General Board of Global
Florida Southern College
Bethune Cookman College
UM Children's Home
By Charles W. Courtoy
An Effective Evangelistic Strategy
Executive Director of Church Development
Are new churches an
effective strategy in winning new persons for Christ, or are they primarily a strategy of
keeping members who are moving away from older neighborhoods with their established
Dr. Roger Swanson, assistant general secretary of Evangelism of the Board of Discipleship,
asserted at the September Florida Conference cabinet retreat that the number one strategy
for church growth is new church starts. The Rev. Steve Compton, director of Congregational
Growth for the North Carolina Conference, documents in the September issue of the Circuit
Rider that new church starts in that conference account for a high percentage of that
conferences growth. What about the Florida Conference?
I began with 1960 and looked through the year 1996, a 37-year period. During that time 168
new congregations were launched. Of these, 18 have since closed, leaving 150 functioning
congregations chartered during this 37-year period. These 150 congregations comprised 21
percent of the 712 chartered Florida Conference churches at the end of 1996. According to
the 1997 Journal these 150 congregations (21 percent) accounted for 3,671 persons on
confession of faith in 1996 or 36 percent of the 10,166 persons received on confession of
faith by the 712 Florida Conference churches. The answer is clearly that new church starts
have been an effective strategy.
The 1996 figures do not reflect the new churches we have launched, but not chartered,
since 1995. These new churches have a very clear vision of reaching the unchurched for
Jesus Christ. The initial reports indicate that more than 40 percent of the people being
reached by our newest churches are persons without a Christian commitment.
Through you and your churchs support of the New Church Start Apportionment, you are
helping to make Disciples for Jesus Christ. Thank you!
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