Dr. Larry Gilbert

Dr. Larry Gilbert has researched, written and taught about spiritual gifts for over 40 years. As founder of Ephesians Four Ministries and Church Growth Institute, Dr. Gilbert has worked with tens of thousands of churches and helped more than five million people discover their unique God-given gifts. He and his wife Mary Lou live in Elkton, Maryland. More…




As a business owner and active layperson in Cecil County, Maryland, Larry Gilbert decided to form a Christian businessmen’s organization. In the businessmen’s meetings, which included pastors, he heard of problems in boosting church membership, motivating congregations to get involved, and helping laypeople develop into spiritual mature Christians. The pastors’ frustration and quest for answers greatly concerned Gilbert. He was motivated to help struggling pastors.
[expand title=”Read More” swaptitle=”Read Less”]Gilbert founded Steps in Living Ministries in 1978 as a means to provide resources that would help pastors and churches. He sold his successful sign business in Maryland and moved to Lynchburg, Virginia where he enrolled in Liberty University. There he met Elmer Towns. With Gilbert’s business knowledge and experience and Dr. Towns’ teaching ability and church growth expertise, the two of them worked together to launch the Church Growth Institute in 1984, a new division of Steps in Living Ministries. Steps in Living Ministries changed its name to Ephesians Four Ministries, based on Ephesians 4:11-12, “for the equipping of the saints”.

The nonprofit organization was located in Forest, Virginia. It would continue to develop and publish printed resources and would also hold seminars for church leaders across the nation. Dr. Towns authored several popular resources and was the foremost seminar speaker for the organization in the early years. Dr. Gilbert oversaw the resource development and administrative duties as he also researched and authored materials and served as a seminar speaker. While Dr. Towns still contributes new resources on occasion, he does not have an active role in the organization.

In 1998, Church Growth Seminars left the organization and became a separate entity, but has since ceased. Church Growth Institute remained the publishing arm of Ephesians Four Ministries and is still in business and ministry after 36 years.

In 2008, Ephesians Four Ministries entered the world of online resources with a free online Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts Analysis at www.TeamMinistry.com based on the best-selling Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts Inventory, by Larry Gilbert, which over 5 million people have taken. This expanded to the Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts Database for groups (available by subscription), downloadable books for purchase, web store (at www.ChurchGrowth.org), and the free daily e-devotional, Prime Time With God. Through the years, our most popular resources have been Friend Day (evangelistic attendance campaign), the Team Ministry series (including Team Ministry, Team Evangelism, Team Mate and others), and the ever-expanding line of “discovery” tools such as the Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts Inventory, Spiritual Growth Survey, Evaluating Your Friendship Skills, Marriage Communication Assessment, Leadership/Management Inventory, etc.

In 2014, Church Growth Institute, changed it’s name to ChurchGrowth.org and continues to expand and grow in serving the Body of Christ with gospel resources.
Whether you are a pastor, church staff member, counselor, teacher, or lay person, ChurchGrowth.org offers resources to meet a need in your life and ministry. Through online media such as the Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts Analysis, Team Ministry Personal Ministry Finder, Serving God Where You Fit Best evaluation, Team Ministry downloadable products, and the free PRIME TIME WITH GOD daily e-devotional, you will find resources to help you understand yourself better and learn more about how and where God has equipped you for service.


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