Protestant Educators

Picture of Elmer Leon Towns

Elmer Leon Towns, Jr. (1932- ): He contributed to the popularization of the megachurch and of many principles of the church-growth movement among fundamentalist and conservative-evangelical Christians. Born on October 21, 1932, Towns has served Liberty University - the school he co-founded with Jerry Falwell - for more than 30 years. Towns has penned approximately 2,000 articles and more than fifty books on various aspects of church growth, with an emphasis on effective Christian education organizations and pastoral leadership.

Biography

Decades before megachurches became popular among U.S. American Christians, Elmer Leon Towns, Jr., had a passion for large churches. Writing for periodicals aimed both at ministers and at lay-people, Towns popularized Sunday School growth strategies to a broad cross-section of fundamentalist, conservative-evangelical, and Charismatic Christians. One particular article, "The Ten Largest Sunday Schools in the United States," led to a series of articles and a book that focused on the dynamics of rapidly-growing conservative and fundamentalist churches in an era when Life magazine had dubbed Sunday School "the most wasted hour of the week" (Shrader, 1957, p. 110; Towns, 1968). Later, from platforms in Christian higher education, Towns established himself as a well-respected advocate for achieving church growth through effective organization and leadership.

Elmer Towns' focus on congregational growth-patterns flowed not only from his passion for evangelism but also from his application of sociological insights to church growth. Many fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals had rejected or ignored the social understandings of the church proposed by Ernst Troeltsch, H. Richard Niebuhr, and David Moberg (see, e.g., Towns, 1967). Towns, however, treated their insights as bases for more effective church growth. This capacity to apply sociological principles to local-church ministries without compromising an essentially fundamentalist theology has been a chief characteristic of Towns' entire career.

Early Life

Elmer Leon Towns, Jr., was born to Elmer Leon Towns, Sr., and Erin McFaddin Towns on October 21, 1932. The senior Towns worked as a hardware clerk in Savannah, Georgia. The values embraced by Towns' family were those of the Southern middle class. His father was, however, an alcoholic. This habit depleted the family's income and eventually took the senior Towns' life.

When Elmer Towns, Jr., was in first grade, a door-to-door salesperson introduced him to Sunday School. Despite the difficulties of his home life, Towns earned perfect-attendance pins for fourteen consecutive years.

Towns' academic record remained undistinguished until his seventh-grade year. During this year, his teacher challenged him to make the honor roll and, perhaps most important for his future, to write. One term paper written for this teacher was unremarkable for its content but highly remarkable for its length - the paper filled ninety-nine handwritten pages. Reflecting on this event, Towns later wrote, "A 99-page term paper built self-esteem. If I could do that, I could write a book… . Having convinced myself I could write a book, throughout my teaching career whenever I was unable to find an adequate textbook for a particular course, I wrote one" (E. Towns, 1996, p. 55). It seems that the genesis of Towns' voluminous literary output may be traced, at least in part, to the passion for writing that a seventh-grade teacher cultivated in him.

Although Elmer Towns is best known as a Baptist, his childhood, teenaged, and early adult years were spent in Presbyterian churches. He was sprinkled at the age of 12 and became a member of Eastern Heights Presbyterian Church in Savannah, Georgia. His conversion did not, however, occur until the summer after his high-school graduation, following a series of evangelistic meetings.

Called to Ministry

Financial difficulties prevented Towns from pursuing a degree in architecture at Georgia Technical College. So, he attended Columbia Bible College in South Carolina, 1950-1953. Both of Towns' parents believed that God had called their son to the ministry. During Towns' junior year of Bible college, he too recognized God's calling and became the pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, a small congregation that the Savannah Presbytery had officially closed. Towns' book Stories About My First Church recounts his experiences - often humorous, sometimes heart-touching - in this congregation. During his time in the church, Westminster grew from a dying church into a vibrant, evangelistic congregation of more than 100.

At Columbia Bible College, Towns met Ruth Jean Forbes. The two married on August 21, 1953, and moved to Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Regarding his marriage to Ruth, Elmer Towns has commented, "God brought a woman to my life who has spiritual gifts, who has ministered to me and has supported me in my ministry… . Without her support and companionship, I could not have begun to do any of the things I have done… . She is a challenge and a spur to me to do more for God in a better way" (S. Towns, 1985, p. 123).

While completing his Bachelor of Arts degree at Northwestern, Towns moved away from the covenantal Calvinism that had characterized his southern Presbyterian upbringing. In its place, Towns began to embrace a theological position that was dispensational in its outlook and premillennial in its eschatology.

Let's Don't Become Baptist

From Northwestern, the Towns family moved to Texas, where Elmer Towns enrolled in the Master of Theology program at Dallas Theological Seminary. The Towns family visited the First Baptist Church of Dallas, where W.A. Criswell served as pastor. The personal ministry demonstrated through the Sunday School and visitation programs influenced the family to continue attending, although Towns commented to his wife beforehand, "Let's don't become Baptist" (Towns, 1997, p. 185).

After hearing Criswell preach a message from the sixth chapter of Romans, Towns' resolve faltered. Influenced by Criswell, Towns dropped his affiliation with the Savannah Presbytery and received believers' baptism by immersion. Towns later identified this change as the natural result of his earlier movement from covenantal theology to dispensational theology.

It was at First Baptist Church of Dallas that Towns' fascination with large and growing churches emerged. This fascination formed the foundation for his future ministries. Towns said later, "Attending Dr. Criswell's large church with its warm, evangelistic fervor yet the dignity of worship and the majesty of God planted within me a role model of what a church should be. I have never gotten away from the fact that a perfect church would be something like First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas" (S. Towns, 1985, p. 128).

From Pastor to Christian Educator

Towns was not, however, content merely to observe what others were doing; he desired to put what he was learning into practice. An effective Christian education organization was a key component of the successes he witnessed at First Baptist Church. Towns soon assumed the role of Christian education director at another congregation, Southwestern Baptist Tabernacle. His emphasis on effective Christian education, expressed primarily through Sunday School, continued when he accepted the pastorate at Faith Bible Church.

While serving Faith Bible Church and pursuing the Master of Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, Towns enrolled in the Master of Arts in Education program at Southern Methodist University. After simultaneously completed theses for both degrees, Town graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary and Southern Methodist University in 1958.

Towns' first full-time teaching position was at Midwest Bible College in St. Louis, Missouri. As a twenty-six-year-old Assistant Professor of Christian Education, Towns taught, provided seminars for local churches, and served as chair of the Department of Christian Education and as Executive Director of the Greater St. Louis Sunday School Association. His first published book emerged during this time - a mimeographed text entitled Teaching Teens , later revised and expanded to become Successful Biblical Youth Work . Although little of the material was unique, this work marked the beginning of a fruitful writing career that would continue into the twenty-first century. Because of his focus as an instructor on Christian education and on Sunday School in particular, Towns' writings during this era dealt primarily with building an effective Sunday School organization.

Towns served as a member of the committee that enabled Midwest Bible College to achieve accreditation from the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges (AABC). His efforts in the accreditation process led to him being named to an AABC committee. At this time, Winnipeg Bible Institute and College of Theology - now Providence College and Seminary - was seeking someone to lead the Canadian institution toward AABC accreditation. Towns seemed to be the leader they needed to guide them toward accreditation. With this in mind, Winnipeg Bible Institute and College of Theology called Towns as president in 1961. During his tenure at Winnipeg, Towns led the school to receive AABC accreditation, to eliminate indebtedness through active fund-raising, and to attract a broader range of students.

When Trinity Evangelical Divinity School sought to reinvent itself under the leadership of Kenneth S. Kantzer, Towns' success at Winnipeg attracted the dean's attention. Aware of his need for a doctoral degree, Towns viewed the opportunity to move to Trinity as a twofold blessing: Not only would he be teaching alongside well-known conservative scholars in an emerging divinity school but he would also be near institutions that offered the Doctor of Philosophy in religious education. Towns relocated to Deerfield, Illinois, in 1965 to begin teaching Christian education at Trinity.

A Tremendous Surge of Publications

Towns attempted to enter the Doctor of Philosophy program at Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. The school's theological liberalism troubled Towns, however, and, in the end, he earned only the Master of Religious Education. Although his plans for a Ph.D. were not realized during his time at Trinity, Towns was able to deepen his knowledge of religious education and to concentrate on writing in the fields of Christian education and church growth. Describing Towns’ writing habits during these years, his son commented, "The research atmosphere of Trinity supported his desire to read, determine causes, and publish them. He established a habit of going to his study every evening after the 10:00 PM news and writing until 1:00 or 2:00 AM. Out of this background came a tremendous surge of publications" (S. Towns, 1985, p. 15). The reasons for this surge of publications were not, however, always research-driven. According to Elmer Towns, "Because money was a problem, I drove myself to write Sunday School lessons, popular articles, and books - and my motives were not always pure. Sometimes, I needed money because 'the baby needed shoes.' But … I did not become a word hack… . I wrote things that would advance the cause of Christ" (S. Towns, 1985, p. 127).

Towns' appointment as Sunday School editor of Christian Life magazine in 1966 provided a national forum from which he explored and expounded effective Sunday School growth strategies. For twelve years, Town attracted readers by identifying and analyzing the principles that drove the largest and fastest-growing Sunday Schools in the nation. Many of his readers were part of the burgeoning independent Baptist movement - a movement in which Towns himself found a home, slightly to the right of the mainstream evangelicalism championed at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

In one article written in 1967, Towns applied the congregational life-cycles suggested by Troeltsch to the growth-patterns of churches. Many of the books and articles that flooded from his nightly writing sessions expanded this model of applying sociological models to conservative-evangelical and fundamentalist church growth. The Ten Largest Sunday Schools and What Made Them Grow , Church Aflame , America's Fastest Growing Churches , Capturing a Town for Christ , and The World's Largest Sunday School all blended a passion for growth with a firm grasp of the sociological principles of Troeltsch, Niebuhr, and Moberg. The result was a vision of church growth that recognized the importance of social dynamics in growing congregations without discounting the work of the Holy Spirit. This vision was firmly grounded in fundamentalist theology yet, due to its integration with sociology, remained sufficiently universal to describe the dynamics of other groups, including evangelical, Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Wesleyan congregations.

