F. Evangelism is a reinforcing process.

F. Evangelism is a reinforcing process. There are four basic ways for the gospel to enter a culture; all reflect a form of cross-cultural incarnation and contextualization. Donald McGavran, a missionary executive in India, noticed that the gospel spread more effectively within a particular cultural group; this success in a rigidly prejudiced society led to the formulation of the famous but dated Principle of Homogeneity: “Men like to become Christians without crossing racial, linguistic or class barriers.”[1] Traditional church growth theory understands that the gospel expands through the relational network which McGavran called “the bridges of God.”[2] This classic missiological strategy focuses on establishing one or more converts within a targeted ethnic group and supporting their indigenous work of evangelizing their own ethnic group through existing relationships in their existing personal networks. Known as a person of peace approach, diffusion of the gospel begins through the conversion of a key person of influence and the gospel then spreads throughout that person’s network of influence, particularly among family relatives.[3]





[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 www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html. 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 CreateSpace.com.

[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]Donald McGavran, Understanding Church Growth (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970), 198. At Yoido Church, cells are homogenous while the entire church is heterogenous. Paul Yongii Cho with R. Whitney Manzano, More Than Numbers (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1984), 46, 44.

[2]Donald A. McGavran, The Bridges of God, http://www.uscwm.org/mobilization_division/ resources/perspectives_reader_pdf’s/B18_McGavran_TheBridges.pdf (accessed May 15, 2007).

[3]Matthew 10:11-13, Luke 10:5-8. Cf. David Garrison, Church Planting Movements: How God Is Redeeming a Lost World (Midlothian, VA: WIGTake Resources, 2004), 211-213. Cf. Neil Cole, Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005), 181-184.

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