accepted.

12. Christian Literature is an often overlooked medium of proclaiming the gospel to non-Christians. Perhaps we overlook it because most people are turned off by tracts and because we think many people have stopped reading books. But in this generation the popularity of such books as Love Story and Jonathan Livingston Seagull teaches us that great numbers of people will read something interesting that can be completed in an evening. Discipleship Resources (the publishing arm of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship) reports great success in the sale of the “Pass-It-On” series, books such as: How To Find God, by Keith Miller; Who Is Jesus Christ, by William Barclay; and What Is The Meaning of Life? by Alan Walker.

Local churches could buy such books in quantity and give them to interested people. Individual witnessers who have mastered one of the books could then schedule a visit about the book after the person had a chance to read it. Or, a church might offer the books through a mass mailing to apartment dwellers, enclosing a return postcard for people to request that the book be delivered to them from the church. A witnesser would deliver the book to the apartment and stay only long enough to get acquainted, but would suggest that he/she stop back in two weeks at an appointed time to talk about the book. Any friends who had read it by then would also be welcome to join that conversation.

13. Deploy Teams for Ministry and Witness to Persons in Transition. There is abundant evidence that “people in transition are more receptive than people in stability.” This principle applies to many transitions, and not merely the usual ones that are thought of as crises. The common transitions that most people experience, during (and shortly after) which they are likely to be more receptive include: adolescence, going to college or armed services, first job, getting married, first child, first child at an age to begin religious education, last child leaves home, menopause, male menopause, retirement. Common transitions that many people also experience include: moving, a suffering experience, loss of a loved one, separation, divorce, getting fired, job advancement. During and shortly after such changes in one’s situation or social role, people tend to be fairly receptive to religious ministry and truth claims.

A church taking this fact with strategic seriousness would prepare cadres of its members for specific ministry and witness to persons in such transition. The gifts, interest, expertise, or background of a witnesser would be intentionally matched to a “transitional” ministry. For instance, a team of two or three Christians who had divorce in their background would be sent out to share the resources of grace and koinonia that they had discovered for this painful transition. Relevant Christian literature such as Help! I’ve Been Fired, by Clyde Reid, The Will of God, by Leslie Weatherhead and Is There a Family in the House? by Kenneth Chafin should be on hand in the church library for use in connection with these special ministries.

The church’s strategy for persons in transition should be based on two elements. (a) Have a team of Christians for each transition, i.e., if you identify six transitions to which you can minister—have six teams. (b) Sensitize, by special effort, the entire congregation to their role as a referral system. For instance, if a church member hears of someone who was fired, is divorcing, or just retired, etc., that member would telephone the church secretary or other coordinator of this outreach program. The information would then be relayed to the appropriate ministry team of the church. This one comprehensive strategy can reach more people in periods of receptivity, and can use more Christians in accordance with their gifts, than any other single strategy with which I am familiar.

14. Inviting Self-Actualizing People to Join in Service is a neglected strategy in most churches, but it has great potential. Many persons may not currently have a sense of need which can be fulfilled by our offering of the gospel. Instead they may be motivated by the need for self-esteem or self-realization, a need which can be met as a by-product of giving themselves to some cause or service of the church’s mission. If a church is doing worthwhile things for people, it’s most effective evangelical appeal to bright, strong, achievement-oriented persons will be to offer them the opportunity for significant service through church projects and ministries to others. Through such experiences, many of these persons will “taste the Kingdom of God” and this experience will be self-authenticating. While participating in Christian service, longtime Christians will also be intentionally relating and witnessing to them. A fuller explanation of the gospel and causes of the faith will come out in appropriately natural conversation or in collaborative situations during the service experience as, for example, “Say, let me share with you more about why we Christians are engaged in this cause . . .”

15. Door by Door Witnessing in a target neighborhood is a genre which, although conventional, ought not be overlooked. It is not the most strategic way of deploying your witnessers; saturating receptive groups has a higher probability of harvest. But it is the only method of assuring that no person in your ministry area is neglected, and it is also an effective way of discovering receptive people.

