This research was designed to measure the results of implementing a disciple making program for the growth of
Elim Christian Reformed Church of Garden Grove, Southern
California, which was a Korean immigration church in the United States of America. The project was prompted by conflict and slow growth of the church. To solve these problems the writer decided to use the disciple making program because he believed that this program was the best way to promote the growth of the church.
The Elim Disciple College was instituted to contribute to the growth of the church, of which the goal was thirty per cent growth rate for a period of six months from July, 1992 to December, 1992. During the implementation of this disciple making program the students of the disciple college were intensively trained, and they did their best to teach and bring in new members.
The students of the college responded to the questionaires on their own maturity and workdone to see three kinds of growth in the church: quantitative growth, qualitative growth, and financial growth. They were asked to respond to many items under five specific categories: (1) attendance, (2) prayer, (3) Bible study, (4) giving and service, and (5) evangelism. Selected members from the congregation at random responded to the church member perception questionaire for evaluation of the results of the program also.
In addition, the church documents and student interview records were used for measurement of the results. All the data were used for measurement of the church growth in quantity, in quality, and in finance, which were presented in the hypotheses of this project.
After all, the implementation of the program resulted in the considerable growth of the church in quantity (44%), in quality (gained greater maturity in the light of their religious life), and in finance (16%).
New findings after implementation of this program were membership stabilization and emotional mobilization of the congregation of the Elim Christian Reformed Church of Garden Grove, Southern California.
BOO YOUNG JANG
Reformed Theological Seminary
A STUDY OF DISCIPLE MAKING PROGRAM FOR THE GROWTH
OF THE ELIM CHRISTIAN REFOERMED CHURCH
IN GARDEN GROVE, CALIFORNIA
Boo Young Jang
Submitted to the Faculty
of Reformed Theological Seminary
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Doctor of Ministry
Advisor : Advisor : May 1994
The writer, first of all, thanks and praises God for His love and grace. He wishes to express his most sincere thanks to the members of his committee, Dr. Richard G. Watson and Dr. L. Roy Taylor for their encouragement and assistance during the preparation of this project study. A special thanks is expressed to Dr. Richard G. Watson who did positively help the writer be able to complete this dissertation as committee chairman. His encouragement, infinite patience, and warm friendship were invaluable to the writer. Dr. Watson did constantly challenge and faithfully lead the writer so that he could complete this dissertation.
To the writer's wife, Jung Boon Jang, who was always there with an encouraging word, a helping hand, patience, and love, a deep appreciation is extended.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ...................................... ii
LIST OF TABLES ....................................... v
CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION .............................. 1
Purpose of Study ................................. 10
Statement of the Problem ......................... 10
Definition of Terms .............................. 13
CHAPTER II. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE AND
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK .................... 17
Concept and Movement of Church Growth ............ 18
Importance of Church Growth ...................... 22
Principles of Church Growth ...................... 31
Strategies for Church Growth ..................... 34
Making Disciples for Church Growth ............... 44
Conclusion ....................................... 96
CHAPTER III. PROCEDURES AND TREATMENT OF DATA ........ 99
Treatment of the Subjects ....................... 104
Collection of the Data .......................... 108
Treatment of the Data ........................... 114
CHAPTER IV. RESULTS OF THE STUDY .................. 117
Hypothesis One .................................. 118
Hypothesis Two .................................. 119
Hypothesis Three ................................ 128
Other Findings .................................. 129
2. Table 2 Number and Increase Rate of the Membership
Participants in the Special Meetings...... 122
3. Table 3 Number and Increase Rate of Participation
in the Bible Study Programs............... 123
4. Table 4 Amount and Increase Rate of the Church
Finance Given by the Whole Congregation... 124
5. Table 5 Measurement of the Categorized Services
by the Students of the Disciple Colege.... 126
6. Table 6 Evangelistic Contact and Effectiveness by
the Disciple College Students............. 127
7. Table 7 Number and Rate of Total Membership
Increase by Sex........................... 130
8. Table 8 Number and Increase Rate of the Monthly
of Total Membership of the Church......... 131
9. Table 9 Measurement of Increase Membership
of the Church through the Evangelism...... 132
10. Table 10 Comparative Measurement of the Total
Membership between Pre-discipleship and
Post-discipleship Training................ 134
11. Table 11 Number and Increase Rate of Total
Membership of the Church by some Factors.. 135
12. Table 12 Measurement of the Categorized Prayer
Life of the Whole Disciple College
13. Table 13 Measurement through Self-evaluations
of the Disciple College Students.......... 146
14. Table 14 Measurement of Faith-state of the
Disciple College Students through
Interviews and Self-evaluations........... 147
15. Table 15 Church Membership Perception
Questionaire after the Disciple
Making Program............................ 149
God desires Christian Churches not only to grow but also to be faithful to Him. Church growth, therefore, is faithfulness to God (McGavran 1988, 5). Church growth should be considered in two dimensions: vertical and horizontal. Those are the relations of man to God and of man to man.
