Thursday, April 26, 2007

What To Do When the Gospel Is Not Enough

ReligionWriter.com reports:

Booklet: Why — and How — Churches Need to Innovate

The Dallas-based Leadership Network – the closest thing the evangelical world has to a church think-tank – released in February a glossy publication covering the newest and best ways to “do church.” The 63-page Innovation 2007 starts off with a provocative sampling of relevant statistics. Did you know the average American spends only seven minutes a day on religious practice? Or that the largest 10% of congregations contain 50% of all American church-goers? And that 37 million Americans live in poverty?

Changing social, religious and demographic realities make innovation “inevitable,” writes Warren Bird, executive editor and primary writer of Innovation 2007, in an email to ReligionWriter. “Language changes, technology arrives. Since culture is constantly shifting, so our way of bringing the same, unchanging Good News may change.”

If you haven’t heard these buzz words before – multi-site, externally focused, encore generation – Innovation 2007 offers journalists, church leaders and interested observers a chance to bone up on church trends. A quick sampling of successful innovations:
  • Using video cast sermons and other Sunday-morning content to create a “multi-site” church with multiple locations.
  • Preaching regularly on helping those beyond the church walls.
  • Creating house churches where believers gather for an intimate worship and discipleship experience.
  • Making church a place where people can admit and overcome substance abuse and other addiction issues.
  • Ministering to the needs of the “sandwich generation,” which cares for children and elderly parents at the same time.
  • Modeling financial generosity at the leadership level.
  • Helping people navigate complex health care services.
  • Pinpointing underutilized talent in a congregation and encouraging “ministry entrepreneurship.”
  • Viewing university outreach as a strategic investment, not simply an obligation.
Strange - I don't see a thing about presenting people with the Law and Gospel. What a shame Jesus and the early church didn't have this program to present the unchanging Gospel. What He really needed was programs, programs, programs! So many more could have been saved.

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