22. Works and Mission Baptists Church, Abidjan, Ivory Coast (150,000)
23. Yotabeche Methodist P. Church, Santiago, Chile (150,000)
24. Mision Carismatica Internacional, Bogotá, Colombia (150,000)
25. Deeper Life Bible Church, Lagos, Nigeria (120,000)
Last year while visiting Yoido Full Gospel Church with a group of our students we examined their cell group structure and found in the previous12 months 170,000 persons had come to Christ from an unchurches/unreached background.
Another church that is cell based and also in the city of Seoul is Myung Sung Presbyterian Church. In the last 12 months they reached 17,000 people with the gospel. Their church averages approximately 100,000 people a week in the prayer services as well as the cell groups. It is listed as the largest Presbyterian Church in the world.Their founding and current pastor is Dr. Kim Sam Whan. We had the privilege of visiting him and this wonderful church last year with our students.
The second model has been called The Purpose Driven Model. Pastor Rick Warren has led Saddlebacks ministry since its inception. So great has been the impact that 1 out of every 9 people in the Saddleback Valley call the Saddleback Church their home. The priority of bringing people from the community to the crowd to the congregation to the core has mobilized 10's of 1000's of people to use their gifts talents and abilities to spread the gospel. Through the PEACE plan the gospel has been taken to the neediest parts of the world by these well discipled brothers and sisters.
Pastor Warren has outlined their philosophy of ministry and strategy for impacting their world in his book The Purpose Driven Church. He has developed resources and conferences to assist other pastors in America and around the world. Today literally 1000's of churches have adopted this model and their ministries are reaching more people with the gospel as a result.
The third model is what I've called the Seeker Model.
When Pastor Bill Hybels saw that most non-Christians had no interest in the Christian faith he began Willow Creek Church with the goal of developing a church to reach the unchurched. He shifted the Sunday Services from a primarily meeting for Christians to a service that the unchurched would love to attend. This was based of the most obvious of findings. He asked unchurched persons if they wanted to go to church what would be the best time. When they said Sunday morning he made Sunday morning the time sacred to reach the unchurched. He was the first church in America to have a weekly attendance in excess of 30,000. He with his key leaders wrote one of the best evangelism training tools in the world called The Contagious Christian. Books such as The Contagious Church, and The Contagious Christian have provide insight and help to hundreds if not 1000's of churches. The Willow Creek Association was formed with resources and conferences to train other churches and their pastors and leaders. Also developed was a unique plan to develop a turn-key kit to help plant new churches. All the resources including nursery equipment, chairs, lighting, information and coffee center, all the audio visual materials etc. put into a trailer or 2 and it can be used to set up church in any rented facility or school to establish a church. I personally know of church planters who have used this kit and the Willow Creek model and have built great churches in a few years because of this help and training.
The fourth model is called the Oikos Model. Its doesn't matter if the church has been growing or not. The reality is that 90% of all the persons who join the church will do so as a primary result of a friend or relative (the greek word oikos). The model is the intentionalizationOikos model organizes itself around equipping its members through all it does to reach their oikos.
Donald McGavran observed it on the mission field and wrote about it in The Bridges Of God. Win Arn popularized the concept through seminars and his book The Masters Plan and a church training kit by the same name. He also produced a film called For The Love Of Pete. Literally 1000's of pastors and churches took the materials he developed, and have as a result, intentionalized this oikos principle with the result in a greater number of Christians being involved in the greatest task of all, changing their world for Christ. Thousands have come to Christ as a result of simply identifying their God ordained circle of influence and doing whatever it takes to see them come to faith.
In the last few years the best model of this principle has been the High Desert Church led by Pastor Tom Mercer. This church in a small High Desert community has grown to an average weekly attendance of over 12,000 people. The church has grown by over 4000 people since last year. This growth is all the more remarkable since it primarily comes from 1st time adult conversions. Pastor Tom has developed a book, OIKOS: Your World Delivered as well as additional small group materials to help churches train their members how to reach their oikos. His book has already been translated into Korean and Pastor Tom has been released by his church for a limited amount of time to travel and help other churches. He is in high demand as a speaker and trainer. As he likes to say, "the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."
As I looked at each of these 4 models the first question I asked was what is it that makes a model effective. The following are the criteria I developed for a model to be considered
- Be effective in accomplishing it’s stated mission
- It must have identifiable principles and practice
- It must be duplicatable (others can use it)
- Culturally relevant and transferable (It can meet the needs of a variety of target audiences)
- In our culture most first time visitors touch the church through the worship experience first and the decision of first time visitors about ever coming back is made before they leave the first time
- There is little instruction in scripture related to worship styles but the instruction that is given is given for the sake of the stranger, or unbeliever present (See 1st Corinthians 14) There is no style or form in worship that is more important in priority than reaching the lost
- Most churches and Christians tend to be preference driven rather than purpose driven. This self-centered attitude has led to the numerous worship wars that occupy so much energy that should be put into our mission of reaching the lost.