Bean Counting or Gardening: Is the global church making converts or disciples?

Author: Rose Dowsett, OMF International

Abstract:

Counting numbers and gathering statistics has a long and noble history, biblically and in church and mission history. But, in recent years, has focus on number crunching and concern to shape strategy in the light of numerical data sometimes obscured the true state of the church? Is it quite as healthy as raw numbers might seem to suggest? In recent decades, we have often been overwhelmed with news of the rapid growth of the church in China, Korea, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America amongst others. But in many of those countries, there are signs that all is not well: people are leaving the church, especially young people; others are clearly syncretistic in belief or untouched in fundamental values and behaviour, even where that is inconsistent with the gospel. The time has come when we need to take stock, and ask how the church may grow in depth as well as breadth, in order that in the present she may glorify God, and may be preserved into the future to disciple another generation.

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