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Matt Brennecke

I thought you were going to explain that churches were turning to scantily clad former baywatch models to lipsynch worship songs.

Seriously, I wonder if the ratio has any real usefullness in planning. Billy Grahm crusades "save" thousands every year, but only 3% supposedly stay.

What method did the early church use? It seems to me that they just lived life honestly, loved one another, had answer for the hope that was in them, and people were added to thier number daily.


It would seem to me that doing church planting this way is likely to miss all the benefits that it is actually going after. In my experience, in a smaller environment, people realise that the community is fragile and take greater ownership if you like of the inclusive and welcoming aspects of being church.

In older small churches, the same understanding of the fragility exists, but it is accompanied by a rigidity of functioning that is difficult to change. In a smaller/younger church things are flexible and people are willing to try different things.

And finally, the other thing that in my opinion sets apart new churches is that they are often characterised by a detailed thinking and understanding of the foundations and missional frameworks of the community. That is, they are created intentionally to address particular communities - the sort of analysis that becomes less frequent in larger communities.

I think I already said "finally" but I wonder also about the value of choosing church models on the basis of "converts" - it seems like the flip side of the church growth movement - the idea that bigger is necessarily better. Is a church with lots of new people coming through the door but which is not having any discernible impact on the least of these in the community effective or successful?


Matt: "...scantily clad former baywatch models to lipsynch worship songs." What a mental picture. LOL ROLF

Dan: i could not agree more. i tend to stand in direct opposition to the thinking that the basic planting outline shows. Rather than build a church, my vision is to cultivate a network of smaller communities that link together occasionally to worship and give back to the greater community we all belong to. This takes time, faith and an experiential understanding of just how fragile Christian Community is.

Matt Brennecke

If a group of people decides to organize as a group, they have a natural way of doing things that seems right to them as a group. If there are disagreements, a small group can make decisions through simple discussion (Ekklesia). Once a group has been together a while, they come to a point whre they have to either agree that new members of that group can discuss and debate about foundational group issues, or that they will prevent changes in the groups foundation.

I think most institutional churches make the second choice, to write down bylaws or put in charters or creeds that explain to new people what "we" believe. It would be very difficult in a large group to allow open group decision making, usually they end up with some authority structure in place to maintain the status quo.

I think the small new church draws new people because they really can participate, and what they think matters to the group. In an "established" church setting that flexibility is limited, and a "convert" must accept the group thinking right from the start. Members are more likely to tell the convert how it is than discuss things as equals. Since not everyone is open to this, this eliminates certain potential converts.

The reverse is true of small group settings. They are so intimate and open that some people will never be comfortable there either. They can also be rigid just because of the intensity of the individuals (or thier theology)that make up the group.

I think we make a serious error when we look at churches as the primary means of evangelism and attempt to plan the "perfect church". Churches are made up of people, and as such they are faulty. There is no one right way. Scour the scriptures, but there are very few specific instructions about meetings. Certainly not enough to justify being rigid about how we "do church".


I hope you don't mind me posting here but I just had a comment about it....I have belonged two two churches, one was not active in the way of generating converts and the other one fully based it's survival on converts. Both claimed to teach the true doctrine and claimed to be the one and only true church. In the church that didn't have missionaries, my life wasn't as regulated and watched as it was in the church that did have missionaries. In the missionary church I was a "convert" and therefore I always had members of the church looking out for me, and making sure I was doing what was right. In the church that did not have any missionaries I wasn't watched as closely and was free to explore. When I left that church, it was ok and the people where saddend but agreed that I needed to find my own path. However leaving the missionary church where I was a convent it was not so easy to leave. I had to re-locate, sever ties with the the members and basically fall of the face of the earth to leave. I am still battleing with the church headquarters to get my name removed from the records.

So, if I where to be asked which church I would prefer it is obvious I would prefer the first. However, I did enjoy the closeness of the second one and the sense of belonging, I just didn't like the feeling of being smothered and not haveing room to breath.

Good luck!


I believe God is moving against "formula church" or what we might rightly call man's church. He is tearing it down (Hosea 6). It must be torn in order to mend it, or reshape it - His way. My experience has been that real spiritual growth takes place in community with others with God as our center and focus. Our traditional church structures have lost that as our social communities also have lost much. Wolfgang Simson speaks of the DNA of church in his book, "Houses That Change The World". It is an organic growth, something that is alive that we pass to others. We do it in the context of family, friends and intimate community. It's natural, or perhaps super-natural! It does work to grow us personally and it will grow new churches exponentially. Were talking twiggy here, not Pamela Anderson. OOps aged myself. If us old fogeys love little church, the young folks should be ecstatic. It's freeing and yet brings me right up close with God. I feel more centered, it's about getting real with God.


The new church recruiting isn't working as planned because people have learned to think for themselves. In this world, it already seems like God either has a) no heart, or b) a sadistic sense of humor. Given what's going on around us, I don't blame people for being concerned with themselves (worshipping that false idol, baby) or just learning to get along without sitting, standing, kneeling times 3.


n huppert

Do you really need to put a picture of large (nearly bare) breasts on a Christian site? What game are you playing?

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