Naturally, what you say to people, how, and where are crucial variables in this ministry. (See my “New Model for Christian Witnessing.”) But we must take seriously our Lord’s strong metaphor—”Do not cast your pearls before swine,” i.e., we are not constrained to verbalize the gospel to persons now incapable of perceiving the gospel as great news. On some visits, only a ministry of presence and listening may be possible. We may appropriately ask permission to share something of our faith. And if people are in fact receptive, or at least open, we may indeed share a great deal. Our sharing should follow a careful listening to the other person so that we can correlate our witness to what we have perceived of the person’s religious history and needs.

16. Visit the Town Agnostics and the “Tough Situations.” We are not called to abandon any people or setting. Some of our more articulate and inwardly strong Christians should visit bars, jails, City Hall, or whatever settings and peoples are indifferent or hostile to Christ and the church. The direct returns from such ministry will be fairly low, but it will strengthen witnessers engaged in this apologetic ministry, and it will establish the public image of the church as a community that both cares and dares.

17. “Make Disciples.” Everything that we do in the preparation, presence, and proclamation ministries is for the sake of making disciples, i.e., persuading people to become followers of Jesus through his Body the church. None of the strategies in this chapter so far are ends in themselves—although many are intrinsically worth doing.

God calls to people in Jesus Christ that they might turn to him—open their beings to him—obey him—become members of his body—and so find life. For this reason the ministry of “discipling” requires that at some time we share the gospel and appeal for response. That “time” is God’s Kairos or moment when a person is perceived as being receptive or when the course of an evangelical conversation naturally leads to that point. This is the most awesome task in a church’s program of outreach, but it is indispensable. Some of your people will have the spiritual gifts to lead people, not only toward, but into an initial Christian experience. All witnessers should extend the option when they find an opportunity, but your lay “discipling specialists” should be sent to persons who are thought to be on the threshold of a decision to commit their life to Christ.

“Baptize Them into the Church and Teach Them”

Bishop J. Waskom Pickett demonstrated four decades ago that what we do with people in the weeks immediately after they join the church is crucial. Indeed, his study of about four thousand converts in India concluded that their post baptismal training was more influential in whether they remained and grew in the Christian community than even the motives which originally attracted them to Christianity. I am sure that the first few weeks are equally important to the life of a new convert in any American church.

18. Membership Training is a very important element in the new convert’s incorporation into Christ’s church. No convert ought to be “spared” this instruction which should be very basic in content: Ten Commandments, Lord’s Prayer, Apostles Creed; general introduction to the Bible plus concentration on one or two books—say Luke and Galatians; and an introduction to the church and the mission of Christian lay people. A text, such as Michael Green’s New Life, New Lifestyle, might be used. Church Growth literature teaches that such training might best begin immediately after a person’s decision to follow Jesus and join the church—whenever these occur—and not at some predetermined age or prior to joining. Also, such training might best be done on a one-to-one tutoring basis in the convert’s house—with the convert’s family welcome to join in the lessons.

19. The Relational Support System. The convert’s solid entry into the church is not merely the cognitive entry which membership training enables, but also a relational entry. The church must move intentionally to build a relational support system that will create in the convert a sense of being known and belonging to the people of God. New members not brought into a circle of fellowship are soon lost to inactivity. Two strategies are especially promising.

One strategy is a sponsors program. The convert is assigned a sponsor (or in the case of a couple, a sponsoring couple). A sponsor ought to represent the same homogeneous population as the convert. The sponsor will introduce the new member to people, groups, and opportunities in the church. The sponsor will be available to the new member, will occasionally ask him how things are going, and will probably visit him monthly at some length for the first year of the new member’s life in the congregation. The original “matchup” between sponsor and convert is not etched in granite. If it turns out that they are “mismatched,” the convert should be assigned another sponsor. Fairly recent converts (one to four years) frequently make excellent sponsors, so look among your growing converts for promising sponsors. The pastor should have a quarterly support and instruction meeting for sponsors.

