Thursday, May 26, 2005

Let's Fix What's Broken

Picked up a book by Mark Driscoll entitled "The Radical Reformission." Thumbed through it a little this morning and am looking forward to tearing into it. A quote from the book jacket, which I assume is from the book, says "If the unchurched in the United States ever formed their own country, it would be the world's eleventh most populous nation. Tragically, most of our present approaches to reach them are not working." That makes my heart beat a little faster.
I'm at a point in my life where that bothers me greatly. The institutional church isn't getting it done. Most frustrating for me is that I'm such a product of it (the aforementioned "institutional church"), that its all I know. But equally if not more frustrating are those of us, myself included, who are products of this framework, who just don't get it. The "It's all about me and my needs" stuff that goes on is mind boggling. I long for and pray for the day when we spend more time talking about how to connect people to God, and zero time discussing who' s mad because we didn't sing the appropriate number of hymns this week, etc. A couple of Brian McLaren quotes from a seminar last week...some related, some not...
  • We need more churches to be planted. Church planting in relation to national growth has declined every decade since the civil war.
  • Evangelizing the non-Christian in our post-Christian culture is similar to being a missionary in Asia or Africa.
  • Evangelism won't work unless people can meet a Christian who has a better life - a more meaningful life. Non-Christians aren't looking for better programs, yet most churches spend most of their time and resources and energy on nothing but that.

If you haven't read McLaren, do. Prepare to be a little disturbed, confused, even mad. But be prepared to think a little, too.

I've heard that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But what if its broke??


  1. Don't think TOO hard about McLaren's writings. While some of his points may be valid, he frequently offers misguided views. McLaren is the posterboy for the Postmodern, Post-Evangelical Emergent Church. His book, A Generous Orthodoxy, is generous to the point where very, very little orthodoxy remains. He claims that there's no such thing as absolute truth, then sells people books that contain these truths and others.

  2. So, have you actually read McLaren, or are you merely quoting his critics who often misquote him? BTW, he never says there is no absolute truth. Problem with “absolute” is the definition. The guy in Alabama or wherever who kicked people out of his church for voting for Kerry (for instance) probably has a definition of “absolute truth” that means “do you believe in the same things I do the same way I do, and if you don’t you’re a flaming liberal.” I can’t speak for McLaren, but I do believe we have to be thinking about church structures, etc. in an effort to continue to reach people with the Gospel. People change, their approach and receptivity change; and though the Gospel doesn’t (McLaren or other “post-evangelical” types never suggest it should), the church should continue to be open to new structures. Some of these guys contend that we’ve done a better job winning people to the evangelical church than we’ve done winning people to Jesus. Hard to argue with that. Don’t get me wrong – lots of this stuff puzzles me and flat out makes me angry. Constant evaluation of how we do what we do is critical, and under that umbrella of thinking comes reading people like McLaren and hearing what they have to say. (I did enjoy Mark Driscoll’s “Radical Reformission,” – very interesting stuff, yet plenty of controversial thoughts that don’t set well with we fundamental far-right types….)

    For what its worth…


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