God's desire in Christ is a priority because God takes the initiative for the Church which Jesus Christ has founded on the earth (Mathew 16:18). "It is God's will for the Church to grow that His lost children be found," stated Donald McGavran in a church growth meeting in Pasadena, California (Hamilton 1981, 5).
The vertical dimension, which has been defined as the relation of man to God, is a theological issue related to the works of redemption. God has done the work of salvation. On this point, Henry C. Thiessen said:
God has a definite plan of salvation. This plan includes
the means by which salvation is to be provided, the
objectives that are to be realized, the persons that are
to benefit by it, the conditions on which it is to be
available, and the agents and means by which it is to be
applied. (Thiessen 1976, 277)
Christ has wrought salvation (Strong 1985, 665), andthe
Holy Spirit has applied it to man (Berkhof 1971, 415). In a
sense, Church growth is the blessing of God because the Church
cannot grow without God's help. It is possible for the Church
to grow only through the works of the Holy Spirit.
Nevertheless, God always uses human instrumentality in building
and producing a church. John T. Sisemore expounds this point
producing church growth. This observation does not mean that
man alone can produce authentic church
growth...church growth is the product of a unique
synergy--a coalescence of human effort and divine
empowerment. (Sisemore 1983, forward)
The Bible also says, "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow" (1 Cor. 3:6 NIV). In this verse the subject "I" must be identified with Paul the Apostle. Man is only an instrument used by God for His work while the growth belongs to God. This is the blessing and grace of God that He uses man for the purpose of producing the growth of His Church. The man who has been called into the ministry should carry out his mission for church growth. In other words, the mission is planting (seeding) and watering by means of preaching (evangelism) and administering (management).
These truths became evident to the writer as he ministered in America. He had been concerned about the preaching ministry while giving little attention to pastoral care of the congregation. This approach had caused no major difficulties in his ministry in Korea, but he began to have problems in his immigration ministry in America.
The writer now realizes how important the relationship was between the members of the church as well as the relationship of the church to God. He knew that just as it is important for a pastor to keep up his spiritual relationship with God through prayer and Bible reading, it is equally important for him to maintain a loving relationship with his congregation. This is horizontal part of the dual aspect of church growth.
The writer has made an analysis of the causes of the problems in his immigration church in America. First of all, the immigrants faced cultural differences which caused them to be excited and somewhat fearful. They eventually tried to calm themselves and adapt to their new culture, but they were apt to be depressed and overwraught by the shock.
Paul G. Hiebert has made an analysis of the causes of culture shock in detail in his book, Anthropological Insights for Missionaries. He analyzed the causes of culture shock as follows: (1) language shock, (2) change in routine, (3) change in relationships, and (4) loss of understanding (Hiebert 1985, 64-70). Hiebert concluded that such things cause various symptoms of culture shock such as rising stress, physical illness, and psychological and spiritual depression (Hiebert 1985, 71-74).
