You may be surprised to learn how the early church approached worship, communion, decision-making, and ideal congregational size. Jesus empowered the ancient church with practices that were designed to overcome division, isolated individualism, and lack-luster obedience to His will. They can do the same for your church today. NTRF is a teaching fellowship of Baptist pastors helping church leaders of all stripes recapture the intimacy, simplicity, and dynamic of Spirit-led, first-century church life.
I am former pastor and Navy chaplain. I was excited to come across your website – as I have always been disturbed by the “Grow Your Church Now” flyers that I received while pastoring. They never applied – and always lead to a “mile-wide inch-deep” faith in the persons in the pews. —Reuel S.
Click here to begin your journey (20-minute overview).
For over twenty-five years, we have provided church leaders in the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania with resources and training in how the early church met together in community. The essential tenets of the faith to which we subscribe are identical to those found in the doctrinal statements of any sound evangelical institution. Our favorite statement of faith is the First London Baptist Confession of 1646. In short, we advocate historic, orthodox Christianity poured into the wineskin of New Testament church practice as seen on the pages of Scripture. Our goal is to be Christ honoring and thoroughly biblical in every area concerning our church life.
Stephen E. Atkerson
Stephen E. Atkerson (M.Div., Mid-America Baptist Seminary) helps church leaders discover simple growth strategies given by Jesus to the early church. For over 30 years, he has worked with evangelists, missionaries, church planters, and pastors in Asia, the Americas, Europe and Africa. He is one of the pastors of a Baptist church he planted in 1991, and is President of the NTRF.
Ed holds an M. Div. from Biblical Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, served as an elder in both Baptist and Missionary Alliance churches in New England before planting a church in Connecticut. In 2001 he began hosting an annual conference on early church practice. Ed later moved to Georgia, where he served several years as an elder at a Southern Baptist church. He later launched out to help plant a new Baptist church in Athens. He also tutors pastors in New Testament Greek, and travels extensively sharing the Gospel on college campuses with a ministry called The Great Exchange.
Once a worshiper of the Hindu deity Shirdi Sai Baba and on the way to becoming a criminal, Stephen now serves the Lord Jesus as pastor of a church he planted in Hyderabad, India. He is also active in training area pastors and with the 9 Marks ministry in India. He has done his Bachelor of Theology, Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling, and Doctorate in Theology. He is author of several books, including Signs of Salvation: Understanding Counterfeit and Authentic Conversion.
A former Hindu, Muralee planted and pastors a church in Trimcomalee, Sri Lanka that holds to both early church practice and the First London Baptist Confession (1644). He also travels widely throughout the island evangelizing, planting churches and assisting existing congregations. A graduate of the Lanka Bible College and Seminary, he recently completed his D.Min degree in India.
Dan is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Recently retired from over twenty years of ministry in China, he is now active in a Baptist church and has a YouTube teaching ministry. Before moving to the China, Dan planted and led a church in South Carolina that closely followed New Testament church practices. He has traveled widely teaching on the benefits of early church practice.
Gerald Scarbrough—Gerald studied at Southwestern Baptist Seminary, afterwards serving for over 14 years on the pastoral staff at Baptist churches in Tennessee and Georgia. He then shifted his ministry focus to minister in more relationship-oriented churches that see the importance of living out early church practice. With the help of the Georgia Baptist Convention, he was also involved with a church planting effort in McDonough, Georgia. Gerald now serves as co-pastor of a Baptist Church in the Atlanta area.
Nathaniel planted and pastored a church in the same New England town where Jonathan Edwards preached “Sinners In The Hand of An Angry God.” Today he ministers as a full-time college campus evangelist. Almost any weekday he can be found on a campus somewhere directly evangelizing and coaching students in sharing their faith. He is currently active in a Baptist church in Athens, Georgia. You can follow and support his ministry here.