The Move to Lynchburg

Towns' visibility in the areas of Christian education and church growth led Jerry Falwell to contact Towns when Thomas Road Baptist Church made plans to start a Bible college. Falwell and Towns founded Lynchburg Baptist College - later renamed Liberty University - in 1971. A church-based institution of higher education fit Towns' model of Christian education and provided a platform for applying his philosophies of education and church growth.

In addition to being the sole full-time instructor and the Executive Vice-President at Lynchburg Baptist College, Towns served as the Sunday School Superintendent of Thomas Road Baptist Church. Between 1971 and 1973, Sunday School enrollment at Thomas Road grew from 4,000 to over 7,000. Towns' writings during this era reflected his movement from teaching in a single field to functioning as a practitioner and a generalist; he produced fewer writings on Sunday School in the 1970s and wrote more in the areas of Christian life and evangelism.

In 1973, Towns left Lynchburg, returning to his hometown of Savannah. His stated objective for this "self-imposed retirement" was full-time freelance journalism (S. Towns, 1985, pp. 14, 17); this retirement was, however, short-lived. Towns soon found himself consulting with another fledgling institution of higher learning. The next year, the Baptist University of America emerged from the merger of seven small Bible colleges in the southeastern United States. The objective was to create a single, strong fundamentalist Baptist college. The school settled in Atlanta, and Towns became the vice president and academic dean. He retained these positions until 1977.

Jerry Falwell's publications had expanded rapidly in the latter 1970s. Finding himself in need of an editor-in-chief for his publications, Falwell again turned to Elmer Towns. After investing a year in Falwell's ministry as the editor of Faith Aflame and as a founder of Fundamentalist Journal and The Journal Champion , Towns made a lateral move within Falwell's organization, becoming the dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Two years later, Towns also became dean of the B.R. Lakin School of Religion at Liberty University.

In the early 1980s, while maintaining his administrative and teaching duties at Liberty, Towns completed the Doctor of Ministry degree at Fuller Theological Seminary. Towns' dissertation found a significant correlation between the rapidity of a new church's growth and the presence of the spiritual gift of faith in the pastor. Again, Towns seamlessly integrated a spiritual reality (in this instance, the gift of faith) with a sociological phenomenon (the growth of a new church) without compromising his fundamentalist theological orientation.

Equipping Churches to Grow

Despite his duties in two institutions of higher education, Towns did not allow himself to become sequestered in academia; his passion for growing churches prevented any onset of an "ivory tower" mentality. In 1984, Towns joined with Larry Gilbert to found the Church Growth Institute (CGI). For the first two years, CGI equipped lay-people, primarily through a seminar based on Towns' text 154 Steps to Revitalize Your Sunday School and Keep Your Church Growing . In 1986, the target audience shifted from lay-people to pastors with the launch of Towns' highly successful How to Reach the Baby Boomer seminar. The content of this seminar followed the same pattern that Towns had established nearly two decades earlier when he served as the Sunday School editor of Christian Life - using sociological insights to deal with issues related to church growth while retaining a Scripture-centered fundamentalist theology. Towns highlighted five methodological changes that would assist churches in reaching Baby Boomers:

  • 1. The pastor must move from functioning as the church's professional minister to functioning as an equipper of lay-people, so that they may become the church's ministers.
  • 2. Churches must change their worship styles, moving toward biblical exposition coupled with either contemporary or liturgical worship.
  • 3. Churches must market themselves in ways that are understandable and appealing to the unsaved.
  • 4. Churches must move from confrontational evangelism to relational evangelism.
  • 5. Churches must understand and respond to Boomer expectations.

A simple axiom summarized Towns' approach in the Baby Boomer seminars: "Data-driven, Bible-based" (Brown, 1999, p. 72).

In 1987, Towns began teaching the Pastor's Bible Class at Thomas Road Baptist Church. Five years later, Town resigned his position as dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary to allow more time for writing. Towns' preparations for the Pastor's Bible Class, coupled with increased opportunities for writing, led to a series of successful books targeting issues of theology and personal spiritual growth. One such text, Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough , sold more than 100,000 copies. Another, The Names of the Holy Spirit , garnered a Gold Medallion from the Christian Booksellers Association. A more recent book - Perimeters of Light , co-authored with Ed Stetzer - seeks to develop a "theology of methodology" by which Christians may discern teachings that stand outside orthodox Christianity.

Agenda for the Future

Towns' focus on theology and on the Christian life has not, however, precluded continuing contributions to the field of church growth or to better educational methods. Ten Sunday Schools that Dared to Change (1993), Into the Future (2000), and an essay in Four Views of Church Growth (2003b) define and defend several contemporary trends in church growth. Towns has summarized his current goals in the areas of education, evangelism, and church growth in this way:

As the computer becomes an extension of the human mind, and the human mind becomes an extension of the computer (such as pencil and paper in the past became an extension of the student), I want to make sure I understand how modern-day students learn, how I should teach, and how the process can be assessed… .
Since the late 1960s I have been dealing in the area of methodology, having written several books that are "trend-setters" in (or at least introductions to) new methods in the fields of evangelism and Church Growth.There obviously will be more trends in evangelism and Church Growth in the future. I am interested in the effectiveness of these trends, and what methods will be most effective in the future. I plan to continue to research, write, and communicate these results (Towns, 2003a, pp. 60-61).

At the time of this writing, Elmer Towns serves as Vice President of Liberty University, as the dean of the B.R. Lakin School of Religion at Liberty University, as the Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, as the Senior Consulting Publisher at Regal Books and Gospel Light Publishing, and as the dean of Campus Crusade for Christ's Global Pastors Network. Elmer and Ruth Towns have one son, Stephen Richard (Sam), and two daughters, Deborah and Polly. Their son earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and served as Professor of Religion at Liberty University before his death in an automobile accident. At the time of this writing, the Towns had ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


Contributions to Christian Education

When asked about his contributions to contemporary Christianity, Elmer Towns listed the following:

  • identifying growth principles from the ten largest churches in the United States.
  • being an early advocate of the megachurch.
  • identifying and articulating the sociological life-cycle of a church.
  • identifying and analyzing six worship and church-growth paradigms.
  • identifying and articulating the prescriptions and purposes of nine types of biblical fasts.
  • identifying and analyzing nine types of biblical revival.
  • identifying and analyzing ten types of biblical meditation.
  • researching the history of the Sunday School and identifying the Sunday School as the (a) reaching, (b) teaching, (c) winning, and (d) caring (maturing) arm of the local church.
  • identifying and analyzing the seven functions of a pastor.
  • identifying and analyzing the nine levels of religious experience.

Building on Towns' list of general contributions, I would identify two specific contributions that continue to impact directly the field of Christian education.

First, Elmer Towns popularized the concept of the megachurch. C. Peter Wagner called Towns' The 10 Largest Sunday Schools and What Made Them Grow the first book on the growth of the megachurch (Brown, 1999, p. 9). Towns' specific passion for the megachurch may be traced to his involvement in the First Baptist Church of Dallas; however, the tendencies that engendered this passion were already present when he served as the pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Savannah. There, he developed a hunger for seeing energetic, Spirit-anointed ministry merge with effective organization to trigger numeric growth. What he witnessed at First Baptist Church of Dallas was simply a practical outworking, on a massive scale, of a passion that he already possessed.

In a dissertation focusing on Elmer Towns, David Brown has written, "Towns shares dual roles … both as 'Mr. Sunday School' … and as a leader of Church Growth" (Brown, 1999, p. 97). At a surface level, this may be true. It may also be contended, however, that Towns' singular passion throughout his ministry has always been church growth. He became "Mr. Sunday School" not because of a passion for Sunday School per se but because Sunday School had proven to be an effective means to accomplish his overarching goal of growing churches. Should Towns perceive Sunday School to have ceased to be an effective tool for church growth before the conclusion of his ministry, I suspect that his emphasis on Sunday School would rapidly retreat into the background.

Second, Elmer Towns pioneered the application of sociological perspectives and the separation of eternal principles from cultural methods in the context of conservative-evangelical and fundamentalist churches. Neither of these concepts was new. Secular sociologists and liberal theologians had been applying sociological insights to congregations for decades, and the contemporary church-growth movement had already encouraged the separation of principles from methodologies (see, e.g., Wagner, 1973). What was unique about Towns' approach was his application of social-science perspectives in contexts where many leaders had previously been suspicious of such perspectives. Towns' fundamentalist orientation did not prevent him from seeing that the church's Christian education program could be viewed in terms of a sociological organization without compromising its essential identity as a spiritual organism. Towns summarized this viewpoint in the axiom that undergirded his How to Reach the Baby Boomer seminars: "Data-driven, Bible-based." Perhaps partly as a result of Towns' work, many conservative-evangelical and fundamentalist churches have increasingly recognized that, although sociological factors alone cannot explain the growth of a church, sociological factors may work to inhibit or to cultivate spiritual activity, especially among non-believers.

According to Towns, "principles are eternal and are found in Scripture, a method is an adaptation of an eternal principle to culture" (S. Towns, 1985, p. 122). Towns' seminars and resources encouraged a broad cross-section of pastors - many of them from fundamentalist and conservative-evangelical congregations - to apply this separation of principles from methods in their local churches. Today, many churches that once focused heavily on cultural issues such as dress codes and musical styles have learned to distinguish between eternal principles and temporary, cultural methods. Elmer Towns was a key influence that contributed to this change. It seems unlikely that Rick Warren's claim that "to penetrate any culture you must make small concessions in matters of style" (Warren, 1995, pp. 196, 202) would have found a friendly reception outside mainstream evangelicalism without Elmer Town's previous popularization of this principle in his seminars.

