Friday, May 21, 2010

"Viral Churches"

I was recently given the book Viral Churches. The book remains unfinished as reading with my daughter definitely slows down my typical pace. However, the first 50 pages have been inspiring, challenging, and thought-provoking. The premise of the book (the best I understand it after 50 pages) is that the current model of planting a church is both small-minded and not in keeping with the Scriptural precent. Our goal should be towards the frequent and widespread multiplication of churches rather than being content with the addition of a single church.

I'll try to post a more complete review later, but so far it's been fantastic. I feel like I've been reading a more intelligent, better researched, and passionate version of myself. The book's emphasis on leadership development is right on!!

Here's an excerpt from the book:

It's very possible to plant a church but not enlarge God's kingdom or to limit Satan's domain. Churches based on worship preferences and musical styles, or built around celebrities with the Christian subculture, reinforce consumerism and promote church shopping among those who are already believers (34).

Do you think this is an accurate assessment of some segments of American Christianity?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Panic in Fundamentalism

Winds of conern seem to be blowing through the ranks of Fundamental leaders. "Where are all the young people going?" In the last week I have heard noises of these concerns from several sources. "Why are young people leaving Fundamentalism?" "Why are they going to Evangelical seminaries?" "Why is a young man hard to find at the FBF meetings?" And I think all these "why's" are simply an attempt to find one "What?" "What do we do to stop it?"

Unfortunately, I think the motivations are complicated, the reasons are varied, and the situations are unique. Chris Anderson posted a insightful answer as to why young people are leaving fundamental churches, suggesting that the question itself might be the wrong question. Here is an exerpt from his answer:

My two cents? Kids are leaving their churches because the churches are unhealthy, not because they’re too conservative. Sheep who are shepherded well don’t tend to wander. Most don’t, anyway. So rather than blaming young people, or Christian colleges, or music, or John Piper, or Calvinism, labor to have a healthy church. And rather than preaching on why people shouldn’t leave, give them reasons to stay. Take care of sheep. Endeavor to be a good shepherd. See worship as a call to adoration, not a call to arms. Exalt the Chief Shepherd. Minister grace.

Make sure you read the rest of his article.

Personally, I'm glad the problem is getting noticed and publicly discussed. For too long it has been denied or ignored, hoping that it will go away. Recognizing that a problem exists is always the first step to solving it.

What do you think the problems are, if they exist? If they exist, should they be solved? If so, how?