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Greg Brothers is an Adventist pastor in Oregon.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Fragment of an early church epistle, recently discovered at Tel al-nutherwan

Dear Paul:

Thank you for your letter concerning your ideas for a “church plant” in Ephesus. While we value your enthusiasm, we do have some concerns regarding the wisdom of your approach.

First, it should be noted that Ephesus is a somewhat problematic location for evangelistic activity. Our surveys show that the “Temple of Diana” is extremely popular with all major segments of the local population; this clearly indicates that your work in Ephesus would meet with little success – and even outright hostility.

Then too, you have neglected one of the most important principles in church growth – that of “homogenous groups.” As you should know, people like to be with people like themselves; that is why we urge churches to target one specific group for outreach (such as blue-collar fans of Country Music, or upper-middle class married couples with children in college who own a second-home on the coast, eat out at least twice a week, and enjoy light jazz). Needless to say, your plans to reach “both Jew and Gentile, both Greek and barbarian, both slave and free” are commendable, but hopelessly unrealistic.

Finally, it’s clear that you’ve not yet made adequate plans for the continuing leadership needs of your “church plant.” As you should know, current research proves that long pastorates are best; churches do best when their pastors stay in place for a long time. If you want to start a church in Ephesus, in other words, then you really should plan on spending the rest of your life in nurturing the people there.

Included with this letter you’ll find a brochure, listing some of the seminars and workshops we offer on effective church growth. Please look it over – and if there’s any way we can help you in the future, don’t hesitate to call.

Sincerely yours

TK Enumclaw

Thaddeus K. Enumclaw, President
WEEDS: the World-wide Evangelistic Education & Development Service

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