As a matter of fact, Korean immigrants have had a difficult time with culture shock in the United States. They have been troubled with stress as they confronted the political, social and economic systems. They have often been troubled with racial discrimination in their communities and places of employment.
As a result of stress, the immigrants are likely to experience a change in dispositions. They are ill at ease and unstable, thus becoming angry under the influence of stress. This anger occurs because they are unable to adapt to the heterogeneous culture due to lack of experience in bicultural life. Immigrants must become familiar with a bicultural life by becoming bilingual, for instance.
Most Korean people who have come to the United States have had a bitter experience here due to the culture shock they have encountered. The language shock caused them to lose their clarity of mind. Another frustration they faced was the change in their daily routine. In their home culture, they carried out their tasks efficiently, but in this new cultural setting, even the simplest jobs became difficult.
Many people come into church feeling this stress. Some would rather meet with their friends in order to talk over their problems instead of seeking Jesus. Of course, all people live with stress. Indeed, without it one would enjoy or achieve little in life. However, too much stress can be destructive, said Paul G. Hiebert (Hiebert 1985, 71). When such factors come into the church, serious problems may occur. The Korean immigration church has many cases of such problems.
Elim Christian Reformed Church, in which the writer has been serving, is one of these churches which has experienced problems. Once the church had a very difficult time. It was planted in the city of Westminster, California, where so many Vietnamese live that it is called Vietnamese Town. In 1988, the writer's church had fifteen members who had previously been unchurched though they were Christians. Some of these were deacons and deaconesses. The church grew rapidly in the beginning in spite of a poor location for a Korean ministry. There were no commercial centers or offices available for the Korean people in this predominantly Vietnamese city.
Nevertheless, the Elim Christian Reformed Church was a growing church. The reason for this was the relationship of the church members to the outsiders; the church members formed a connection with outsiders and brought them into the church.
Their main problem was the interrelationship among the church members and also between the pastor and the church members. Of course, they had a good mutual relationship in the early stages of church planting, but it was not long before this changed. Gradually the situation became more serious and the congregation began to quarrel as the Corinthians had (I Cor. 11:1).
This conflict continued for ten months, and then the church was divided into two parties. The reason for the church members' division, according to the writer, was that they not only lacked the grace and love of God in the vertical sense, but also due to the lack of pastoral leadership. There was a problem with church management. There was no discipleship training for the congregation.
In the early stages of the church, the pastor (writer) had twenty members of the diaconate, including twelve deaconesses, in the church. The Council of the church, the Steering Committee, consisted of this group because the church had no elders.
At that time, several deacons with strong personalities made trouble within the church. One of them let the church fall into trouble on three separate occasions during a nine-month period. At first, he would have meetings with his fellow deacons unofficially outside of church. He claimed that it was his right to lead the church as the supervisor as he claimed in a previous retreat meeting on the mountain. The congregation became troubled by his rashness, and they confronted him with concern. Yet he never saw the error in his behavior but instead gathered the people and tried to persuade them in order to control them. He continued in this way and eventually formed a group to serve his purposes.
The second time, he demanded that his pastor have a meeting with several deacons in order to discuss how to solve the problem they had debated previously. The pastor agreed to have the meeting for the purpose of keeping peace within the church and made the utmost effort to negotiate with and understand the deacon on behalf of the church leadership. However, the deacon did not intend to accept the views of the leadership. This resulted in quarreling between the two groups, namely the pastor's group and the deacon's group.
In the third instance the problem concerned a financial issue. The church could get financial support (GGC: Grants for Growing Churches) for the senior pastor of the church from the denomination. The pastor sent three persons of the Steering Committee including the deacon with whom he had problems to the Home Mission office of the denomination to gather information.
