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CHURCH formation

The number of disciple-making story groups will grow as the number of disciples to lead them increase.  When story group saturation begins occurring in an area, churches should begin forming.  We depend on the Holy Spirit to push growth at the right time in the right directions until every UPG village has a disciple-making story group.  Story groups are coached to include church functions in weekly meetings - Proclaiming God's Word, Prayer, Worship, Leadership, Giving, Lord's Supper, Making Disciples, Baptism, Love. When those functions are included, that group becomes a church. 



Churches formed out of groups will likely continue to function primarily with Bible storytelling due to the nature of oral cultures. They will preach, teach, evangelize, and disciple with Bible storytelling and story groups.  Bible storytelling will likely drive desire for reading because listeners know the written Bible has many more stories.  A mother tongue, Bible translation project is completed more quickly when mother tongue speakers are motivated to help the translators.  Bible storytelling, a written Bible translation, and literacy will help drive and deepen church growth. The circle represents a disciple-making Bible story group. 

CHURCH growth


The functions inside this circle represents what the members of the group are doing and the functions outside the circle represent what the members of the group are not doing. The members of the group are doing some very important functions of a church. However, there are a few functions that members of the small group are not yet doing. If the members of group are not doing all the functions of a church, then decide how to begin doing them.


These symbols represent 9 basic functions of a church. Some of these functions have already been discovered in the stories in the Commands of Christ lessons. 

God's Word
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make disciples
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last supper

Once a group has identified itself as a church, then dashed circle Is changed to a solid line. The goal is to have a healthy church where all of the functions are being done by the members of the small group. It is helpful to keep a record of the following information:

  • The date when your small group or church started to meet.

  • The location of your small group or church.

  • Number of people in your small group or church.

  • Number of believers in your small group or church.

  • Number of believers who have been baptized.

  • The names of your small group or church leaders.

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