Jul 14, 2015
When my organization, Beyond, reports statistics about churches and believers, it’s because we have spreadsheets and lists of those entities, and we use the following definitions.Baptized believers: A person from the people group who has made a profession of faith in Christ (Romans 10) and has received baptism.
The baptism has been verified.
Group: a regular meeting to learn to obey the commands of Jesus (not necessarily baptized believers!) and/or baptized followers of Christ.
DBS and T4T formats are typical of the group meeting process.
These are “seeker-oriented” groups - they do not always become churches, and are not counted among church numbers.
Church: A group of baptized believers who regularly meet and carry out the functions such as described in Acts 2:37-47, have recognized leaders, and have self-identified as a church.
Some movements do not define a church as a church until it starts another ekklesia. Also, because of the distinctive focus on obedience-based discipleship, combined with studies of Acts 2 and other passages on the responsibilities of the church, some movements will not define a church as a church unless they are feeding the poor, healing the sick, helping the widows, etc.
Finally, we emphasizing discipling whole “households” - pre-existing social units - to faith, rather than grouping strangers.
In these situations, leadership is typically already present in the group, and then enhanced by God’s giving of gifts, etc.