There’s a lot of duscussion about the failures of the institutional church.  However, most of the discussion is about why the church of the 1950s has failed, and why their approach is the new definitive way to turn around the church.

One model “proves” it’s point with a 3-column chart.  Column one is their description of the first thru third century church.  Column two is their assessment of “mid-twentieth century”  church.  Column three is their approach.  It should come as no surprise that their approach matches the early church description in column one, almost word-for-word.

I don’t buy it.  Neither should you.

It’s a false dichotamy.

Very few congregations have a “member benefit” mindset.  And by calling it “member benefit” they’ve used a loaded catch-phrase.  Didn’t Jesus define the standard of authentic faith as when the congregation loved one another in visible ways?  Didn’t the Jerusalem church in Acts 2 spend a lot of time feeding and teaching the church members?  Sounds like it was beneficial to be a member.

There’s been a lot of study about what the new church model ought to be.  I’m not convinced there’s anything wrong with the model, though there needs to be some adjustments.  The complaints in this model are valid in some cases.  There are some church leaders that act unbiblical in their dictatorial domination of the congregation.  But that’s not the norm.

Most congregations are led by men and women who love God and love His people.  Most congregations are filled with people doing church the best they know how.  They’re not resistent to change. Most of them have color TVs, microwaves, and cell phones.  They get new cars every few years, try new restaurants, even use the computer.   They faithfully take miracle medicines, read their Bibles and give their tithes.  Most pray for the lost and the missionaries.

The task for the 21st century church leader is not to make the modern church look like a 2d century congregation, but to organize culturally-relevant congregations to worship God, care for one another and spread the Gospel, updating the methods without compromising the core.  And without having to create a paper enemy to joust at.

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