Church health, Peter Wagner, Rick Warren, Christian Schwarz, Gary McIntosh, megachurches


Donald McGavran observed isolationist tendencies in the church and proposed both methodological consistency and sociological analysis as factors critical to evangelistic success. Later, church growth thinkers devolved into a syncretistic pragmatism that, over time, rendered the church as irrelevant as the church McGavran sought to combat. I synthesize various strands running through the history of the Church Growth Movement and isolate contributing factors to diversification through critical interaction with a contemporary of Donald McGavran—Lesslie Newbigin. Newbigin’s understanding of the relationships among gospel, church, and culture serves as the foundation for understanding how a church can slip into a position of either syncretism that overvalues culture or a position of irrelevance that undervalues culture.