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Christian Growth Study Plan celebrates 100th anniversary

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Few things stand the test of time. Flowers fade, administrations change and gum loses its flavor.

But that’s not the case for LifeWay Christian Resources’ Christian Growth Study Plan. Begun in 1902 under the influence of B.W. Spillman, the first field secretary for LifeWay, CGSP marks its 100th anniversary this year, a testimony to the staying power of Christian discipleship.

The 100th anniversary “brings attention for Southern Baptists to celebrate one of the behind-the-scenes aspects of their heritage,” said Morlee Maynard, media library/ministry and Christian growth specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Maynard describes the CGSP as a systematic approach to leadership, skill development and Christian growth designed for use in an individual congregation. Organized into two categories — Leadership and Skill Development and Christian Growth — the strategy offers courses for both church leaders and laypeople. Courses can be completed in group settings or on an individual basis.

Within each category, courses are organized into different subject areas and study plans. Participants can receive course credit for their study, and upon completion of a plan, participants receive a certificate.

Last year, more than 620,000 people participated in the program, and 43,843 received certificates. The CGSP also is growing in appeal among non-Southern Baptist churches and prison ministries, Maynard noted.

“When a church uses the Christian Growth Study Plan, they are being intentional,” Maynard said. “They are going the next step in providing leadership development for all of their leaders and helping believers to be intentional in their spiritual growth.”

While the CGSP may have surpassed the test of time, it isn’t the same curriculum of study developed in 1902. The CGSP actually began as the Church Study Course in 1902, following publication of Spillman’s book “Normal Studies for Sunday School Workers.” By 1959, courses in the areas of Sunday School, Training Union and church music were combined under the Church Study Course for Teaching and Training heading.

The system was redesigned in 1970 and revised in 1975, then completely computerized in 1983 and maintained on LifeWay’s mainframe computer.

By 1996, new technology allowed for an entirely new computer system and title — the Christian Growth Study Plan.

Now the records of all participants are electronically maintained, allowing for easier access and study. An online catalog allows for easy access and quick updates to outdated information and resources. It can be found at: www.lifeway.com/cgsp.

For more information of the Christian Growth Study Plan and its resources, contact the CGSP office at 1-800-968-5519 or on the Internet at www.lifeway.com/cgsp.
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  • Mandy Crow