The other basic strategy for relational support is your church’s group system. Every convert ought to become quickly involved in the life of some group connected with your church, whether a Sunday school class, a prayer group, an action group, a choir, or an age group. Group involvement ought to be required for the converts (as for all members), because most Christians cannot remain vital or grow in life except as that Life is mediated through Christian koinonia. But not all persons will want small group experiences; large group involvements should be offered as options.

20. Opportunities for Acting in Discipleship. The new convert’s entry into Christian life and community is not only cognitive and relational, but also behavioral. The Christian possibility becomes incarnate in the personality of the believer as a by-product of obedient Christian behavior. This implies two additional requirements. One is frequent corporate worship, in which the convert rehearses and reinforces his newly chosen identity within the identity and story of the people of God. The other requirement is service. Every convert is called to engage in whatever roles or tasks of the church are appropriate to the gifts within the individual—as perceived by the body and its leaders. This too is crucial in the assimilation of new members—without which we tend to lose them to inactivity.

Conversion and maturation in the faith are cognitive and relational and behavioral. Therefore, just as we said that evangelism takes place through kerygma, koinonia, and diakonia, so, many Christians say that actual incorporation into the body and maturation in the faith take place through those same three resources plus leitourgia (worship). Together, these four resources of the Christian church can engage the person in the totality of his/her personality and motivation structure. But if the church withholds even one of these four resources from a person, then there is a part of that person not engaged with the gospel, and the chances of retarded spiritual growth or of losing the person after a time are immeasurably greater.

The Contagious Congregation’s Mission beyond the Parish

I once saw a painting of a “dead church” in a magazine. The sanctuary was exquisite and inspiring, it was full of people wearing their “Sunday best,” the pastor was robed and cultured—but in one corner cobwebs covered over the coin slot in a box marked “missions.” That picture dramatizes a frequent cause of a congregation’s lack of contagion—they live for themselves. At the opposite extreme of John Wesley’s declaration that “The world is my parish,” the noncontagious congregation says “Our parish is our world.” Practically speaking, Wesley’s challenge reaches out beyond our parish and points us to the bold re-embracing of three areas of the church’s larger mission.

One area of the congregation’s wider evangelistic concern will be aggressive support for the “planting” of many new congregations. Your goal in evangelization is to reach out and make disciples. But there are many people in your city or county who are geographically or culturally beyond the reach of your congregation. They live too far away, or you don’t speak their language, or your ministries do not engage their felt needs. Your congregation cannot reach them in significant numbers, but a new church strategically planted—near them and for them and culturally indigenous to them—could reap a harvest. Ignore the faddists who complain that church extension is “not where it’s at,” the mothering of daughter churches is a necessary component in faithfulness to the Great Commission. Ignore those who complain that new churches “cost too much;” new congregations represent your denomination’s greatest potential investment.

Strategically placed, new congregations grow. A recent study of Presbyterian membership trends shows that while the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. has been declining at a rate of 1.9 percent per year, their first generation congregations have been growing at a rate of 9.8 percent per year. Note also that growing denominations are planting new congregations in very great numbers—even in the political units where they already have a church—as in the case of Southern Baptists who started new congregations in Texas at a rate of 138 in 1975, 189 in 1976, and 400 for 1977–78! Likewise, as Dr. Kenneth Chatin declares, “Show me a denomination that is not aggressively starting new congregations, and I’ll show you a denomination that is already in the terminal condition!”

The second area of wider opportunity is your congregation’s strong support of global missions and evangelization. There are almost three billion unreached people on our planet. And four-fifths of these people have no Christians in their social unit who can share the possibility with them. They can only be reached, and evangelical movement can only begin among them, when we support and send out great numbers of cross-cultural missionaries to “make disciples among the peoples.” Fortunately, many of the world’s peoples are now very receptive—mandating extensive outreach “while the fields are ripe unto harvest.”

