The English congregation at North Toronto Chinese Baptist Church (NTCBC) has experienced a significant decline in recent years in the depth of fellowship between members, sense of pastoral care within the church, and stagnation in growth. While recognizing that these problems are rarely caused by a single factor, the goal of this paper is to present a contextually sensitive, biblical and theologically informed strategy to address the three presenting problems at NTCBC and reform the existing structure of fellowship and small groups within the English congregation.
This paper contains three major parts. Part One describes external and internal factors to NTCBC contributing to our problems. The external factors considered include the distance between English congregation members and their parents that results in a desire for deeper community; the unique needs of Canadianized Chinese Canadians that call for greater pastoral care; characteristics of the Chinese Church that makes it highly dependant on immigration for growth, and general problems associated with this postmodern generation. Internal factors highlighted include weaknesses in the current strategy of large fellowships, over-reliance on paid clergy, and use of large scale evangelistic events for outreach.
Part Two presents a biblical and theological foundation to address the problems at NTCBC. The Bible and theology confirm that facilitating the meeting of God through the small group ministry at NTCBC will address our needs.
Part Three of this paper proposes a two-pronged approach to the solution - the cultivation of small groups that foster meeting with God, and a reformation of the small group structure at NTCBC. The specific strategies in this approach are to encourage lectio divina and introduce the Hybrid Model. After suggesting a basic timeline for implementation of changes, including some key statistics for evaluation, preliminary results are presented.
Theological Mentor: Kurt Fredrickson, DMin
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Tham, Ted, "A Strategy to Develop Small Groups at NTCBC for Community, Pastoral Care, and Growth" (2008). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 6.