Towns has not only proclaimed but also modeled a separation of principles from methods throughout his career. In the mid-1980s, Towns commented:

There are certain methods that I am no longer emphasizing because I believe that they are no longer effective… . I am no longer emphasizing the bus ministry, Vacation Bible School effectiveness, door-to-door visitation, Sunday School contests, and the Sunday afternoon youth meeting… . I use the phrase "anointed methods." God has methods that He uses to reach particular people in certain cultural conditions. The effectiveness of these methods is described as "hot" or "anointed." As conditions change and the people change, certain methods lose their effectiveness. They "cool" down in public perception. God has to evolve new methods to become effective to meet new needs. (S. Towns, 1985, pp. 122-23)

As a further example, earlier in his writing career, Towns' primary emphasis was on an effective Sunday School organization with dominant pastoral leadership. He noted in 1970 that the leader of an effective Sunday School was typically "an aggressive, gifted pastor, who heads up a militant program of evangelism." This "energetic minister … leads his flock like a president runs a corporation" (Towns, 1970, pp. 15-17). Later, however, in his Baby Boomer seminars, concepts such as "aggressive," "militant," and "runs a corporation" were no longer present. Towns' focus had shifted toward the pastor's role as a relational change-agent and as an equipper of lay-people. Both earlier and later, Towns maintained a biblical principle-in this case, the importance of strong and effective pastoral leadership. Yet Towns' recommended methodology moved from an aggressive minister who leads like a corporate president to a change-agent who builds relationships and equips the laity.

These capacities for separating eternal principles from temporary methods have also enabled Towns to remain open to churches outside Baptist fundamentalism. Towns has termed the principle underlying his openness "the Doctrine of Blessability."

Long before I came to work at Liberty University, I was speaking at Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Wesleyan-type groups for Sunday School and Church Growth conferences… . I am committed to the Independent Baptist position; however, I am not anti-Charismatic, anti-Pentecostal, nor anti-Wesleyan. I am committed to my beliefs, but a strong commitment to Christ keeps me from being intolerant or in opposition to others who believe differently about doctrines that are not essential to the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. I have called this "the Doctrine of Blessability." … I believe God blesses those of different persuasions not because of their accuracy of Scriptural interpretation or a legalistic view of the Christian life, but God blesses a person because of his love [of] Jesus Christ and his faith in him. (S. Towns, 1985, p. 121)

This "Doctrine of Blessability" is, perhaps, what has distinguished Towns from other fundamentalist Christian educators and has allowed his influence to spread beyond a narrow, conservative sector of Christianity.

Other Christian educators have criticized Elmer Towns for having had a narrower influence, due to his fundamentalist orientation, than he might otherwise have had (see, e.g., S. Towns, 1985, pp. 106-07). There is, however, another possibility that is equally worthy of consideration: Perhaps it is precisely because of his unswerving fundamentalist orientation that Towns' contributions have been so vital. Fundamentalist and conservative-evangelical congregations trusted Towns due to a shared theological orientation; therefore, Towns was able to penetrate these churches with insights from the social sciences and the church-growth movement - insights that might otherwise have been rejected or ignored. If this analysis is correct, it is possible that Towns' primary contribution is not to be found on the campus of Liberty University or even in the thousands of pages that his reflections and research have filled. It is, rather, to be found in the collective concurrence of a myriad of church leaders that it is possible to recognize the cultural relativity of methodologies and the usefulness of the social sciences without compromising even the most conservative strands of Christian theology.

Works Cited

  • Brown, D. (1999). A chronological presentation of the writings of Elmer L. Towns from 1986-1999. D.Min. project, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, 1985.
  • Shrader, W. (1957, February 11). Our troubled Sunday schools. Life, 110.
  • Towns, E. (1967, September). The birth and death of churches. The United Evangelical Action, 32.
  • Towns, E. (1968, September). Ten largest Sunday schools in the United States today. Christian Life, 52-53.
  • Towns, E. (1969). The ten largest Sunday schools and what makes them grow. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  • Towns, E. (1970, August). America's largest Sunday schools are growing. Christian Life, 15-19.
  • Towns, E. (1997). Stories about my first church. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1993). Ten Sunday schools that dared to change. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1994). The names of the Holy Spirit. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1996). Stories on the front porch. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (2003a). Liberty University faculty portfolio for evaluation. Retrieved December 3, 2003, from http://www.elmertowns.com
  • Towns, E. (2003b). The effective evangelism view. In G. McIntosh (Ed.), Four views of church growth. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing.
  • Towns, E., & Stetzer, E. (2003). Perimeters of light. Chicago, IL: Moody Press.
  • Towns, E., & Bird, W. (2000). Into the future. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  • Towns, S. (1985). Elmer Towns, a biographical and chronological presentation of his writings. D.Min. project, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1985.
  • Wagner, C. P. (1973). Pragmatic strategy for Tomorrow's Mission. In A. Tippet (Ed.), God, man, and church growth. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker.
  • Warren, R. (1995). The purpose driven church. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing.

Bibliography

Books

  • Towns, E. (1963). Teaching teens. Winnipeg, MB: Winnipeg Bible Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1964). Christ-centered youth work. Winnipeg, MB: Winnipeg Bible College Press.
  • Towns, E. (1965). The deity of the Savior. Winnipeg, MB: Winnipeg Bible College Press.
  • Towns, E. (1966). Successful youth work. Glendale, CA: Gospel Light Publications.
  • Towns, E. (1967). The single adult and the church. Glendale, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1968). The triune God. Wheaton, IL: ETTA.
  • Towns, E. (1969). Successful lesson preparation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  • Towns, E. (1969). The bright future of Sunday school. Minneapolis, MN: Free Church Publications.
  • Towns, E. (1969). The ten largest Sunday schools and what made them grow. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  • Towns, E. (1970). Evangelize through Christian education. Wheaton, IL: ETTA.
  • Towns, E. (1971). Church aflame. Nashville, TN: Impact Books.
  • Towns, E. (1971). Successful church libraries. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  • Towns, E. (1971). Team teaching with success. Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing.
  • Towns, E. (1971). The Christian hall of fame. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  • Towns, E. (1972). America's fastest growing churches. Nashville, TN: Impact Books.
  • Towns, E. (1972). Ministering to the young single adult. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  • Towns, E. (1972). Successful ministry to the retarded. Chicago, IL: Moody Press.
  • Towns, E. (1973). Capturing a town for Christ. Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company.
  • Towns, E. (1973). Great soul-winning churches. Murfreesboro, TN: Sword of the Lord.
  • Towns, E. (1973). Is the day of the denomination dead? Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
  • Towns, E. (1973). Successful biblical youth work. Nashville, TN: Impact Books.
  • Towns, E. (1974). Christian journalism. Gainesville, FL: Genesis.
  • Towns, E. (1974). Have the public schools had it? Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
  • Towns, E. (1974). The Gospel of John. Gainesville, FL: Genesis.
  • Towns, E. (1974). The world's largest Sunday school. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
  • Towns, E. (1975). A history of religious educators. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  • Towns, E. (1975). Getting a church started in the face of insurmountable odds with limited resources in unlikely circumstances. Nashville, TN: Impact Books.
  • Towns, E. (1976). A fresh start in life now that you are a Christian. Savannah, GA: Sunday School Research Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1976). The successful Sunday school. Carol Stream, IL: Creation House.
  • Towns, E., and Falwell, J. (1979). How to clean up your town for Christ. Lynchburg, VA: Old Time Gospel Hour Press.
  • Towns, E. (1979). How to grow an effective Sunday school. Denver, CO: Accent Books.
  • Towns, E. (1980). The successful Christian life. Denver, CO: Accent Books.
  • Towns, E. (1981). Church aflame II. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.
  • Towns, E. (1981). The complete book of church growth. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.
  • Towns, E., & Keith, D. (1983). Say it faith. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.
  • Towns, E. (1983). What the faith is all about. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.
  • Towns, E. (1984). How can you produce church growth? Altamonte Springs, FL: Ministries.
  • Towns, E. (1984). Stepping out on faith. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.
  • Towns, E. (1985). John: The greatest book in the Bible. Lynchburg, VA: Church Leadership Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1985). Theology for today. Lynchburg, VA: Church Leadership Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1986). Church growth: State of the art. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.
  • Towns, E. (1986). God is able. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1987). The names of Jesus. Denver, CO: Accent Books.
  • Towns, E. (1988). 154 steps to revitalize your Sunday school. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • Towns, E. (1988). Say it faith: Building the Sunday school by faith. Indianapolis, IN: Wesley Press.
  • Towns, E. (1988). Understanding the deeper life. Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company.
  • Towns, E. (1989). History makers of the Old Testament. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • Towns, E. (1990). Ten of today's most innovative churches. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1990). The Gospel of John: Believe and live. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.
  • Towns, E. (1991). My Father's names. Ventura, CA: Gospel Light.
  • Towns, E. (1992). Foundational doctrines of the faith. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1992). The eight laws of leadership. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1992). Towns' Sunday school encyclopedia. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.
  • Towns, E. (1992). What the New Testament is all about. Lynchburg, VA: Sunday School Heritage.
  • Towns, E. (1992). Your ministry of evangelism. Wheaton, IL: ETTA.
  • Towns, E. (1993). Ten Sunday schools that dared to change. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1994). The names of the Holy Spirit. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1995). What the Old Testament is all about. Lynchburg, VA: Sunday School Heritage.
  • Towns, E. (1996). A journey through the New Testament. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.
  • Towns, E. (1996). A journey through the Old Testament. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.
  • Towns, E. (1996). A practical encyclopedia of evangelism and church growth. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1996). Fasting for spiritual breakthrough. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1996). Stories on the front porch. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1997). Praying the Lord's Prayer for spiritual breakthrough. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1997). Putting an end to the worship wars. Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers.
  • Towns, E. (1997). Rivers of revival. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1997). Stories about my first church. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1998). Biblical meditation for spiritual breakthrough. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1998). Christmas traditions. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press.
  • Towns, E., & Falwell, J. (1998). Fasting can change your life. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1998). How to create high-impact Bible studies. Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers.
  • Towns, E. (1998). My angel named Herman. Nashville, TN: Tommy Books.
  • Towns, E. (1998). The every church guide to growth. Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman.
  • Towns, E. (1998). The year round church event book. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1998). What the faith is all about. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.
  • Towns, E. (1999). Developing a giving church. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press.
  • Towns, E. (1999). The Son. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (2000). A beginner's guide to Bible reading. Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Publications.
  • Towns, E. (2000). God encounters. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E., & Bird, W. (2000). Into the future. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  • Towns, E. (2000). The ten greatest revivals ever. Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Publications.
  • Towns, E. (2001). A beginner's guide to reading the Bible. Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Publications.
  • Towns, E. (2001). Praying the Twenty-third Psalm. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (2001). The beginner's guide to fasting. Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Publications.
  • Towns, E. (2001). The year-round book of sermon ideas, stories, and quotes. Ventura, CA: Gospel Light.
  • Towns, E. (2001). What every Sunday school teacher should know. Ventura, CA: Gospel Light.
  • Towns, E. (2001). Women gifted for ministry. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
  • Towns, E. (2002). Fasting for financial breakthrough. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (2002). Knowing God through fasting. Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image.
  • Towns, E. (2002). Prayer partners. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (2002). What every pastor should know about Sunday school. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (2003). Bible answers for almost all your questions. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
  • Towns, E., and Porter, D. (2003). Churches that multiply. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press.
  • Towns, E. (2003). God bless you. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (2003). Joined together. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
  • Towns, E., & Stetzer, E. (2003). Perimeters of light. Chicago, IL: Moody Press.
  • Towns, E. (2003). Praying the Psalms. Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image.

