A comparison of the effectiveness of selected church planting models measured by conversion growth and new church starts
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This dissertation examines the relationship between church planting model employment, conversion growth and the rate of new church starts, and the various contexts in which churches are planted. The desired outcome is a more thorough understanding of which church planting models are more effective in certain contexts. The dissertation opens by identifying the research concern for the need to determine which models of church ministry best fit the various cultural contexts which now exist on the North American continent. A review of the precedent literature is also included which covers the biblical and theological foundations of church planting, as well as missiological foundations which guide church planting. A thorough description of each of the models examined in this study is also given in light of the literature base. The precedent literature review is followed by a description of the methodological design for this study, which describes the two phases of the research. A survey instrument was developed by the researcher based on the research questions guiding the current study. Data from the instrument obtained the necessary information to determine if relationships exist between conversion growth, convert retention, and model selection. A description of the research findings follows. The data confirmed much of what the precedent literature had claimed. Yet the data also revealed an inverted relationship between the size of the churches and the rate of conversion growth. An evaluation of the research design described the strengths and weaknesses of the study in detail. The study concludes by suggesting that the demographics of individuals reached by the church planting models examined largely coincide with the contentions of the precedent literature. The study also suggests that Southern Baptists are still effective at reaching the demographic typical of their present makeup. Yet much improvement is needed, most notably among ethnic groups and emerging generations. The study also applies the findings to church planting praxis, principally by suggesting that slower growth will be the norm in churches that actively seek the lost. It is also suggested that more attention should be given to emerging models of church planting.