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  • TFRStaff 6:44 am on 2016-10-14 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , church growth, , ,   

    October 2016 Issue of Christian Worker (The Need for Strong Churches) 

    Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

    Here are the topics that you will find:

    • The Need for Strong Churches (Mike Vestal)
    • Strength Through Adversity (Cody Westbrook)
    • Through Fellowship (Kevin Rhodes)
    • Through Worship (Wayne Jones)
    • Through Preaching (Clay Bond)
    • Through Love (Ross Haffner)
    • Through Service (Johnie Scaggs, Jr)

    Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

    You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.

    Copyright © 2016 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

  • TFRStaff 6:41 am on 2014-10-28 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church growth, ,   

    Hugh's News & Views (Growing A Church . . .) 


    “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God” (Colossians 2:18-19, NASB, emphasis mine, hf).

    Having been a preacher of the gospel for some sixty years, and having served as a local minister for over forty years (but still busy preaching every week), I believe I have some qualifications to address the subject of church growth. Since I am a preacher, I will write primarily from the preacher’s viewpoint. Thus, what I say could be viewed as my philosophy of preaching and church growth. (More …)

  • TFRStaff 6:29 am on 2013-11-12 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church growth, , ,   

    Growing Churches or Saving Souls? 

    Church growth is the LORD’S business. “The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). Let not man assume control of the Lord’s business. “Church Growth” experts do not know as much as our Lord knows about who should be added to His church.

    The church’s role in church growth is to preach the saving gospel to the lost. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). There we have Jesus’ own word for that. Since He is the saved’s Savior, He will know who should be a member of His church.

    The church must focus on its role in saving the lost. Jesus Christ said, “Go.” The modern “progressive church” says, “Come.” To obey the Lord, the church must—

    1. Love the lost. Jesus, our example, loved the sinner Zacchaeus of Jericho and invited Himself over to Zacchaeus’ house to spend the night. He converted Zacchaeus that night. Read about it in Luke 19:1-10.

    2. Seek the lost. Jesus said, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Jesus had to leave His heavenly home to come into the world to save the lost. Why would we think we can reach the lost without going into the world? God forbid that we are on a “church growth” mission rather than a “soul-saving” mission.

    3. Teach the lost. They may not know they are lost. It is easy to be lost in the woods and not know it. It is as easy to be lost in sin and not know it. As we would show the person lost in the woods the way out, we must show the person lost in sin the way out. Christ is the way. Social services will not do it, friend. Neither will polite pleasantries about nothings do it. The gospel is God’s power to save the lost (Romans 1:16). Let’s be sure it’s the gospel we’re preaching to the lost. – Mack Lyon

    Mack Lyon, speaker for the successful television ministry In Search if the Lord’s Way, may be contacted through their website: http://www.searchtv.org/

  • Eugene Adkins 6:52 am on 2013-10-29 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , church growth, , ,   

    Good story to illustrate why it’s important to serve within the church 

    Here’s a neat story called “A Growing Church” that was passed along to me in an email. The email originated with a brother named Dave Hart, but the illustration itself was marked as “Author Unknown” so I don’t have any other “credit” to pass along for it. Also, the word “bus fare” may be a little “dated” or “out-of-place” depending upon where you live but it can be updated or changed easily to make this a very applicable illustration for any congregation today when it comes to church growth and the importance of serving our brothers and sisters in the church:

    An elder called on a member of the church for a social visit. The conversation turned to the work of the church. They talked of the progress that had been made and how the Lord had blessed their efforts through the past years. Yet both agreed that other things were needed.

    “It seems to me,” said the member, “That the church is always needing something. Every time we meet, there is a plea for more giving and more workers.”

    “You are right, my brother,” replied the elder. “The church is always needing something. I had a little boy who needed something. One week it was shoes, another clothes, then lunch money, bus fare, spending money. I thought he asked too much. He hasn’t asked for anything for years now. He quit needing anything from me. You see, he died one night. And there are times when I would give anything to hear him ask for something just once more. I realized after it was too late, how much happiness I found, even in his begging. Perhaps you have never missed the church. It has always been there when you needed it, and you have taken it for granted. Frankly I confess I did not know how little I did for my son until it was too late.

    So it is with the church. As long as the church stands, it will have needs. When it quits needing something, it will be dead. A dead church cannot offer a living hope to a dying world. The church that has no needs fills none.”

  • J. Randal Matheny 10:16 am on 2013-08-13 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , church growth,   

    Pray: a new church start? 

    This just in from our good brother José Antonio in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil (my translation):

    My student from the city of Itaberaba, Bahia state, requested we go there and said that he has many people interested in the truth. He also said that he has been a city councilman for a long time and the people there respect him a lot, since he never mixes politics with his religion where he serves as a deacon. I am planning a trip there next week, where we will teach them, and since he asked for the true baptism, with others there, I will try to start a church there also, and plan several trips there to teach them. The distance is almost 300 km, I will leave material there. Pray for this trip also.

  • J. Randal Matheny 1:28 pm on 2012-03-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church growth,   

    Church losses article hits nerve, tops list of most popular 

    This article hit a nerve, apparently, because it’s by far the most popular on my personal website over the past 30 days, and it’s been up only 12 days. “Why the church stops growing” is my take on recent news of church losses. It’s gotten amens and condemnations.

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    • Michael Carter 2:41 pm on 2012-03-09 Permalink | Reply

      This article is an excellent assessment of the problem! I don’t think people believe in Hell anymore so they have no motivation to bring others to salvation. They don’t try very hard to invite the unchurched or the wrong churched to the fountain. They don’t even talk to their own kids about the gospel. They expect the youth ministers to do that. The words of God don’t make people tremble anymore. How do we light a fire under seats of the saints?

      • J. Randal Matheny 3:20 pm on 2012-03-09 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, MIke! You ask a good question. For many, influenced by postmodern thought, there doesn’t seem to be much hope of lighting that fire. For others, maybe with some very clear and strong teaching and example at evangelizing.

    • Stephen R. Bradd 4:06 pm on 2012-03-09 Permalink | Reply

      Just read the article. Very good Randal. I will share this with the brethren soon, as we prepare for our warm-weather evangelistic push in Clinton.

    • Mike Riley 3:50 pm on 2012-03-10 Permalink | Reply

      Maybe preachers need to bring back the “hell fire and damnation” sermons that were preached from the pulpits in the 1940’s and 50’s.

  • J. Randal Matheny 12:33 pm on 2012-01-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: American elections, church growth, , religious institutions, Republican Party   

    Who knows what it means to prime a pump? 

    Prime the pump

    A hand pump, like we had on our back porch

    Another little poem’s up on the Christian Poets website, “Thought, Deed, and Motive.” I thank John H. for his TFR plug of the last one. No poem was planned for today, but sometimes they just pop out. A statement here, a rhythmic line there, and off goes the mind to register its flow.

    • Its’ called priming the pump. Probably nobody under 50 knows what that means, has ever poured the last bit of precious water into a hand pump to draw the cool liquid from the depths of the cistern.

    For me, priming the pump is reading broadly, wildly, even. Finding a phrase to match the mood, to strike the match to catch a flame.

    Oops, I switched metaphors on you. But what’s a metaphor for, if not to use and drop and swap?

    • Let me get on my soapbox for a minute. Unlike churches, religious institutions are often self-perpetuating, with their “development” departments to raise funds and provide a constant stream of income. That’s why they’re especially dangerous, with their tendency to stray from their original purpose and compromise their commitment to truth. I’ve found them to be like presidential candidates: they show lots of promise, but ultimately disappoint. (More …)

    • Eugene Adkins 6:52 pm on 2012-01-20 Permalink | Reply

      I’m under 50 and I know what it means to prime a pump…but maybe that’s because I grew up in the country.

      You said, “The older I get, the more I believe that the key to the church’s health and growth is contained in the one-on-one discipleship and the personal interaction within a congregation.”

      I would agree greatly! The growth that we have had at Keltonburg over the last 3-4 years has come from that very principle. It’s something that I encourage everyone to remember (along with my self).

      Politics??? Hasn’t changed much – at least the politicians themselves – since biblical times has it?

      Have a good un’ Randal.

      • J. Randal Matheny 5:38 am on 2012-01-21 Permalink | Reply

        Hey, Eugene! I didn’t think those kinds of pumps were even around anymore.

        Glad to hear about Keltonburg. I’d like to know more. God bless your efforts there.

        • Eugene Adkins 3:17 pm on 2012-01-21 Permalink | Reply

          I have to admit that I don’t know about “priming a pump” because I’ve used one that had to be started that way; I know about them because people in this area were familiar with them.

          What I said about Keltonburg is very true. Over the last few years we have helped to grow the kingdom although we have not grown in the congregation very much numerically speaking because we have had several families who obeyed the gospel because of personal work move away from the area due to jobs and other stuff like that.