Chapters in Books

  • Towns, E. (1973). [Notes]. In J. Allen, L. Easterly & B. Rich (Eds.), Nelson's children's Bible. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
  • Towns, E. (1982). Deuteronomy. In E. Hinson (Ed.), Liberty Bible Commentary (pp. 324-80). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
  • Towns, E. (1982). [Notes]. In J. Falwell (Ed.), The Liberty annotated reference Bible. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
  • Towns, E. (1984). A study of independent Baptists, 1974-1984. In J. Combs (Ed.), The roots and origins of Baptist fundamentalism (pp. 84-94). Cincinnati, OH: Baptist Press.
  • Towns, E. (1984). Independent fundamental Baptists looking toward 2000 A.D. In J. Combs (Ed.), The roots and origins of Baptist fundamentalism (pp. 94-104). Cincinnati, OH: Baptist Press.
  • Towns, E. (1985). The Christian's secret of a happy life. In C. Jones (Ed.), The books you read (pp. 244-250). Camp Hill, PA: Executive Books.
  • Towns, E. (1985). What is the call of God? In S. Strong (Ed.), Solving the ministry's toughest problems (pp. 233-42). Altamonte Springs, FL: Ministries.
  • Towns, E. (1985). What kind of evangelism should you embrace? In S. Strong (Ed.), Solving the ministry's toughest problems (pp. 197-202). Altamonte Springs, FL: Ministries.
  • Towns, E. (1990). Baptist mid-missions. In D. Reed (Ed.), Dictionary of Christianity in America. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  • Towns, E. (1990). Billington, Dallas Franklin. In D. Reed (Ed.), Dictionary of Christianity in America. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  • Towns, E. (1990). Clearwaters, R.V. In D. Reed (Ed.), Dictionary of Christianity in America. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  • Towns, E. (1990). Fundamental Baptist fellowship. In D. Reed (Ed.), Dictionary of Christianity in America. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  • Towns, E. (1990). Key, Francis Scott. In D. Reed (Ed.), Dictionary of Christianity in America. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  • Towns, E. (1990). Paxson, Stephen. In D. Reed (Ed.), Dictionary of Christianity in America. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  • Towns, E. (1991). Sunday School. J. Douglas (Ed.), New 20th century encyclopedia of religious knowledge. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  • Towns, E. (1996). Post-tribulation view of prophecy. In Dictionary of premillennial theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publishing.
  • Towns, E. (1996). The course of this present age. In Dictionary of premillennial theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publishing.
  • Towns, E. (1997). Free and fulfilled. In Alternate views of faith. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
  • Towns, E. (1997). The role of innovation in leadership. In Leaders on leadership. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1998). Forward. In The new apostolic churches. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1999). A consuming passion for kingdom usefulness. In Leading with vision. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press.
  • Towns, E. (1999). Forward. In Greenhorns. Springfield, MO: 21st Century Press.
  • Towns, E. (1999). Forward. In The Five-Star Church. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1999). The pastor and the Sunday School. In Greenhorns. Springfield, MO: 21st Century Press.
  • Towns, E. (2001). Choosing adventure over status quo. In Leading in times of change. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press.
  • Towns, E. (2003). The effective evangelism view. In G. McIntosh (Ed.), Four views of church growth. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing.

Articles

  • In addition to writing the periodical articles listed below, Elmer L. Towns served on the editorial staffs of the following publications during the years indicated and contributed regular editorial columns: The Bible Expositor and Illuminator (1967-1971), Christian Life (1967-1982), Christian Youth Today (1969-1973), and The Evangelical Witness (1965-1967).
  • Towns, E. (1963). What is a teenager? The Central Canada Baptist Conference Link, 21.
  • Towns, E. (1964, September). Appoint teacher for one year. The Evangelical Beacon.
  • Towns, E. (1964, September). Teenagers and maturity. The Evangelical Beacon, 18.
  • Towns, E. (1965, December). The Sunday school teachers meeting. The Evangelical Christian, 13.
  • Towns, E. (1965, December). The worker's conference. The Evangelical Christian, 10.
  • Towns, E. (1965, May). The permissive will of God. The Central Canada Baptist Conference Link, 1.
  • Towns, E. (1965, November). Towns talks about teens in the church. The Evangelical Christian, 34.
  • Towns, E. (1965, November). Will God pull the rug from under you? Christian Life, 43.
  • Towns, E. (1965, September). The ministry of doubt. The Evangelical Beacon, 6­7.
  • Towns, E. (1966, December). Need a Christian Education Director? The Evangelical Christian, 16.
  • Towns, E. (1966, December). The Bible college is a church (Part 2). The Evangelical Christian, 13.
  • Towns, E. (1966, February). Ten commandments for teens, parents. The Evangelical Christian, 29­32.
  • Towns, E. (1966, February). Who are the teenagers in your church? The Evangelical Christian, 29.
  • Towns, E. (1966, January). Appoint teachers for one year. The Evangelical Christian, 33­35.
  • Towns, E. (1966, June). Christian education revival in Canada. The Evangelical Christian, 29.
  • Towns, E. (1966, March). Answers about questions. Sunday School Leader, 19.
  • Towns, E. (1966, May). Adults study? The Evangelical Christian, 30.
  • Towns, E. (1966, May). Four ways to interact parents in Sunday school. Sunday School Leader, 57.
  • Towns, E. (1966, November). The Bible college is a church (Part 1). The Evangelical Christian, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1966, September). Nursery a necessity. The Evangelical Christian, 25.
  • Towns, E. (1966, September). Team teaching. The Evangelical Christian, 25.
  • Towns, E. (1966, May). Why not a woman DCE? The Alliance Witness, 14.
  • Towns, E. (1967). Aphasia and pastoral counseling. The Pastoral Counselor, 22­26.
  • Towns, E. (1967). Christian education fair to promote Christian ministry. Teach, 13.
  • Towns, E. (1967, April). The Sunday school superintendent. The Evangelical Christian, 15.
  • Towns, E. (1967, February). 10 minutes before Sunday school begins. The Evangelical Christian, 28.
  • Towns, E. (1967, January). Laws of Sunday School growth. The Evangelical Christian, 29.
  • Towns, E. (1967, January). Sunday School begins when the first pupil arrives. The Evangelical Christian, 29.
  • Towns, E. (1967, July). A book is born: The single adult. The Evangelical Beacon, 6.
  • Towns, E. (1967, July). Team teaching with teens. The Evangelical Christian, 13.
  • Towns, E. (1967, March). The home and Sunday school work together. The Evangelical Christian, 18.
  • Towns, E. (1967, November). Race model jets. Venture, 26.
  • Towns, E. (1967, September). A world congress on Sunday school: Could it be significant? Christian Life, 74­77.
  • Towns, E. (1967, September). The birth and death of churches. The United Evangelical Action, 32.
  • Towns, E. (1967, September). The future is brighter than you think. Christian Life, 67.
  • Towns, E. (1967, September). Cult, sect, assembly. The Evangelical Action, 17.
  • Towns, E. (1968). If a good mood lets you down. Forum, 141.
  • Towns, E. (1968). Recent reviews for Sunday school workers. The Christian Bookseller Magazine.
  • Towns, E. (1968). The young single adult and the church. Eternity.
  • Towns, E. (1968, January 15). Caught in the middle. The Sunday School Times and the Gospel Herald, 44.
  • Towns, E. (1968, June). Sex education: The cure can be worse than the disease. Christian Life, 71.
  • Towns, E. (1968, November). Is Sunday school busing effective? Christian Life, 79.
  • Towns, E. (1968, October). Ten largest Sunday schools in the U.S. today. The Baptist Bible Tribune, 4­6.
  • Towns, E. (1968, October). The church and the single adult. Eternity, 18.
  • Towns, E. (1969). Are evangelical youth rebels? The Pastor's Quarterly, 1.
  • Towns, E. (1969). Christian education trends. Leader.
  • Towns, E. (1969). Should the church lobby? Encounter.
  • Towns, E. (1969). Sunday school promotion. The Pastor's Quarterly, 4.
  • Towns, E. (1969, April). Martin Luther on sanctification. Bibliotheca Sacra, 115­22.
  • Towns, E. (1969, April). Sunday school of the 70s. The Evangelical Beacon, 48.
  • Towns, E. (1969, February 1). A new breed of teenagers (Part 1). The Sunday School Times and the Gospel Herald, 6­9.
  • Towns, E. (1969, February 15). A new breed of teenagers (Part 2). The Sunday School Times and the Gospel Herald, 6­12.
  • Towns, E. (1969, January). What makes Sunday school growth. Christian Times, 4­7.
  • Towns, E. (1969, June). Are evangelical youth rebels? The Evangelical Beacon, 23.
  • Towns, E. (1969, June). The Sunday school book nook. The Evangelical Beacon, 22.
  • Towns, E. (1969, July­September). Summer fun. Leader, 72.
  • Towns, E. (1969, March 1). A new breed of teenagers (Part 3). The Sunday School Times and the Gospel Herald.
  • Towns, E. (1969, March 8). A new breed of teenagers (Part 4). The Sunday School Times and the Gospel Herald.
  • Towns, E. (1969, March 15). A new breed of teenagers (Part 5). The Sunday School Times and the Gospel Herald.
  • Towns, E. (1969, May­June). The Biblical attitude toward violence. Religious Education, 170­83.
  • Towns, E. (1969, November). The Sooty Alley School. The Good News Broadcaster, 10.
  • Towns, E. (1969, October). Day school for retarded and disturbed Children is new ministry. Christian Life, 62.
  • Towns, E. (1970). Changing world of teens. Good News Broadcaster.
  • Towns, E. (1970). The Christian Faith for the 70s. The Sunday School Times.
  • Towns, E. (1970). The meaning of the heart in the New Testament. The Grace Journal.
  • Towns, E. (1970). The most visited church in west Florida. Success, 4.
  • Towns, E. (1970, February). Is team teaching for your Sunday school? Christian Life.
  • Towns, E. (1970, January). Creativity and how to teach it. Journal of Christian Camping, 11.
  • Towns, E. (1970, January). Why people aren't creative. Journal of Christian Camping, 16.
  • Towns, E. (1970, July­August). John Wesley and religious education. Religious Education, 318­28.
  • Towns, E. (1970, November). America's fasting growing Sunday schools. The Mennonite Herald, 4­7.
  • Towns, E. (1970, September). Use your bookstore for Christian education. Christian Bookseller Magazine, 26.
  • Towns, E. (1971). Saturation produces growth. Success, 4­5.
  • Towns, E. (1971). Team teaching produces growth. Success, 3.
  • Towns, E. (1971, April­June). Robert Raikes: A comparison with earlier claims to Sunday school origin. The Evangelical Quarterly, 65­69.
  • Towns, E. (1971, January). Savannah, a historic town. The Baptist Bible Tribune, 1.
  • Towns, E. (1971, June). Books reflect new trends in Christian education. Christian Bookseller Magazine, 20.
  • Towns, E. (1971, March). A houseboat vacation. Southern Living, 28­29.
  • Towns, E. (1971, November 5). Big churches. Christianity Today, 6­10.
  • Towns, E. (1972). How we got 9,235 to attend our Sunday school. Key, 6­8.
  • Towns, E. (1972, July­August). Unashamed to use Sunday school contest. Bring Them In, 8.
  • Towns, E. (1973, August). The short pastorate is unique to the American scene. Church Management, 9.
  • Towns, E. (1973, January). Those fast-growing churches. Moody Monthly, 32­35.
  • Towns, E. (1973, June). Sunday school buses: Where they've been and where they're going. Bring Them In, 8­9.
  • Towns, E. (1973, October). Sunday school progress on wheels. Good News Broadcaster, 20­21.
  • Towns, E. (1974). Any future to adult Sunday school? Contact, 26­27.
  • Towns, E. (1974, December). Our Christmas traditions help your creativity. The Sunday School Times, 9.
  • Towns, E. (1974, June). Bethel moves up and out. Contact, 12­13.
  • Towns, E. (1974, June). Savannah is a lady. Sky, 44­45.
  • Towns, E. (1974, March). Nation's largest one-year anniversary. Voice, 3.
  • Towns, E. (1975). Built on balance. The Sunday School Times, 4.
  • Towns, E. (1975). Hyles monument unveiled. The Sword of The Lord.
  • Towns, E. (1975, December). Building and battling. The Sunday School Times, 4­5.
  • Towns, E. (1975, December). Glorious new ways to celebrate the grand old story. The Sunday School Times.
  • Towns, E. (1975, May 23). No mission impossible for you! The Sword of The Lord, 4.
  • Towns, E. (1976, August). Report from Mr. Sunday school. Christian Bookseller Magazine, 18­19.
  • Towns, E. (1976, March). A church built by teens. The Sunday School Times, 16­17.
  • Towns, E. (1977). The agony and the ecstasy of the autograph party. Christian Bookseller Magazine.
  • Towns, E. (1977, August). A spark that spreads revival. The Sunday School Times, 8­9.
  • Towns, E. (1977, July). Missions motivates a church. The Sunday School Times.
  • Towns, E. (1977, September). Sunday school's 200th anniversary is coming. The Scope, 2­3.
  • Towns, E. (1978, August 4). A decline in courage. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, August 4). Doctor Abraham: Church planter in India. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, August 4). Fussin', fightin', dyin'. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, August 4). Goodbye to the good times. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, August 4). Time is crucial. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, August 18). 645,339 pounds of food delivered to needy Haitians. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, August 18). Dino Pedrone: Bible teaching on fire. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, August 18). Fifteen Thousand Club serves students as a backbone for low tuition. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, December 8). Liberty, equality, and socialism. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, December 8). Mai Lee and the murder of a gentle people. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, December 8). The church in a refugee camp. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, December 8). Why stand we silently? Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, December 8). World evangelism: A process. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, December 22). Christian teachers deny John Todd. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, December 29). Dulal Borpujani: A man of compassion. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, December 29). Escape from Laos. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, December 29). Mai Lee still sings. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, December 29). Murder of a gentle people. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, December 29). Pockets of misery. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, December 29). Refugees flee in make-shift boats. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, December 29). Twelve-year-old escapes. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, July 7). Danger to 7 million Koreans. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, July 7). High Street Baptist is mother church. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, July 7). The liberal press: Desert Korea. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, July 21). America: Still the best. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, July 21). Charles Hughes returns to church. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, July 21). ERA: A breach of faith. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, July 21). Maxwell's success secret: Soul-winning. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, July 21). Steel rises. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, June 8). A message to Congress from 1,000,000 preachers. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, June 8). America threatened by creepy bureaucracy. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, June 8). Sixty-one graduates. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, June 8). Tri-City Baptist Church. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, June 8). We believe in the church. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, June 23). Flying with two wings. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, June 23). Is our preaching shallow? Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, June 23). No Sunday, no Sunday School. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, June 23). Korea is showplace. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, June 23). Rudy Holland: Devil kicking. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, June 23). What's the big idea? Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, May 12). Cloning: Making man's first copies. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, May 12). Power of the press, strength of the people. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, May 12). The miracle at Minister. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, May 12). The woman behind the man, Macel Falwell. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, May 12). Why a Christian newspaper? Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, May 26). Beloved Charles Hughes recovering. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, May 26). Christian schools grow. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, May 26). Grassroots America stands. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, May 26). The right to die. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, May 26). We are fundamentalist. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, November 10). A youthful giant: Liberty Baptist Church. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, November 10). Church: Open and shut. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, November 10). On the other side of the fence. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, November 10). Virginia voters veto paramutuel betting. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, November 24). America the beautiful. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, November 24). Falwell teaches. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, November 24). New methods and vision. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, November 24). What happened to the heroes? Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, October 13). Papua: The land time forgot. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, October 13). Senior adults active, not retired. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, October 27). Sunday Schools booming. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, October 27). Who is free? Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, October 27). Why Christians should vote. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, September 1). Accreditation. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, September 1). Americans on filth. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, September 1). Urgent, $5 million needed. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, September 15). Broadway Baptist Church. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, September 15). Gun control. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, September 15). There will always be a fundamentalist. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, September 29). From Camp David to Jerusalem Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, September 29). God answers $5 Million prayer. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1978, September 29). In defense of the electronic church. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, April 6). James Robison to battle. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, April 6). Rural church outreach. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, April 6). The Supplier. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, April 20). Churches make me happy. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, December). God had a son. The Sword of the Lord, 1.
  • Towns, E. (1979, February 9). 7,000 fed in Laotian camp. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, February 9). Crane at convocation. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, February 9). Eighty-eight people in a boat. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, February 9). Elkhart's First Baptist Church. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, February 9). Hmong receive care. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, February 9). One Christian out of 1,500 lived. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, February 9). Our awesome duty. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, February 9). South China Sea: Scene of despair. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, February 9). Spinning tops. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, February 9). The obligation of service. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, February 9). The vast opportunity. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, February 9). Vietnamese refugee camp. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, February 23). 27,000 refugees fed by the Old Time Gospel Hour team. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, February 23). Do right because of character. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, February 23). What can Christian schools accomplish? Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, January 12). Bible Baptist grows rapidly in Nebraska. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, January 12). Hungry Haitians helped by tons of food. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, January 12). The great responsibility. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, January 12). The world in chaos. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, July 13). An encouraging growth. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, June 1). God's powerful instrument. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, June 15). Riding one bike at a time. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, March 9). Has the bubble broken? Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, March 9). Largest Christian camping movement in world. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, March 9). Sunday school growth aids church. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, March 23). Christian lobbyist at the Congress. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, March 23). I Love America rally. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, March 23). The challenge of metropolitan Washington D.C. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, March 23). The greatest deacons. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, March 23). We are going to Washington. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, March 23). Thomas Road board has members for life. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, May 4). First Anniversary. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, May 4). Moral Majority: Americans who care for America. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, May 18). Clean up America given national support. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, May 18). Public schools: Time to re-think. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, November 9). Accreditation is not wrong. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, November 9). Remembering: We helped. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, November 9). The future is still bright. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, November 14). Building a great seminary. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1979, October 12). 1980s Sunday school to grow. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1980). Francis Scott Key. Faith Aflame.
  • Towns, E. (1980, February). Sunday School … 200 years old. The Evangelical Beacon, 4­6.
  • Towns, E. (1980, February 8). Ministers in politics. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1980, January 11). The second generation. Journal Champion.
  • Towns, E. (1981). The need for money in a growing soul-winning church. The Baptist Beacon, 5­6.
  • Towns, E. (1981). What is Sunday School? Success, 5­8.
  • Towns, E. (1981, April). Sunday school growth winners. Moody Monthly, 94­96.
  • Towns, E. (1981, November). 100 largest churches. The Sword of the Lord, 3­4.
  • Towns, E. (1982, February 21). 20 ways to double your Sunday school class. The Lookout, 12­14.
  • Towns, E. (1982, January 1). The peril and impact of the independent church. Christianity Today, 32­33
  • Towns, E. (1982, November). Fastest growing Sunday schools. Moody Monthly, 36­39.
  • Towns, E. (1982, September). Fundamentalism in Australia and Korea. Fundamentalist Journal, 53.
  • Towns, E. (1982, September). What happened to Sunday school busing? Fundamentalist Journal, 34.
  • Towns, E. (1983, April 1). A Bible Baptist Fellowship pastor in nationalist China. The Baptist Bible Tribune, 1.
  • Towns, E. (1983, December 23). Storehouse tithing is Christian. The Baptist Bible Tribune, 10.
  • Towns, E. (1983, February). Multiple services. Fundamentalist Journal, 65­66.
  • Towns, E. (1983, January). I visited the world's ten largest churches. Christian Life, 60.
  • Towns, E. (1983, June). Does God heal today? Fundamentalist Journal, 36.
  • Towns, E. (1984). Independent fundamental Baptists looking toward 2000 A.D. The Baptist Bible Tribune.
  • Towns, E. (1984). What is the call of God? Ministries, 38­40.
  • Towns, E. (1984). What's happening to evangelism in today's churches. Ministries, 70.
  • Towns, E. (1984, April). The nature and benefits of Christ's resurrection. Fundamentalist Journal, 22.
  • Towns, E. (1984, December 7). How the Towns family celebrates Christmas. The Baptist Bible Tribune, 9.
  • Towns, E. (1984, January). Insight into rapid church growth. Fundamentalist Journal, 57.
  • Towns, E. (1984, January 6). Roots and origins of Baptist fundamentalism. The Baptist Bible Tribune, 6.
  • Towns, E. (1984, July 6). Soul-winning evangelism. The Baptist Bible Tribune, 8.
  • Towns, E. (1984, June). The ascension. Fundamentalist Journal, 13.
  • Towns, E. (1984, June). You can't use old tools for today's job and be in business tomorrow. Fundamentalist Journal, 51.
  • Towns, E. (1984, November 23). New church growth organization growing. The Baptist Bible Tribune, 12.
  • Towns, E. (1984, October). America's largest churches. The Sword of the Lord, 4­6.
  • Towns, E. (1984, September). The history of fundamentalism. Fundamentalist Journal, 21­24.
  • Towns, E. (1985). 154 steps to revitalize your Sunday school. The Baptist Bible Tribune.
  • Towns, E. (1985). Are independent Baptists in a post-revival era? Fundamentalist Journal.
  • Towns, E. (1985). The gift of faith in Christian service. Ministries, 70.
  • Towns, E. (1985). Yesterday's truth, today's method, tomorrow's Sunday School. Success, 17.
  • Towns, E. (1985, April). He is risen. Fundamentalist Journal, 15.
  • Towns, E. (1985, April). How social is the gospel? Fundamentalist Journal.
  • Towns, E. (1985, April). Money in the growing church. Pentecostal Messenger, 3­4.
  • Towns, E. (1985, April 12). Jerusalem, the mother church. The Baptist Bible Tribune, 9.
  • Towns, E. (1985, April 26). Antioch, the missing church. The Baptist Bible Tribune, 4.
  • Towns, E. (1985, February). How to read, remember, and enjoy more. Fundamentalist Journal, 22­24.
  • Towns, E. (1985, June 21). Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary Graduates 55. The Baptist Bible Tribune, 2.
  • Towns, E. (1985, May 11). Galatia, a church with doctrinal problems. The Baptist Bible Tribune, 11.
  • Towns, E. (1985, May 24). Thessalonica, a model church. The Baptist Bible Tribune, 12.
  • Towns, E. (1986). The new Sunday School and how to use contemporary methods. Foundations.
  • Towns, E. (1986, July). The new Sunday School. The Outlook, 5­7.
  • Towns, E. (1986, March). The relationship of church growth and systematic theology. The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 29, 63­70.
  • Towns, E. (1986, November). New faces of evangelism versus the old. Christian Life, 55.
  • Towns, E. (1986, September 27). FRANtastic Days, it works. The Baptist Bible Tribune, 9.
  • Towns, E. (1995, April). Can a fundamentalist church still grow? National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, April). How Promise Keepers helped a church. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, April). Liberty University gave vision for church planting. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, April). The saturation of a community. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, August). Five LU grads plus 10 years equals a great church. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, August). Laying the foundation for 10 years. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, August). Restarting a former big bus church. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, December). Steady growth at Brambleton Baptist Church. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, February). Grasping the trend of today's church growth movement. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, February). Saddleback Valley Community Church: A purpose-driven church. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, January). Fasting for national revival. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, January). Leadership summits on Sunday School. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, January). The ministry of a hometown boy. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, July). A capital idea for a Baptist church. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, July). Old church with new life. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, July). Pastor Ronnie Floyd. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, July). Temple Baptist, Detroit. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, July). Upon this rock. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, July). Who says you can't go back home? National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, June). A downtown church still winning souls. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, June). A world-class church sets world-class record: Saddleback Valley Community Church. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, June). Phenomenal growth in Dallas. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, June). Rehobeth Baptist leads convention in baptisms. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, June). The Gage Group gives churches leadership. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, March). Mid-Way Baptist Church. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, May). A Baptist church taking the gospel to Korea. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, May). Liberty University grads reunite in India. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, November). Healing spiritual in southern Mexico. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, November). I will build my church. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, November). Peoples Church. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, October). Breathing space for growth. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, October). Church planting in a tough area. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, October). Mammoth super-church has a distinguished history. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, October). Salt and light leads to growth. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, October). Saturation of a resort community. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, October). Take the church to them. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, September). A 200-year-old church gears up. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, September). Friend Day produces explosive growth. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1995, September). Liberty Bible Institute enjoys explosive growth. National Liberty Journal, 24.
  • Towns, E. (1996, August). Explosive attendance growth in Korea. National Liberty Journal, 25.
  • Towns, E. (1996, August). Friend Day. National Liberty Journal, 25.
  • Towns, E. (1996, January). From 55 to 129 on Double Day. National Liberty Journal, 25.
  • Towns, E. (1996, July). Rural church enjoys steady growth. National Liberty Journal, 25.
  • Towns, E. (1996, July). Vision Day influences church growth. National Liberty Journal, 25.
  • Towns, E. (1996, June). Defying the odds in Japan. National Liberty Journal, 25.
  • Towns, E. (1996, June). Evangelism leads to strong church growth. National Liberty Journal, 25.
  • Towns, E. (1996, March). Fasting for revival at Central Baptist Church. National Liberty Journal, 25.
  • Towns, E. (1996, November). Prayer summit revitalizes church. National Liberty Journal, 25.
  • Towns, E. (1997, August). A legacy of growth and change at Cielo Vista Church. National Liberty Journal, 26.
  • Towns, E. (1997, February). Growth from a Sunday evening Sunday School. National Liberty Journal, 26.
  • Towns, E. (1997, January). Changing the way your people pray. National Liberty Journal, 26.
  • Towns, E. (1997, January). Fasting for spiritual breakthrough. National Liberty Journal, 26.
  • Towns, E. (1997, July). Names can be deceiving (Sun Park Lamp Presbyterian Church). National Liberty Journal, 26.
  • Towns, E. (1997, July). Ohio church dedicated. National Liberty Journal, 26.
  • Towns, E. (1997, November). The most intensive evangelistic effort in history. National Liberty Journal, 26.
  • Towns, E. (1997, November). Video to be distributed to Russian churches. National Liberty Journal, 26.
  • Towns, E. (1997, September). Managing money for growth. National Liberty Journal, 26.
  • Towns, E. (1998). Church planting in the urban setting. Journal of the American Society for Church Growth, 9, 41-52.
  • Towns, E. (1998, April). How a power church agency can be a catalyst to help local churches focus on and be equipped to fulfill the Great Commission. Strategies for Today's Leader.
  • Towns, E. (1998, August). Ronn Read's multiple-service ministries. National Liberty Journal, 27.
  • Towns, E. (1998, February). The dramatic transformation of Bill Purvis. National Liberty Journal, 27.
  • Towns, E. (1996, July). Bible exposition reaches the African-American Community. National Liberty Journal, 25.
  • Towns, E. (1998, July). Cutting-edge churches. National Liberty Journal, 27.
  • Towns, E. (1998, June). Growth in transition. National Liberty Journal, 27.
  • Towns, E. (1998, March). Keep the red light burning. National Liberty Journal, 27
  • Towns, E. (1998, May). Joe Focht leads Calvary Chapel. National Liberty Journal, 27.
  • Towns, E. (1998, November). Dual effort. National Liberty Journal, 27.
  • Towns, E. (1998, November). Growth in Muscle Shoals. National Liberty Journal, 27.
  • Towns, E. (1998, November). Ronnie Floyd: Calling the convention to fasting. National Liberty Journal, 27.
  • Towns, E. (1998, October). Church growth by a satellite campus. National Liberty Journal, 27.
  • Towns, E. (1998, October). Coaching a church. National Liberty Journal, 27.
  • Towns, E. (1998, September). A church born in prison. National Liberty Journal, 27.
  • Towns, E. (1999, December). Using Christmas to cultivate souls. National Liberty Journal, 28.
  • Towns, E. (1999, February). Donation will enhance Liberty Founder's Chair. National Liberty Journal, 28.
  • Towns, E. (1999, January). Fasting brings new call to service for Gene Mims. National Liberty Journal, 28.
  • Towns, E. (1999, July). Liberty grad plants church in North Atlanta. National Liberty Journal, 28.
  • Towns, E. (1999, July). The rising revival: First-hand accounts of the incredible Argentine revival. Strategies for Today's Leader.
  • Towns, E. (1999, March). Bearing fruit 21 years later. National Liberty Journal, 28.
  • Towns, E. (1999, March). I just couldn't eat. National Liberty Journal, 28.
  • Towns, E. (1999, October). Vision of ministry and revival in upstate New York. National Liberty Journal, 28.
  • Towns, E. (1999, October). What the 21st-century church will look like. Strategies for Today's Leader.
  • Towns, E. (1999, September). Ministry inside the Capital Beltway. National Liberty Journal, 28.
  • Towns, E. (2000, April). Anointed evangelistic methods. Strategies for Today's Leader.
  • Towns, E. (2000, April). The importance of developing influential youth leaders. National Liberty Journal, 29.
  • Towns, E. (2000, February). A year of exciting victories. National Liberty Journal, 29.
  • Towns, E. (2000, January). High expectations: The remarkable secret for keeping people in your church. Strategies for Today's Leader.
  • Towns, E. (2000, July). Energizing young people to seek Christ. National Liberty Journal, 29.
  • Towns, E. (2000, July). The parable of the blazing red flourescent cross. Strategies for Today's Leader.
  • Towns, E. (2000, March). Liberty continues its legacy. National Liberty Journal, 29.
  • Towns, E. (2000, November). The Modesto Manifesto. National Liberty Journal, 29.
  • Towns, E. (2000, November). Why God used Billy Graham. National Liberty Journal, 29.
  • Towns, E. (2000, September). Imitating a cutting-edge ministry to young people. National Liberty Journal, 29.
  • Towns, E. (2001, April). Purple Heart winner now has a heart for ministry. National Liberty Journal, 30.
  • Towns, E. (2001, August). The 20/20 Vision. National Liberty Journal, 30.
  • Towns, E. (2001, February). Crusade evangelism endured. National Liberty Journal, 30.
  • Towns, E. (2001, July). The essence of the church. Strategies for Today's Leader.
  • Towns, E. (2001, July). Turning over a new leaf in church planting. National Liberty Journal, 30.
  • Towns, E. (2002). Evangelism in a postmodern world. Journal of the American Society for Church Growth, 13, 37-49.
  • Towns, E. (2002, April). Converted Muslim prepares for ministry. National Liberty Journal, 31.
  • Towns, E. (2002, December). Answering the arguments of the post-tribulation rapture position. The Conservative Theological Journal, 6, 291-313.
  • Towns, E. (2002, July). Turn your church inside out. Strategies for Today's Leader.
  • Towns, E. (2002, June). Church planting is the main thing. National Liberty Journal, 31.
  • Towns, E. (2002, June). The roller-coaster ride of planting a new church. National Liberty Journal, 31.
  • Towns, E. (2003). The beginning of the church growth movement. Journal of Evangelism and Missions, 2, 13-19.
  • Towns, E. (2003, March). Salvation by grace through faith. The Conservative Theological Journal, 7, 27-39.

Resource Packets

  • Towns, E. (1972). The campaign of the twelve. Randleman, NC: Sunday School Outreach.
  • Towns, E. (1980). The founders of Sunday school. Randleman, NC: Sunday School Outreach.
  • Towns, E. (1984). FRANtastic Days. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1984). Friend Day. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1984). Tithing is Christian. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1985). FRANgelism. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1986). Becoming a leader. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1986). Christian living. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1986). My Father's names. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1986). Outreach 12. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1986). Second Friend Day. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1986). Tithing is Christian. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1987). 154 steps to revitalize your Sunday school and keep your church growing. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1988). Second Friend Day. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1988). Team leadership. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1989). How to go to two services. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1989). How to reach your friends for Christ. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1989). Towns on teacher training. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1990). How to reach the baby boomer. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1990). Spiritual factors of church growth. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1990). The names of Jesus. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1992). Foundational doctrines of the faith. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1992). Our family giving to God's family. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1993). Getting a church started. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1993). Sunday school enrollment. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1993). Towns on church growth. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1994). Habits of the heart. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1994). Our family giving to God's family. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1994). Sunday school survival kit. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1994). Vision Day. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1995). What is right. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1995). When God is silent. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1996). Fasting for spiritual breakthrough. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1996). What the Bible is all about. Ventura, CA: Gospel Light.
  • Towns, E. (1997). From victory to victory. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (2003). Ask me to pray for you. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.

Audiovisual Resources

  • Towns, E. (1973). The Master Teacher [Motion Picture]. Gainesville, FL: Genesis.
  • Towns, E. (1974). Cassette campus (Cassette Recording). Winona Lake, IN: Ken Anderson.
  • Towns, E. (1976). 154 steps to revitalize your Sunday school and keep your church growing [Motion Picture]. Lynchburg, VA: Church Leadership Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1978). Murder of a gentle people [Motion Picture]. Lynchburg, VA: The Old Time Gospel Hour.
  • Towns, E. (1982). The laws of successful biblical Sunday school growth (Cassette Recording). Lynchburg, VA: Church Leadership Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1982). The names of Jesus (Cassette Recording). Lynchburg, VA: Church Leadership Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1983). 154 steps to revitalize your Sunday school and keep your church growing(Cassette Recording). Lynchburg, VA: Church Leadership Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1983). Say it faith (Cassette Recording). Lynchburg, VA: Church Leadership Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1987). Towns on teacher training [Motion picture]. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1988). A briefing seminar on the future of the Sunday school and church growth. [Motion picture]. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1990). How to put your Sunday school on the cutting edge [Motion picture]. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1995). The names of the Holy Spirit [Motion picture]. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1995). What every Sunday school teacher should know [Motion picture]. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
  • Towns, E. (1996). How to study and teach the Bible [Motion picture]. Ventura, CA: Gospel Light.
  • Towns, E. (1997). Praying the Lord's Prayer for spiritual breakthrough [Motion picture]. Ventura, CA: Gospel Light.
  • Towns, E. (1997). Taking the Sunday school into the 21st century [Motion picture]. Ventura, CA: Gospel Light.
  • Towns, E., and Toler, S. (1998). Leading your Sunday school into the 21st century [Motion picture]. Ventura, CA: Gospel Light.

Tracts by Elmer L. Towns

  • Towns, E. (1959). The laws of Sunday school growth. St. Louis, MO: Berean Missions.
  • Towns, E. (1973). I love Sunday school. Savannah, GA: Sunday School Research Institute.
  • Towns, E. (1976). I believe in tithing. King of Prussia, PA: Neibauer Press.
  • Towns, E. (1976). Why tithe? King of Prussia, PA: Neibauer Press.

Unpublished Works

  • Towns, E. (1958). An analysis of the implications of teaching morals in the public schools. Unpublished master’s thesis, Southern Methodist University, 1958.
  • Towns, E. (1958). The New Testament doctrine of the heart. Unpublished master’s thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary
  • Towns, E. (1979). The role of experience in theologizing. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Graduate School of Theology. Because the Graduate School of Theology never achieved accreditation and because the school has since ceased operations, Towns has not listed this Ph.D. in his curriculum vitae since 1981.
  • Towns, E. (1983). An analysis of the gift of faith in church growth. Unpublished doctoral project, Fuller Theological Seminary.

Excerpts from Publications

Towns, E. (1996). Stories on the front porch. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.

When it came my turn, I dosed my eyes and took the slip of paper at the bottom of the stack. Passing the other topics along to a classmate, I turned my slip over and read, "A History of the Wars between China and Japan." "Wow!" I exclaimed. "This paper will be long." …

Miss Logan, you ain't seen nothing yet, I thought as I read of various Sino-Japanese conflicts and included them in the paper. And I was right. After several weeks of diligent reading and writing, the paper became longer and longer just as daylight in the spring days was also lengthening. By the time I finished the project, the sun was still shining after supper and the garage was light enough so that the naked light bulb was only marginally helpful. I produced a 99-page term paper entitled, "A History of the Wars Between China and Japan." Naturally, the margins were wide and my handwriting large, just as a seventh grader would normally make them. For me, writing a 99-page paper broke mental barriers. I did something I thought I would never do, and I did it at a younger age than I expected. A 99-page term paper built self-esteem. If I could do that, I could write a book. My mother kept that paper for years.

