Sunday, January 23, 2011


Len Hjalmarson notes six out of seven ways in which growth and expansion in church life can be inhibited. He's taken these from Roland Allen's 1920s book, The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, and the causes that hinder it.

1. when the church is dependent on paid leadership;

2. when the spread of the gospel is controlled out of fear of error, and both error and godly zeal are suppressed;

3.when it is believed that the church is to be founded , educated, equipped, and established in the doctrine, ethics and organization before it is to expand;

4. when emerging leaders are restricted from ministering until they are fully trained and so learn the lesson of inactivity and dependency;

5. when conversion is seen as the result of clever argument rather than the power of Christ;

6. when professional clergy control the ministry and discourage the spontaneous zeal of non-professionals. They may protect the new believers from charlatans (Acts 8:9-24) but they also block unconventional leaders like Peter the fisherman.

Allen's views are counter-cultural to the approach still taken by most seminaries and denominations. In other words, this prophetic voice is still not getting through to the majority of church organisations, or, if it's making any impact, it's v....e....r....y slow.

However, in the emerging church scene, this approach is certainly more common.

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