          But in all reality, the new (2/3 years old) Christians at Keltonburg are due to people’s willingness to talk to others and their wilingness to invite them to worship where the rest of the congregation can help “kill them with kindness.” We have a good reputation for being kind to visitors. We don’t “gloat” over it but we strive to maintain it together! 🙂

        • J. Randal Matheny 3:20 pm on 2012-01-21 Permalink | Reply

          Ah, I see. The one I used at times was, shall we say, left over from older times, but it still worked, and it was a standby.

          Glad to hear that about Keltonburg. The churches that dwindle and die make news, mostly, I think, because progressives gloat in it, but the quiet, steady workers who advance the gospel don’t get seen much. So this is a great glimpse into the work of God.

  • J. Randal Matheny 2:17 pm on 2011-08-13 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , church growth, church newsletter   

    Rick’s article, “Peas in a barrel” 

    Rick gave me the go-ahead, so here is his article, “On our way to peas in a barrel?” Our thanks to him for letting us reprint.

    • Mike Riley 2:33 pm on 2011-08-13 Permalink | Reply

      Great article that makes us think about what we’re doing wrong regarding church growth today.

  • TFRStaff 4:53 pm on 2011-04-18 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , church growth, ,   

    U.S. church numbers decline 

    Why have churches of Christ declined in numbers? What are solutions to reverse the decline? How to implement the solutions? Don Petty addresses these questions in the study of the decline of the membership of the church of Christ, done in 2006.
    In the zip file are three Word documents:
    • Reasons for the Decline
    • Solutions to the Decline
    • Implementing the Solutions

    See on his website HERE.

    • Mike Riley 3:27 pm on 2011-04-19 Permalink | Reply

      Brother Petty has hit the nail on the head regarding both the reason for the decline in numbers as well as the solution to the decline. The implementing of the solutions will be the most difficult thing to do, but we must do them if we are to be pleasing to the Lord.

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:04 am on 2010-09-28 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church growth, church maturity   

    Where the church can improve 

    We should kiss more. This and six more points on what I’d like to see more of in the church make up my editorial for Forthright Magazine yesterday. It seems to have been well received. I’d be interested in hearing the Fellows’ reactions to it.

    You might want to add to the list, also.

  • J. Randal Matheny 9:49 am on 2010-07-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church growth,   

    Law of Moses Brings Law of Grace 

    This is Don Petty’s email/papers to a select group of saints. I’m throwing him a couple of proposals to either place it here or on a blog. Let’s see which he likes. Am sending this by email to the TFR, by the way. Neat, no? –Randal

    UPDATE: Not all text made it into the post. Apparently, WP doesn’t like lines made with dashes. Nor did Don’s bragging photo with great-grandchild. … Have appended the text.


    July 11, 2010

    Striving to plant the word of God as widely
    as possible and working to teach the word
    as Sound Doctrine to all who will hear

    Since 2003 the membership of the church in the US
    has experienced a significant decline. That is what
    inspires me to compose these papers to the “70.”
    Let us study our preaching and teaching methods
    for opportunities to improve to save members.

    To the 70 & Six,
    Well, good to see all of you. We today returned from California, where we have been visiting our (now) 8-day old first great grandchild, Teagan. She is as cute a little one as you might hope to see (having MY genes and all).

    Great grand Parents
    Sylvia and Don Petty
    with Teag in San Diego

    During the time I have been away (Yeah, I know. Some of you thought I was in a ‘padded’ cell somewhere, but I wasn’t) I have thought about PtOS and have also gotten some input from you about the format and writing. Thus, with that having been said, I want to ask for your input on a three point survey. Here ’tis…

    1. Do you think the articles that have been in the PtOS Online paper are too long?
    2. Do you think they are about right?
    3. Do you think I should divide the paper into two parts – one with the brief, pointed articles and one with longer, feature-type articles?

    All right, depending on your answers I will adjust…or not. If I do not hear word strongly that you want change I will stay with the format; otherwise, I will modify. Or…if it is truly one that indicates I need an overhaul to the paper, I will just pick up my dolls and go home!! I play as well alone, anyway, my momma used to tell me. Ha.

    Starting this month of July, PtOS will return to distribution, but instead of a weekly online publication, it will now be a monthly online publication. This is to make possible my writing I have in the queue. Along with my weekly writing for an upcoming website, I will now get back to some writing I have had underway for a good while now. I have missed the grind of early morning/late night writing. I will resume the work I began literally years ago of writing on the following books… (More …)

  • jimnewy 2:41 pm on 2010-02-25 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church growth, rvival   

    Ideas to Revive a Church 

    I missed yesterdays Daily Nudge, but want to say Amen to all of those that responded. I have no ideas, because if I had I would be putting them into practice. Our congregation has dropped from a one time 200 + to an average of 55-60. Some of the highs had to do with some preachers that had charismatic personalities. We do not even have enough young people of any age to have anything but adult Bible classes on Sunday night and Wed. night. On Sunday mornings there will be around ten 18-25 year olds. But the majority of the congregation ranges from mid-forties on up. What I am trying to say is that we are an old peoples congregation. I’mafraid that some day it won’t be but a small handful.