Can anyone measure the full influence of a seventh-grade teacher four decades later? Miss Logan taught me to dream. Years later, I was able to become a college president, and later to begin the new college of my dreams. Writing a paper about the history of China and Japan created a deep love for the Orient that has resulted in several trips to the Far East both as a political commentator and a religious leader. Having convinced myself I could write a book, throughout my teaching career whenever I was unable to find an adequate textbook for a particular course, I wrote one. (pp. 58-60)

Towns, E. (1994). The Names of the Holy Spirit. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.

Often, after knowing someone for some time, we see that person in a new setting and learn something new about our friend. Perhaps we discover a new common interest or shared experience or similarity in certain skills in the process. Our new knowledge helps us better understand our friend and may contribute to a better relationship.

Many have known God and walked with God, but they are ignorant of the Holy Spirit and how He can make their lives complete. Knowing about the Holy Spirit is the first step to knowing Him and allowing Him to work in your life. Many Christians limit their understanding of the Holy Spirit to a single experience they have had with the Holy Spirit or to a particular work of the Holy Spirit. This person may emphasize the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the filling of the Holy Spirit or the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Obviously, this is a narrow understanding of the Holy Spirit.

[The first principle about the Holy Spirit is that the Holy Spirit is God's dwelling-place.] As the Spirit of the LORD, the Holy Spirit is the key to our having a vital relationship with God. From the beginning of time, it has been God's desire to dwell with people and have fellowship with them. Originally, He prepared a garden where He apparently met with Adam and Eve on a regular basis. Later, He gave Moses the plans for the Tabernacle, and His glory rested in the Holy Place in the center of His people. When the Tabernacle wore out with age, Solomon built a temple, which again was filled with the glory of God. Then, in the fullness of time, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). As Jesus prepared to leave, He promised He would send another Helper. In this age, the Holy Spirit is the means by which God dwells in and among people.

The name "Spirit of the LORD" occurs 25 times in the Old Testament. In every case, a relationship between the Holy Spirit and a specific person is either clearly stated or strongly implied. The use of this name for the Holy Spirit illustrates the desire of God to have a meaningful place among His people.

A second principle implied by the names of the Holy Spirit is that He imparts insight for living. The name Helper/Teacher suggests the Holy Spirit is willing to give us insight and help us make decisions. Also, this name implies the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

At times, Christians find it difficult to discern God's will concerning a particular decision. God directs Christians in two primary ways in making decisions. "A man's heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps" (Prov 16:9). First, God leads in our decision making by giving us the ability to think through the issues and come to a conclusion. Second, God reserves the right to intervene in our circumstances, through counsel with others, or in some other way to redirect our steps toward a better decision. In both cases, the Holy Spirit living within the Christian helps the Christian discern God's will.

The principle of power for service is implied in the name Spirit of Might. Someone has said, "You can't do the work of God with the power of man. You do the work of God with the power of God." Unfortunately, many Christians know by experience that they can in fact witness, teach Sunday School and engage in other forms of ministry without possessing a sense of God's power upon their lives. But ministry done for God in the flesh does not produce the kind of results that could otherwise be anticipated, nor is it as personally fulfilling as ministry done in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Helper/Administrative Assistant reminds us of the power for ministry that is available in the daily filling of the Holy Spirit.

This principle of power for service is also implied in the name Helper/Search Committee. The 25 occurrences of the title the Spirit of the LORD in the Old Testament describe the work people do for God when they have the Holy Spirit. Usually, the Bible describes the Spirit of the LORD coming upon people and enabling them to do a work for God. Spiritual power results from the sanctification and filling of the Holy Spirit.

The phrase Helper/Apartment Manager describes the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us. Then, the Helper/Lawyer is His work for us. Although the Scripture says much about developing personal intimacy with God (i.e., knowing God), in a certain sense we must stand in awe of Him. This principle of reverence will influence our faith in God, our prayer life and our worship; as a matter of fact, it will influence everything we do. Having proper reverence for God will help us see Him in His majesty. We will see His greatness as One who is both trustworthy and worthy of our worship.

The principle of reverence for God will also help us understand ourselves better.

Throughout the Scriptures, whenever a person or group of people gained a clearer understanding of the nature of God, they gained a more realistic understanding of themselves. Because man is made in the image of God, when a person can better see the primary object (God) he will better understand the reflection in the mirror. Usually, this understanding can be accompanied by personal repentance or a revitalization of the spiritual life. Reverence for God results in understanding who we are.

This principle of reverence for God will also change the way we live. The New

Testament makes it clear that the Holy Spirit lives within the believer. When we have reverence toward the Holy Spirit of God, we will be careful about what we do with and where we take our body, His temple. Many Christians would change their language, actions and the places they go to if they had an inner consciousness of reverence for the indwelling Holy Spirit. (pp. 18-19)

Towns, E. (1969). The ten largest Sunday schools and what makes them grow. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Most Sunday Schools fail to grow in size because they fail to operate out of strategy or a planned program of outreach. Also, some strategy is misleading and will not produce growth. In order to grow, a Sunday School must have the right leader with the right strategy. The following factors were found to be those that produced growth in the ten largest Sunday Schools… .

1. Emphasis on Numbers. In the ten largest Sunday Schools a consuming attention is given to numbers. Dr. Lee Roberson, was faced with the question of numbers, "Sure I'm interested in numbers," answered Dr. Roberson. "One is a number. Too often ministers say they are interested in quality and not quantity. One soul is a number and I am interested in reaching as many souls for Jesus as possible." Later, Dr. Roberson suggested that the churches who placed emphasis on numbers actually had a quality ministry… . Dr. Vick of Temple Baptist Church justified his emphasis on numbers by pointing to the Scriptures. He pointed to the fact that Jesus bad twelve disciples, later in the Book of Acts there were 120 people, next an emphasis was made on 3,000 conversions and finally over 5,000 souls were added to the church. Dr. Vick concluded, "I place emphasis on numbers because the Bible does." … The ministers of the ten largest Sunday Schools have a primary desire to reach large numbers of lost people. This seems to be their primary motive. The secondary motive is to build a large Sunday School.

2. Enrollment and Follow-up of Sunday School Pupils. Some of the Sunday Schools plan to enroll more pupils, as part of a systematic outreach to expand the Sunday School. Dr. James Bryant, Minister of Evangelism, First Baptist Church, Dallas, stated, "Enrollment is more important than attendance. If enrollment goes up, attendance will automatically follow, but not vice versa." … Enrollment simply means the name of the pupil is on the roll book. In all the Sunday Schools, becoming a member of the Sunday School is an easy task. But the one significant point of enrollment is absentee follow-up. "Once we get a name on our rolls, the pupil feels an obligation to return," stated one pastor. "Then if the pupil is absent, we go after him." What some churches call "prospect visitation" other churches call "absentee follow-up." Every one of the ten churches had an extensive follow-up program. Even Calvary Temple and Thomas Road Baptist Church, who did not have a highly organized visitation program, did have a highly organized follow-up plan.

3. Teacher-pupil Ratio. One of the foundations of Sunday School laws has been,

"Enrollment increases in proportion to workers at the ratio of ten to one." This simply means a church usually has about ten times as many pupils as teachers. So absolute has been this law, that Barnette states, "A church by unusual efforts may attain more than this ratio for a time, but it is most difficult to maintain for a longer period than a few months a higher average than the ten to one ratio." However, most of the ten largest Sunday Schools do not reflect this rigid law. Many have a much lower ratio. The Canton Baptist Temple, which averages over 3,500 in Sunday School by this law, should have 350 teachers, but only has 210. Temple Baptist Church, Detroit, averaging 3,400 in Sunday School should have 340 teachers but in fact only has 200. Most of the ten Sunday Schools have large youth and adult Sunday School classes. The large class is not a pragmatic solution to overcrowding, but a direct action based out of conviction that the "master teacher" will accomplish more than an inferior teacher in the small self-contained classroom.

4. The Master Teacher and the Large Sunday School Class. Most of the Sunday

Schools have large youth and adult Sunday School classes, built around the capable teacher who can communicate to large classes. The conviction is that a teacher should be able to expand his class attendance according to the size of his capabilities. However, Barnette, defending the ten to one ratio attacks the large class. "There are a few large classes, but they are the exception, and as a rule are built around a strong personality rather than into a church program." Many of the ten largest churches believe in emphasizing the large adult class built around the strong personality, rather than into the church program. (pp. 81-83)


Recommended Readings

Towns, E. (1967, September). The birth and death of churches. The United Evangelical Action, 32-36.
Towns, E. (1969). The ten largest Sunday Schools and what makes them grow. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Towns, E. (1989). How to reach the baby boomer. Lynchburg, VA: Church Growth Institute.
Towns, E. (1996). Stories on the front porch. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
Towns, E. (1997). Stories about my first church. Ventura, CA: Regal.
Towns, E. (2003). The effective evangelism view. In G. McIntosh (Ed.), Four views of church growth. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing.
Towns, E., & Bird, W. (2000). Into the future. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Other Resources

Extensive reviews of Towns' works as well as reflections on his activities up to 1999 may be found in the following projects:

Brown, D. (1999). A chronological presentation of the writings of Elmer L. Towns from 1986-1999. Unpublished doctoral project, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.
Towns, S. (1985). Elmer Towns, a biographical and chronological presentation of his writings. Unpublished doctoral project, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1985).
Biographical information, books and articles, slideshow presentations, and other resources are available at http://www.elmertowns.com

Author Information

Mark H. Senter III

Mark H. Senter III, Ph.D., is chair of the Educational Ministries Department and professor of educational ministries at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.

Timothy Paul Jones

Timothy Paul Jones, Ed.D., is pastor of First Baptist Church of Rolling Hills, Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has served as adjunct professor of biblical languages for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Oklahoma Baptist University’s Ministry Training Institute.

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