Church/Missions Resources

Eternal Truth Ministries exists to renew the spiritual vigor of local evangelical churches by affirming the authority of God's word and by focusing on biblical principles.

Current status of evangelical churches in the United States:

  1. Researchers estimate that more than 70,000 churches have recently or are currently experiencing major division and strife causing fracturing in the body and declining enthusiasm and attendance.
  2. Less than 50% of the seminary graduates of ten years ago are currently in pastoral ministry for a variety of reasons.
  3. Estimates are that at least 145,000 of the 185,000 churches in the U.S. are declining in attendance, and the tenure of pastors in those churches is under two years.
  4. Most churches that are growing are doing so by transfers of disaffected members from other churches that are in decline and dysfunction.

While ETM's leadership development program focuses on training leaders, the church/missions resources division focuses on the local church or missions body including the direct involvement of trained ETM staff ministers with the local church. It all begins with a selfevaluation of the church or mission by involved church members from which the ETM staff prepares a profile of the ministry which they present to the church body with opportunity to discuss, evaluate and plan. This self-evaluation tool we call ERIC is described below.

ERIC: Moving together from Concern to Commitment

Only God exists in and for Himself. Everything else (including the church) He created with and for a purpose. Every evangelical church believes this but many deny it in their function. Most churches exist merely to perpetuate themselves and service member families. ERIC is a comprehensive program designed to assist a local church or mission in a self-evaluation process, to renew focus on or redefine its purpose statement in biblical terms, write specific goals and action plans for achieving them, set up an accountability network and work out a permanent plan "C" to make "ERI" an annual process designed to keep the church or mission from slipping into complacency.

The church's or organization's leadership agrees that it needs ETM's help to renew a sense of unity and focus to the church life. They arrange for ETM to come for a weekend to involve the church in this ERIC program. The blank self-evaluation profiles are sent to a designated representative to distribute to church leadership and other representative individuals. The deadline for returning the forms to the church office is three weeks prior to the planned visit. The designated leader mails the completed forms to ETM in the sealed envelopes provided so they can be collated and summarized. It is important to the integrity of the process that the evaluator's name not be on any of the forms. The ETM staff then collates the responses, summarizes and makes observations for presentation to the church.

As follow-up to the evaluation process, ETM will be committed to assisting the church or mission even to the point of sending available staff support to encourage and retain focus on the goals and objectives determined by the evaluation. The longest ETM has sent staff families to work in and with a local church has been 11 months. As long as the church or mission leadership and members remain committed to the priority of restoring spiritual vigor to the church or mission body, ETM will stay committed to the project as well. There are no charges for the services, however, the church or mission is expected to pay for travel, hotel and meals for participating ETM staff.