Here's the challenge. There seems to be an inability to look at what I see as a central question: What if what we define as The Problem with our church is actually The Point? It is a commonplace for those thinking and writing about the church to engage in amateur sociology and try to discern "what has gone wrong?" Their answers are all too often the same theories they came in with: the prosperity gospel, the increased materialism of the culture, the decreased attention span, too much social justice, not enough social justice, insisting on strict doctrine, not insisting on strict doctrine. It all grows very tiring listening to people conclude their assumptions. In all this supposedly intense soul-searching and hard looks at the church, the obvious is neglected.
1Cor 7:6-28. Where we are set is where we are to be found, with exceptions. This is not a command, but general advice.
Eat what God has put in front of you. Learn the lesson of this hour. Receive the daily bread.
Church growth tends strongly to reflect population increase in an area - not all the clever ideas we have about what a church should be. As long as we are bringing in all the people who showed tremendous church growth in an area where the population was growing and treating them as if they know something, we are running in circles.
This fault comes from a misunderstanding of early church history. We believe that the early church grew at phenomenal rates. After the first few years of explosive growth, it grew at about 1% a year for centuries. But we think spectacular growth should be the norm, and follow those leaders whose number came up on the roulette wheel, ignoring the invisible evidence of those churches which applied exactly the same principles and foundered.
We think only those plants which grow six feet in a season are obeying God. But most things that grow six feet in a season are weeds. (Okay, corn excepted).
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Akafred sent this link around to our Bible study. It is an opinion column about who is leaving churches and where they are going. I commented at the site as follows.
Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at 9:41 PM