"Effective Evangelism" in the City: Donald McGavran's Missiology and Urban Contexts
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SubjectMcGavran, Donald A.(Donald Anderson),1897-1990
Witness bearing (Christianity)
This dissertation examines the missiology of Donald A. McGavran as it applies in urban contexts. Chapter 1 introduces the research question by examining the current state of global urbanization and urban missions. Alongside the study of urban missions is an outline of the rise of Donald McGavran's church growth thought through the twentieth century, including the rise and decline of the Church Growth Movement's missiological emphasis. Chapter 2 includes a more in-depth biographical study of Donald Anderson McGavran and an outline of his church growth missiology. The biographical section surveys McGavran's missionary career and the development of church growth thought. The chapter concludes with an outline of key principles of church growth missiology. Chapter 3 presents an overview of McGavran's understanding of urban missions, including a survey of his writing and teaching directed specifically at urban missions. Because much of McGavran's influence on cities came through his students at the Institute of Church Growth and the School of World Mission at Fuller Theological Seminary, the chapter includes a brief outline of his students' work. The final three chapters go more deeply into three key elements of McGavran's urban missiology that have application to contemporary urban ministry. Chapter 4 addresses McGavran's contention that research is a key to church growth, with an emphasis on his advocacy of urban research. Chapter 5 explains McGavran's understanding of evangelism in urban contexts. Within this understanding, three important facets of evangelistic strategy are addressed: people movements, the Homogeneous Unit Principle, and church planting. Chapter 6 delves into McGavran's work related to "holistic" missions and his understanding of the relationship between social ministry and missions. McGavran's leadership in the conciliar/evangelical debates is addressed, as is his own work related to social justice issues. Chapter 7 answers the final research question, how might McGavran's teachings be applied in urban contexts today, if at all? The dissertation concludes with a summary and reinforcing insights from McGavran's teaching on urban missions.