    • Joe Palmer 8:26 pm on 2010-02-25 Permalink | Reply

      If you have ten 18 to 25 year old out of 60 attending then that is an excellent percentage. I have asked this question sadly few people seem to have ideas. If you church wants a shot in the arm of ideas and motivational message I’d be glad to come stir them up a little. Let me share with you some things we have done. are doing in the last few years.

      1. friend day. Yes it is simple we had an increase in attendance of about 50 that is about a 20 percent increase. We have followed up and have continued Bible studies going from this.

      2. Marriage class. – i teach these from time to time to the community. I just started one and I have one couple outside the church attending. I have others who may be in the class starting next week.

      3. Newsletter Evangelism. Pass out newsletter for 8 weeks and then knock doors. We had 5 obey the gospel and made a lot of good friendly contacts.

      4. If you have no other idea just invite everyone who wants to see the church grow and is willing to help to join a special class, small group, sunday lunch meeting etc to pray and talk about how to grow.

      • jimnewy 2:20 pm on 2010-02-26 Permalink | Reply

        I appreciate your reply and suggestions. Suggestions 1 – 3 has been done over and over with results, but they have not lasted. Suggestion 4 is viable and would be a good place to start. We need to go find those that have left and bring them back first.

        God Bless, Jim Newsted Shamrock, Texas View my Blog at: http://jimsbiblestudies.blogspot.com/ Join my Bible Study Group at: internet-bible-studies-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or http://groups.yahoo.com/group/internet-bible-studies/join Even though you can’t see the air, It doesn’t stop you from breathing Even though you can’t see God, It doesn’t stop you from believing

        • Joe Palmer 4:50 pm on 2010-02-26 Permalink | Reply

          Jesus said that people would recognize us as his disciples because we love one another. I think the biggest obstacle in keeping people is them seeing love in the church. Just read a great post about the reason some small groups grow and others do not. The result of the research showed the leaders own personal prayer life was the biggest determining factor. The implication is people are only attracted to Jesus by people who are attached to Jesus. You need to work on attaching people to Jesus.

  • J. Randal Matheny 4:36 pm on 2010-01-24 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church growth, ,   

    The Recent Comment section is showing me bad links that go nowhere. Anybody confirm that? I’d hoped somebody back in the WP system had fixed that.

    We’re in between meetings of SJCampos and Taubate churches, heading out to the latter in a few minutes. Takes 40 minutes from our house to the hotel conference room where we meet.

    Have been talking with the SJCampos about new meeting place to rent. So much bureaucracy to wade through. Laws have become stricter for churches after some Pentecostal buildings caved in. Almost so much so that it’s nigh to impossible to find a good spot.

    If the Gospel of Mark was written to Romans, as some suppose, it would be no coincidence that the writer has a Roman centurion exclaim in front of the cross, “Truly this man was the Son of God.” The gospel is for Romans too!

    And Mark finds his voice. If he’s the cowardly young man who leaves his clothes in the authorities’ hands and runs, and the man who abandons Paul and Barnabas in mid-journey, he’s probably no dynamic public speaker or synagogue teacher. But he knows how to write a gospel to usher Romans before the cross and have them confess Christ. That’s a good evangelist.

    I hope you’ve found your voice on this rainy, stormy Sunday.

  • J. Randal Matheny 12:35 am on 2009-12-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church growth,   

    Church growth 

    Much church growth literature today is how to make your #church bigger rather than how to spread the #gospel in the world. Big difference.

    That’s the little blurb about church growth that I put on Twitter and, through that service, on Facebook that has garnered a number of positive comments. More than I usually get, anyway. When I studied church growth back in 1982-83, it was a missionary enterprise. Today it has turned inward, into a 1-2-3 step-by-step American-flavored recipe to bake a bigger church.

    The American church is influenced by its surrounding culture: bigger is better; money solves problems; build it and the people will come; volunteerism never gets the job done, so the more salaried people the more gets accomplished.

    There is much to love in the American church, but there are points where she is blind as a bat. And the denominational literature on church growth, today, is one part Tony Robbins, one part Peter Drucker, two parts Roger Ailes.

    Whatever happened to Donald McGavran?

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