3 thoughts on “Why do seemingly like-minded churches look different?

  1. Or like me you might even have missed that Sam already linked to this about two weeks ago!

  2. Hi Tony,
    Thanks for reposting the link. I missed Sam’s post as well.

    I’d like to suggest a small change that makes a big difference. I’d change the first point to:

    1. The mission of the disciples has gotten sidetracked.

    The great commission was given to Jesus’ disciples. Often the church feels the need to take this responsibility from the disciples and take it on itself. This is a burden the church cannot bear. It leads to an attractional church model which fails to train it’s people in evangelism. The focus changes from training disciples who make more disciples, to bringing people to a church event.

    I think Kevin would benefit from reading:
    Jensen, Philip. ‘What Is Church For?’ The Briefing, no. 397
    Payne, Tony, and Al Stewart. ‘Building New Engines’. The Briefing 399

  3. It’s a great list, and there’s nothing that I’d want to delete from it. Like most blog articles, however, it is very ‘occassional’ – de Young has offered the points focusing on the concrete issues that (probably) rear their head in his experience. What I’d add is the flip side of the coin for most of the points – the ‘other’ concrete implication of the same general point that I think is standing behind each of his ten points. For example:

    1. Right mission and properly articulated but it doesn’t grip or inspire the church.

    2. The church is trying to preserve forms from a previous era and really doesn’t care whether contemporary people are reached/respond or not.

    3. The gospel is stated but the connections between the gospel and life are not articulated clearly or powerfully

    4. Doctrine is delineated but people aren’t show the ‘so what’ about that doctrinal precision.

    5. The ministry of the word is treated as though it is a sacrament – discipleship is reduced to listening to sermons, and people are more interested in the quality of the sermons than the quality of their response to the sermons.

    6. The call to repentance is divorced from the framework of grace. Preachers either hold out grace and call people to faith, or they call them to repent and that framework of grace disappears. Both are present, but the connection between the two is missing. Making calls to repentance truly sting and poke but yet not impose a new legalism is a hard won ‘skill’ but critical to a church that avoids both cheap grace and moralism

    7. There is no example of carefully showing how particular parts of the Bible feed into the Bible’s message as a whole – people are exposed to constant exposition, yet their sense of the overall plot of the Bible, and the Bible’s teaching on the big topics never seems to advance very far.

    8 & 9 stand on their own as they’ve been articulated ‘generically’

    10. The problem of sin and the solution of the Saviour is grasped and proclaimed, but the ability to show how that illuminates all of life is impoverished, leading to people having to address the ‘real’ problems of life without reference to the framework of sin and the Saviour despite their desire to do otherwise, or else it is used in a way that leads to unwise and sometimes ungodly approaches.

    None of that is an attempt to play ‘gotcha’ with de Young. I think his list is great. But if you’re going to ask me what I’d add, that’s where the pedant in me goes – the other side of the coin for each of the points, acknowledging that for the most part de Young has correctly identified the majority problem and I’m highlighting the minority cases.

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