Our Philosophy of Ministry
We are committed to multiplying leaders, ministries and churches. Here's why...
It's a Scriptural Priority
1. We are committed to the Biblical mandate to evangelize and to congregationalize according to Christs Great Commission and the example of the New Testament disciples (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 8:1-5).
2. We believe this work is distinctly of the Holy Spirit. It is His initiating, equipping, empowering, guiding, and sustaining that enables His people to perceive a vision, make wise plans, appropriate resources, challenge and train church planting pastors, and raise up new churches in places lacking a strong, positive evangelical witness (Acts 1:8). Thus, our philosophy is built upon the Word of God and empowered by the Spirit of God. We believe as a basic core value the message of Scriptural Holiness is to be proclaimed in every reasonable way possible as a key to our commitment to the Great Commission (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; Acts 15:9). This core value cannot be fulfilled unless there is a regular procession of newly saved people in all our churches and new churches are regularly planted across our denomination.
3. We further believe that the gift of apostleship is valid until Christ returns for His Church. The Holy Spirit calls and equips people to be sent out to begin new churches. The body of believers has the God-given responsibility to pray for and expect the Lord of the harvest to send workers into the fields that are ripe unto harvest (Matthew 9:35-38).
4. We believe it is the responsibility of the Annual Conference through its Board of Church Extension and other agencies of the Conference and the Denomination to assist church planting pastors in every way possible and practicable. This, we believe, includes intercessory prayer backing, financial support for designated periods of time, training and equipping through books, tapes, seminars, on-the-field instruction and involvement, and encouragement through every means possible (Acts 13:1-2; 15:1ff).
5. We believe the Biblical philosophies of evangelism and church planting are combined with the Biblical philosophy of stewardship. Therefore, while always open to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and while open to the possibility of starting new Evangelical Churches wherever it appears an open door is available, it is the intention of The Evangelical Church to begin new churches primarily in cities of 20,000 or more people.
6. We believe every culture and ethnic group should hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore we will attempt, as the Holy Spirit leads, to plant new Evangelical Churches among the different ethnic and cultural communities.
7. We believe that while each local church and Annual Conference will have its unique personality, we will be most effective when we work together as a Kingdom Team (1 Corinthians 8, 9).
8. We believe that investing in the ministry of church planting is a wise stewardship of responsibilities and resources; our primary focus is not on the cost, but on the dividends for the Kingdom of God. Therefore, we believe the future of church planting is as bright as the promises of God!
It's a Cultural Necessity
1. In our nation 80% of our people are unchurched and 80% of churches are plateaued or declining.
2. North America is the only continent where Christianity is not currently growing.
3. Currently in our nation, churches are closing three times faster than they are being planted. Between 3,500-4,000 churches close each year while only 1,100-1,500 are planted each year.
4. Church attendance has declined in our nation from 50% in 1958 to 37%* or less in 1996. (*Some say 20% or less.)
5. In 1900 there were 27 churches per 10,000 people. In 1997 there are only 10 churches per 10,000 people in the United States.
6. God is bringing more and more people groups to our nation, presenting new opportunities to evangelize and start new churches.
7. There are over 200 million unchurched people in our nation . . . the United States is the third largest mission field in the world!
It's a Kingdom Possibility!
We are Becoming a Church Planting Movement!
* New churches are more 11 times more effective in reaching people than are existing churches.
* Peter Wagner has written recently, "Church planting is the most effective method of reaching lost people under heaven."
* The Evangelical Church has added 30 churches in the first 30 years of our existence. For that we thank God.
But, in the past 5 years we have made tremendous strides in becoming more effective...we are now planting churches 4 times faster than ever before! We are becoming a denominational planting movement of conferences and churches planting churches which plant more churches for a maximum Kingdom harvest.