Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

Primary Subject Area

Literature, American; Religion, Clergy; Religion, General


The purpose of this dissertation/project is to analyze the contribution Elmer L. Towns has made to the area of Church Growth through his various writings. Towns has published over 40 books in the general area of religion including contributions in religious education, Sunday School, Church Growth, Bible commentaries, Christian life, and church history. Perhaps his best known book is The Ten Largest Sunday Schools and What Makes Them Grow, Baker Book House, 1969, which was eventually listed as a best seller in the Christian Book Seller magazine.

Not all of the publications of Towns have been in the area of Church Growth. However, an annotation was made of all his works, especially noting works in the area of Church Growth and related areas that contribute to Church Growth, with an analysis of the contribution of each.

For 12 years Towns was Sunday School editor of Christian Life magazine, contributing approximately three articles each month to the magazine. In the capacity of Sunday School editor, he used the magazine's resources to first develop the list of the "Ten largest Sunday Schools in America." The list ultimately grew to the "100 Largest Sunday Schools." Towns wrote for five years in the Gospel Illuminator and Sunday School Times, publishing an article in each edition. Beyond these regular publications, he has written a great number of articles. An attempt was made to gather and list all of the magazine articles that he published over the years in Sunday School, general Christian periodicals, journals, and secular magazines. An annotation was made on articles that had a focus on the field of Church Growth.