After visiting the office, the unhappy deacon opposed giving the senior pastor the GGC stating that the pastor would use it for his own purposes, but the GGC was intended only for the senior pastor's living expenses according to the plan of the denomination. So the pastor proposed to reduce his salary received from the church instead of receiving the GGC as a part of his living expenses from the denomination, and this was not accepted by the deacon. The deacon did firmly stick to his opinion that the church should not pay the GGC to the pastor. However, use of the GGC could not be changed for the purpose of other things, because the church had to report how the GGC was spent to their denomination, and it should be paid only to the pastor for his living in compliance with the supporting plan of the denomination for the growing church.
At last, the deacon began to incite anger among the deacons by telling exaggerated lies as to how the pastor spent the money. There were those who believed the deacon and this eventually resulted in the small group (and the deacon) leaving the church. Since that time, the church has become peaceful.
Of course, the pastor had told the deacon of his fault privately, but he would not listen. Thus, the pastor brought the deacon before one or two others. Finally he brought the matter before the congregation. Still the deacon would not acknowledge his fault, so the Steering Committee compelled him go along with those who supported him. The pastor did, of course, observe the problem carefully for nine months in order to determine the type of character this deacon displayed. He definitely was found to be ungovernable and inadequate for the ministry.
In this case the writer as the pastor found two reasons for the church's difficulty in its early stages. One was the person who, without training, formed his group against the congregation and the pastor. In other words, the
writer as pastor had failed in his ministry because he did not train the laity for ministry.
It can be said that church growth depends to a large on the officer training of the church. Rev. Taek Jin Lim said
that the Church cannot grow healthily without the training of its officers (Lim 1984, 20). If the pastor does not make disciples for the ministry, he will face two problems. First, there may be a rise in complications such as conflicts between the pastor and the leading members of the congregation. In fact, it occurred to the writer several years ago that he had encountered conflicts between pastor and laity due to troublesome people in the Elim Christian Reformed Church. G. Douglass Lewis said that whoever has conflicts is human. He said, "to be human means you will have conflict, you will experience it within yourself, between yourself and others, and between yourself and organizations" (Douglass 1984, 12). The conflicts may be a cause of a unified strife where the church becomes sick and divides into two separate groups.
Second, the church cannot grow when it is sick, just as man, animals, or trees cannot grow when they are sick. In other words, the Church cannot grow due to its sickness because it is an organic living body.
Why does conflict arise in the Church? It seems that the conflict, which may be the obstacle to church growth, is due to lack of discipleship. If that is true, disciple-making should not only resolve conflicts, but it should also enable the church to grow through mobilization of the lay people.
Purpose of the Study
This study aims at the development and application of instruments in Korean immigration churches in the United States of America for the purpose of promoting church growth. Of course, they can be applied to the churches in Korea, but this project has been particularly conceived to manage the conflicts specific to the immigration churches of the United States and to enable them to grow. The church, the writer believes, can prevent and resolve much of its conflict through making disciples.
What is better is that churches may grow through the disciple making program because it trains the church members not only to bring others into the church but also to help form their character in Christ. Though this project was conceived as disciple making and leader training, the church may also prevent and resolve many of its conflicts and grow in quantity and quality through this program.
Statement of the Problems In this project the writer has classified the growth of the church into three dimensions in order to deal with them. It is difficult, however, to develop each of these dimensions.
It is difficult to promote quantitative church growth in the immigration church in the United States for three reasons: limited Korean population, too many churches compared to the population, and the struggle for survival. Therefore, specific instruments for church growth should be developed in the context of the Korean immigration church in the United States. None the less, quantitative growth is as important as qualitative growth.
It is difficult continually to lead Christians in sanctification or qualitative growth in the church. Furthermore, it is difficult to measure the rate of growth because it is spiritual and invisible. For these reasons, it is hard to lead Christians in sanctification. The Bible
teaches us that it is possible for them (Christians) to be sanctified by the Word of God through the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. "It is a supernatural work," said Charles Hodge, a systematic theologian (Hodge, 1973, III-213).