Standard church growth theory focuses on evangelizing among the existing social networks of church members regardless of geography.

This entry is part 104 of 118 in the series Diagnosis, Dialogue, Decision: A DMin Project

Standard church growth theory focuses on evangelizing among the existing social networks of church members regardless of geography. Adaptations in the second and third waves of cell churches tend to minimize geographical considerations which are perceived as limiting; cell networks expand without consideration of geographical proximity in order to immediately take advantage of existing relationships.[1] After initial success, geographic dispersal interferes with opportunities for interaction and the growth rate slows down.[2]





[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]Comiskey, From Twelve to Three, 11-13. McGavran calls the relational network “the bridges of God” while Neighbor and Arn use the biblical term “oikos.” It is also known as the “FRAN Plan” of existing relationships among Friends, Relatives, Acquaintances and Neighbors. Cf. Bruce D. Tuttle, “FRAN Plan to Help Church Members Share Faith,” Offering Christ Today, January-March 2000, under (accessed June 13, 2007).

[2]For an explanation of why geographically determined networks are preferred, see Randy Frazee, Connecting Church, Illinois Great Rivers Conference, United Media Resource Center (Item #103018; CCN Broadcast Date: October 25, 2005), (accessed June 13, 2007).

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