The Christian Growth Study Plan is a self-study approach to leadership development and Christian growth for churches and individuals to use in preparing believers to serve. For more than 110 years, thousands of believers in Jesus Christ have used the Christian Growth Study Plan as a tool to guide their efforts in seeking to grow in their relationship with Him and develop their leadership and ministry skills for serving Him.
Our Christian Growth Study Plan website enables you to print completion certificates. LifeWay no longer prints certificates or maintains transcripts or any records of the past or current participants' studies. Please see our FAQ for additional information.
The Church Study Course began in 1902 when B. W. Spilman, the first secretary of LifeWay Christian Resources, authored Normal Studies for Sunday School Workers. This course became one of the requirements for the King's Teacher diploma. The Baptist Young People's Union joined the system in 1907, and a Missions study class and Brotherhood certificate were added in 1925. Other courses were added through the years, such as a Sunday School Administration course in 1920 and a Vacation Bible School course in 1924. Church Music added to the educational value of the system in 1946.
In 1959, the Sunday School Training Course, the Graded Training Union Study Course, and the Church Music Training Course were combined into the Church Study Course for Teaching and Training. Woman's Missionary Union training courses were merged with the system in 1961, and the Brotherhood Commission joined the system in 1967.
A redesign of the system was done in 1970 and called the new "Church Study Course." However, this system was so complicated that it was completely revised in 1975. The system worked well until it was totally computerized in 1983.
Beginning in 1983, the Church Study Course system was maintained in the mainframe computer at LifeWay Christian Resources. By the end of 1996, the mainframe computer was replaced by a system which offered new electronic opportunities for the Church Study Course system.
With this in mind, the Coordinating Committee of the Inter-Agency Council of the SBC created a special workgroup to redesign the Church Study Course system. The workgroup began their work January 1995. On January 23, 1996, the Coordinating Committee approved the recommendations presented by the workgroup. The Inter-Agency Council approved the recommendations during their February 1996 meeting. With this approval came a completely new computer system and a new title--Christian Growth Study Plan: Preparing Christians to Serve.
The records of 336,000 Church Study Course active participants were electronically transferred to the Christian Growth Study Plan database during the summer and fall of 1996. On November 1, 1997, the Christian Growth Study Plan Website was up and running. This new approach to accessing reports marked the end of years of massive mailings to the churches, associations, and state convention offices.
In July 2010, LifeWay automated printing the CGSP certificate online. Participants in CGSP now have complete control over their record keeping and certification process.
During 2012, the Christian Growth Study Plan celebrated 110 years of leadership development and Christian Growth. Thousands of believers continue in the system to prepare themselves for ministry and grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
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