Welcome to Church Growth MC520

Welcome to MC520, Church Growth and Contemporary Culture!
I’m excited to be learning together with you in just a few weeks. We will have ten days, face-to-face, to explore the works of Donald McGavran and church growth theory. I think it will be time well spent.

I want to help you be prepared for the first day, as we will be jumping into the material right away. So, before our first meeting (four weeks from today), I would like you to read three books, the first three on our list. The first two give us most everything we want to learn from McGavran — his two key works. The third book is the most helpful critique on the movement, written by those sympathetic to its aims. It will help us in our discussions as well. I want you to write book reviews for each of these three books, and the format is listed below. These three reviews are due the first day of class. I’ve also included the way book reviews are graded to help you structure your review.

We will be meeting in Psych 120, on the first floor of the Psych

Our TA for the course will be James Watson, newly arrived Ph.D. student
from Canada and church growth expert.

I believe we will have a great experience together.

Ryan Bolger

Ryan K. Bolger
Assistant Professor of Church in Contemporary Culture
Fuller Theological Seminary
135 No. Oakland Ave.
Pasadena Ca 91182
(626) 584-5263

Books to read before class:
McGavran, Donald A., Bridges of God. Wipf and Stock, 2005 (reprint)
McGavran, Donald A. Understanding Church Growth. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1990. (294 pp)
Engle, Paul E. and Gary L. McIntosh, eds. Evaluating the Church Growth
Movement. Grand Rapids, IL: Zondervan, 2004.

Book Review Format
1. List the author, the title and date of book, publisher, and label it as a “book review”,
2. Briefly describe the author(s), especially information relevant to this particular work.
3. Summarize the contents of the book in the following order:
a. The thesis of the book
b. The main sections (outline) of the book in short summary paragraphs,
showing how each section develops an aspect of, or gives support for,
the main thesis.
4. Give your own personal reaction to the author’s thesis and its
development, positively, negatively, or both. Express in personal terms
your own opinion, experience, and perspective of the subject matter
presented; if possible, synthesize this work with other works with
which you are familiar. Reflect on how this material might be helpful
to the content of the class as well as to your current or future

Book Review Grading

5 pts. Outstanding: The level of thinking and communication are
outstanding. You critically evaluate the book, integrate it in the
analysis of the class material and show how it is applicable in the
context you have chosen. Additionally, you synthesize models to create
new understandings and/or theory. This is NOT a common grade.
4.5 pts. Very good: The level of thinking and communication are good.
You appear to understand the book and have made progress in showing how
it is applicable in the context you have chosen. In addition, you have
begun to integrate this material with other class topics.
3.5 – 4 pts. Acceptable but definitely below average: The level of
thinking and communication are barely acceptable. Although it appears
you have read the book, compared it to other class topics, and have
started to consider how it is applicable in the context you have
chosen, you have not clearly demonstrated these findings.
3 pts. Not acceptable: You may have tried, but this is not
graduate level work.


1 Response to “Welcome to Church Growth MC520”

  1. 1 Florian January 28, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    I found your blog via google by accident and have to admit that youve a really interesting blog 🙂
    Just saved your feed in my reader, have a nice day 🙂

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