The Pitfalls of Church Renewal
The disturbing decades-long decline in church rolls along with the growth of the “nones” and rise of the “dones” has led me to believe that the most urgent business of the Church is not the evangelization of the lost, as important as that is, but the re-evangelization of the “saved.” Why so?
It is a sad reality that as few as 3 percent of professed Christians could be called disciples—that is, believers who have dedicated their lives to become more like Jesus by learning to do the things he commanded us to do.
But imagine if the discipled population was doubled, tripled, or quadrupled over the next decade; what might happen if the majority of professed Christians were actually practicing Christians—believers whose works and words align with the teachings of Jesus? I suspect that we would see a Kingdom movement not experienced since the time of the apostles.
It’s Not Working
I am not alone in recognizing the pressing need of re-reaching the “saved.”
Troubled over the systemic incongruence between Christian teachings and Christian practice, Protestant pastor Bill Hull recounted the day he stood in the pulpit and put a bracing question to his congregation: “Why should we bring … new people into something that is not working?” This, right after the church had received 83 new members!
What wasn’t working was discipleship. Years of investment in programs, strategic plans, cutting edge worship services, small groups, and outreach events, had generated a frenzy of activity, but little transformation. Against the prevailing wisdom, Bill realized that church involvement and busyness do not translate into personal spiritual growth. It is a lesson that could have been learned by close attention to biblical history. Continue reading here.