I thought I'd pass on one of the nuggets from last week's few days of study from Stuart Murray. He was doing stuff on church planting but making the very obvious point that you can't talk about church planting without addressing why people are leaving the church in their droves as we would merely be replicating churches that lose Christians.
I've written on this trend myself. Often times we start out with great intentions, strong vision, a call from God, and then we put new makeup on an old institution. Our style changes but we ultimately replicate churches that are ineffective in the long haul. My concern is that the emerging churches will fall into the trap of only addressing stylistic issues and not deal with the deeper issues of life and doctrine.
Over the past few months i've been posting on the emergent church from this viewpoint. Rather than cultivate an "emergent church" after the typical pattern of church planting, we are allowing God to move us through the process of re:thinking why we even gather as the church. I'm not about repeating the current problems with the Church that looses christians. I'd rather allow God to help us cultivate a community worth staying in.
The full text of Richard Sudworth's article gives some great ideas about what might keep people in the church. i tend to think that a Home Church is the best place to foster the type of suggestions mentioned in Richard's post. The institutional variety of church almost appears to be antithetical to his suggestions. Yet God can work here too.