Strongly supporting church extension and world missions would not “cost” your congregation a thing. Indeed, the congregation would grow as a by-product, because many people are more likely to join a church that is in mission beyond its parish. Missionary involvement especially adds to a congregation’s magnetism when it not only supports missions, but also deploys lay people in cross-cultural outreach. The Southern Baptists of Texas are commissioning a thousand lay people to help start a thousand congregations in Brazil in 1983. Their Texas congregations will grow as a by-product.

We in United Methodism have discovered this indirect “payoff” from the missionary involvement of lay people—especially in cases where laity experience all three resources of the gospel. A program called the Appalachian Service Project has demonstrated this as significantly as anything I know. Its leader, the late Tex Evans, a longtime missionary to Appalachian people, began taking church members—especially youth—into Appalachia to work with Appalachian people on their homes—painting, digging wells, building porches—and relating to them in Christian friendship and witness.

The pattern began in 1970. Today, a group moves in for a week, living at Union College. During the day they work with Appalachian people on their houses, relating to them and accepting them just as they are. In the evening the visiting groups establish a worshiping fellowship—sharing, singing, praying, celebrating, cheering. They study the Scriptures which inform their ministry, learning how with Christ they can open doors to captives and share good news with the poor, discovering that as they do this unto one of the least of Christ’s brothers, they do this unto him.

This Appalachian Service Project has tapped a wellspring of national response. We now know that great numbers of people are eager to serve—and if the church will create an opportunity for them to serve in a significant way with Christ it will make a difference in people’s lives—they will serve, they will become renewed, and their home churches will experience renewal and greater contagion. Below, the snow-balling track record of the Appalachian project shows the increasing number of people who became involved in it, and the work they did.

Year People Houses

1970 387 50
1971 658 110
1972 1033 131
1973 1612 236
1974 2735 418

By design, the numbers have now leveled off to about 4000–5000 participants each summer, working with 500-600 homes and families.

One summer, Kathy Williams, a lovely sixteen-year old girl from the United Methodist Church of Seaford, Delaware, was singing a song that she had written as she reflected upon her experiences in Appalachia. They asked her to sing the song for Tex, and he was so thrilled by it that the song has found its way into the legends of the Appalachia Service Project. The words of the song do not render aesthetically perfect poetry, but they do illustrate the love, the change, and the new Christian identification that comes as a by-product of fellowship, message, and service.

Chorus:
Our hearts are in the hills
Where the rain comes pouring down.
The Lord of Love will help us through
And we’ll tell of the love we have found.

First Verse:
Way down in the bottom of a holler
We found some folk with their walls all tumbling down
We helped them that morning with our faith in God
And we made those dear walls become strong

Second Verse:
They smiled so big and wide,
And through the rain wesaw the sun
With a brand new porch on the front of their house
That they had never seen before.

Third Verse:
Goodbye, we said as we walked away
With the tears all flowing down
The God of Love will help us through
And we’ll tell of the love we have found.

As your lay people support and become involved in the mission beyond the parish, your mission to your parish will grow in clarity, power, and effectiveness.

And Finally

Supremely, the contagious congregation is magnetic for receptive people because it sees and is gripped and driven by a vision of what is possible for people and the world if the gospel is only shared. I have tried for years to adequately express this vision, and its power upon me, but am not yet confident that I have semantically corralled the vision of the Great Commission. Another generation set it to poetry better than has ours, so let me leave you with the apostolic expressions of Blake (slightly modified) and Lindsey

I shall not cease from mental strife,
nor shall the sword slip from my hand
Until we have built Jerusalem
in America’s green and searching land.

This is our faith tremendous
Our wild hope, and who shall scorn?
That in the name of Jesus
The world shall be reborn.

This article “The Local Congregation Puts it Together” written by George G. Hunter III is excerpted from his book The Contagious Congregation.

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