Thursday, January 22, 2009

Essential Church (2)

I introduced you last week to Essential Church by Thom and Sam Rainer. The driving force behind this book is that 70 percent of church-going young adults, ages 18-22, drop out of church. Instead of asking the question negatively, put a positive twist on it. Why do 30 percent of young adults stay in church? The answer? They see the church as essential in their lives. Realistically, churches are doing very little to become essential to the lives of their membership.

In a nutshell, the essential church has four components.

  1. It has learned to simplify.

  2. It moves its members to grow deeper in biblical truth.

  3. It has high expectations of its members.

  4. It is committed to helping its members multiply spiritually.

The church is losing ground. Between 1990 to 2004 the U.S. population grew by more than 18 percent. During the same time frame, church attendance decreased by around 3 percent. We are especially losing ground in reaching the emerging generation.

The Rainers cite seven common reasons why so many churches are losing ground and even dying

  • Doctrine dilution
  • Loss of evangelistic passion
  • Failure to be relevant
  • Few outwardly focused ministries
  • Conflict over personal preferences
  • The priority of comfort
  • Biblical illiteracy

More insights later.

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