C. Peter Wagner, a ‘Conservative Congregational Christian Conference’ Pastor and Missionary, was mentored by the Founder of the Field of Church Growth: Dr. Donald A. McGavran — Fuller Theological Seminary.
His Mentor in what he calls ‘The Spiritual Principles of Church Growth,’ was John Wimber, founder of the Association of Vineyard Churches and Vineyard Ministries International.
Using the Allegorical Method of Biblical Interpretation, Wagner “discovered” that when Jesus was talking about not putting new wine in old wineskins [Mt. 9:17], He was really talking about not doing church the same in every culture and/or in every age.
His research revealed Jesus did not always build His Church the same way. What He did in the Roman Empire was different from what He did in the Middle Ages, from what He did following the Reformation, from the way He did during the European Colonization, from what He did Post World War II, etc.
As a ‘Professional Missiologist,’ Wagner saw a pattern in what he called ‘three amazing church growth movements:’ The African Independent Churches, The Chinese House Churches, The Latin American Grassroots Churches and The American Independent Charismatic Churches.
In his article for Zondervan’s Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements , entitled “Church Growth,” Wagner pointed to the American Independent Charismatic Church movement as the “fastest growing segment of Christianity in the United States in our times.”
Wagner saw a ‘pattern of divine blessing today on certain identifiable groups of churches.’
He then asked himself the question: “What are their common characteristics?”
1. A New Name — He settled on the New Apostolic Reformation
2. A New Authority Structure — Pastor as Apostle [re-defined as “sent out with a commission”]
3. A New Leadership Training Model — Home-Grown v. Bible College / Sem. Trained
4. A New Ministry Focus — Start with the Present Situation and Focus on The Future
5. A New Worship Style — Contemporary, Performance-Oriented, Worship
6. New Prayer Forms — Concert Prayer [everyone praying at the same time, aloud — some in a prayer language, others in the vernacular], Singing Prayer, Praise Marching, Prayer Walking, Prayer Journeys, Prayer Expeditions.
7. New Financing — Tithing is taught without apology! You don’t tithe, you have a sp. problem!
8. New Outreach — Not just Mission and Church Planting, but community relief programs
9. New Power Orientation — A non-cessationist philosophy, whether they speak in tongues or not, with an openess to supernatural power: healings, demonic deliverance, spiritual warfare, prophecy, spiritual mapping, prophetic acts, fervent intercession and travail, etc.
Look Around! Any Questions….beside the obvious?