This afternoon, I attended a seminar on church growth put forth by Dr. Carlton P. Byrd at the Riverside Seventh-day Adventist church in Nashville, TN.
The Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church, where he pastors, has experienced tremendous growth since his being placed in the church.
The seminar is the same seminar that he has presented in other venues where he describes his method for church growth. The method centers on creating an “atmosphere” of growth that he calls an “Evangelistic Culture.” Dr. Byrd specifically speaks of three areas where this intentional attention should be made to create this culture.
The first area that needs to be intentionally rethought with the mindset of growth is worship. Dr. Byrd was quick to state that this is not only about music, but it is about the entire worship experience. He noted that in some churches there is a pleasant experience from the person who tells you where to park, to the usher who seats you, all the way to through the service.
This culture shows itself by intentionally seeking to eliminate anything from the service that works against growth. From the rude usher to the elder who does not know how to read the scripture.
The second area is evangelistic outreach. Here we are looking to build up interests by intentional engagement with the community. Dr. Byrd gave some examples that have been done in Atlanta. The first is a block party where hundreds of names were collected. Another was what he calls a “tract attack” where the people go out and pass out tracts. It is interesting that Dr. Byrd goes out with all the rest of the people. Another approach is to have musical services with popular names.
Traditional approaches are also a part of this method. He has included bible workers in his method. Dr. Byrd noted that when he originally came to Berean there was 1 Bible worker, but now he has hired 5 of them. These Bible Workers are always seeking interests and giving Bible Studies. In preparation for his next meeting he is seeking 10K interests.
I had to leave early so I did not hear this aspect of the approach, but Dr. Byrd does engage in public campaigns that are essentially reaping meetings. One can be sure that Dr. Byrd believes that they should be put together just as well as the worship service.