I didn’t want to become a church shopper – it happened to us
through a series of church blow-ups over 20 years in seven churches. A few lessons:
1. The best service the institutional church provided was
none of the ones listed in the bulletin, but as a point of connection for
families looking for community.
2. Small nondenoms are inherently instable, dependent as
they are on one man’s leadership. But
then, in our experience, denominational churches suffered the same syndrome.
3. Five of our experiences of having to go thru the trauma
of a church move were precipitated by poor or even unbiblical leadership. The pastor-led model of church does not
follow the elder model we see in Scripture which is more stable.
4. Small groups are also unstable unless they achieve a
critical mass that is able to keep the momentum going when people are out of
town. Also, they tend to suffer from the
same issue of inward focus.
5. Our mobile culture makes it hard to develop long-term
relationships. As soon as you commit,
people move somewhere else.
6. Nowhere did we see the institutional church engage
its members in a process of spiritual coaching.
Teaching, however, was emphasized everywhere. A biblical model of life-on-life discipleship
does not seem to be a part of the modern church’s paradigm.
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