Reclaiming the Biblical Pattern for Church Growth: Lessons from Acts
October 12-13, 2012
2012 Cheyenne Reformation Conference
Many American Protestant denominations and churches trace their roots to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century. While some of these denominations and churches invoke memories of this heritage, many have rejected certain truths originally confessed by the reformers. One such truth is the way Christ’s continuing presence and power enables His Church to grow and to fulfill His Great Commission. The Cheyenne Reformation Conference is hosting a forum in which this theme will be examined and discussed. Dr. Derek Thomas will show us how the Biblical pattern for church growth found in the Acts of the Apostles is right for today. Indeed, like the New Testament Church, we face relentless opposition to the Gospel and it is not unreasonable to note that our contemporary, postmodern world increasingly mirrors the world of the apostles.
Join us this fall and you will see, as the Book of Acts so clearly demonstrates, that no obstacle can withstand the power of the Gospel and why the Holy Spirit teaches us to “expect great things”. We look forward to seeing you for a time of fellowship and Bible study as we look at this essential element of the Christian faith.
Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas
Originally from Wales, Dr. Thomas is Minister of Preaching and Teaching at First Presbyterian Church-Columbia, SC; Distinguished Visiting Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary and Editorial Director, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. After pastoring for 17 years in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Dr. Thomas came to the USA in 1996. Prior to his present pastorate, he served as minister of teaching at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, MS. A graduate of RTS in 1978, he gained a Ph.D. from the University of Wales, Lampeter in Calvin’s preaching on the book of Job.
He has written or edited several books, including Acts (Reformed Expository Commentary), How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home, Calvin’s Teaching on Job: Proclaiming the Incomprehensible God, Making the Most of Your Devotional Life, and Praying the Saviors Way. He also co-edited, Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship. He has contributed commentaries to a variety of series, including Let’s Study Revelation and Let’s Study Galatians, God Delivers: Isaiah Simply Explained, The Storm Breaks: Job Simply Explained and God Strengthens: Ezekiel Simply Explained. Many of his books are available at the Ligonier Ministries Store Dr. Thomas and his wife Rosemary have been married for more than 35 years. They have two adult children, Ellen and Owen, two grandchildren, a loyal dog called Jake and a “snobby” cat called Chloe.
Friday, October 12
6:00 p.m. Registration Opens
6:15 p.m. Conference Concert
6:45-8:00 p.m. Session 1: The Basics: Descriptive or Prescriptive?
Luke describes the distinctive character of the early church in Acts 2: 42-47. This session will look at these distinctives, contrast them with contemporary methods for church growth and explore if the character of the early church is normative for our own church.
Saturday, October 13
8:30 a.m. Registration opens
9:00 – 10:15 a.m. Session 2: Luke’s Theology of Prayer and Church Growth
As we read Acts we encounter an early church steeped in prayer. This session will examine Luke’s theology of prayer, will note that the church in our own time has almost abandoned corporate prayer and will encourage us to reclaim the Biblical pattern.
10:30 – 11:45 a.m. Session 3: Church Growth by Putting the Gospel First
Numerous times throughout Acts, Paul seems to be in conflict, not just with the world, but with a fearful and suspicious church. This session will examine Paul’s evangelistic ministry of putting the proclamation of the Gospel first, the church growth that follows and encourage us to apply Paul’s methods.
12:00 – 12:45 p.m. Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Session 4: Lessons from Ephesus: The Need for Godly Elders
In Acts 20 we find Paul speaking directly and at length to an audience described as elders. This session will consider Paul’s charge to the Ephesian elders for continued church growth and stability. We will see that the pattern for apostolic ministry is just as relevant today as it was in the early church.
2:15-3:15 p.m. Q&A session
3:15 p.m. Conference Ends
Lord’s Day, October 14
We extend a warm invitation to all visitors to worship with us. Dr. Thomas will be preaching at our 10:30 a.m. service.
Here are resources for the conference:
Here are the recordings of the conference: