A new model of church growth is teaching leaders that Biblical principles must come before a program can be adopted successfully. Called "church-based training," the model is rapidly gaining popularity at the grass-roots level.
On Sept. 13, the Center for Church Based Training brought its biblical values of leadership to Grace Pointe church in Chicago. Established in 1999 due to popular demand, the ministry helps pastors and other leaders understand that the Bible comes first.
Even though popular models such as "Purpose Driven" work for hundreds of thousands of churches worldwide, many churches do not implement the programs successfully, said the Centers President, James Roberts. That is because many churches do not understand that each program must be founded on biblical principles, such as caring for one another.
We've got to have relationships with every person that God brings to our door. Don't just throw around a program and say attend this group," said Roberts. Developing people is not a program. It's a value, but churches are just adopting programs.
Some 80 percent of churches are on the decline because of a lack of effective leadership, according to researcher and professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, Howard G. Hendricks.
Roberts believes the downward trend is directly related to a failure to transform people's lives. Transformation, he said, only comes from an understanding of the Bible.
"We're not teaching the Bible to the point that is getting it into people's hearts," said Roberts. "A lot of churches stop after presenting biblical principles."
The Center for Church Based Training attempts to counteract the downward trend by discipling the next generation of leaders through the Word of God. At the seminar, clergymen and lay leaders at varying stages of faith are taught Biblical truths about leadership.
"The new church-based training movement promises to return Christian ministry to biblical patterns of leadership development," Kerby Anderson, president of Probe Ministries, told the Center.
Chicago is just one stop along a twelve-city tour that the ministry conducts each fall. In addition, the organizers expect to speak in front of 3,000 pastors at conferences and events. The Center for Church Based Training has already made an impact on over 3,500 churches and distributed 85,000 products.