|dc.description.abstract||The title of this thesis serves as a summary of its major emphases. Its first concern is to help churches become relevant. Sadly, some churches have become irrelevant, because they do not reflect the church of the Bible. This thesis points out that when we take careful note of what the Scriptures teach about church life, and then diligently apply these teachings to a particular church, we will find such a church becoming relevant within its own cultural milieu. Because this study aspires to be relevant, it is at the same time a praxis. It is an expression of the practical outworkings of the theology of church life as taught by the Bible. In other words, it is an applied ecclesiology, because it extracts from the tenets of Practical Theology those aspects of church life needed to bring about quantity and quality growth in local church situations.
This thesis focuses its attention upon the Evangelical Church in South Africa, a group of twenty-six churches, ministering mainly to the Indian people living in Natal and the Transvaal. After delineating the broad dimensions of church life taught by the Bible, it advocates and amplifies eight all-encompassing principles which the Evangelical Church in South Africa needs to apply to its local churches if it wishes to grow both numerically and spiritually. In fact, we may safely conclude that these principles are universally applicable to any church, and will lead to significant spiritual growth when they are diligently applied in various church settings.||en