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My diagnosis of today’s church.

So… I’ve been thinking for a few months now, reading anything I can get my hands on, and talking to anyone who’ll listen and I’ve come up with some ideas.

First I should say, I led the second largest church and the church with most sites in our humble state, was our movement’s vice president and I love the church. I say those three things because I think I’m qualified to say what I’m about to say and I’m not critical.

I feel a bit like a doctor when they diagnose someone’s condition. No-one goes to the doctor and accuses the doctor of being negative or critical when they get the diagnosis (a humerous satire just flashed across my mind). Granted, if the doctor only stopped there and didn’t give a treatment, it would only be partial useful.

But anyway, I’ve looked down the throat of the church and told it to say “Ahhhh” and this is what I found. There are three things that I think might define the condition of today’s contemporary church (traditional churches have their own issues and I’m not really interested in them because I’ve only ever been in pentecostal contemporary churches). And if you can add to my list, that’d be fantastic.

1. Institutionalization (tradition, religiosity, top-down directed, sterile, programmatic)
2. Modernism (systems, productivity, teaching, information, principles)
3. Consumerism (Jesus and me, church hopping, products and services, contractual nature)

The early church had none of these, and to be honest neither does the pentecostal movement in Asia, Africa or South America suffer from these conditions and this is where Christianity is exploding. Not so in the west – it’s declining *.

* According to researcher George Barna, there are 11,400,000 Christians who gather completely outside the institutional church in the U.S. (*Data is from September 2009.)

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