Thursday, August 21, 2008

The latest trend?

I often marvel at how silly we can be. By "we" I mean followers of Jesus in America. It seems we're always looking for the latest trend, the newest methodology, the best data to support our positions.

I came across another one of these sorts of tidbits just a moment ago. Well intended, for sure. But at least a tad bit silly.

It seems that some people with more money than I commissioned a study to find out some things about why people join churches and why they leave them. The full article is here, for your reading enjoyment.

The results? In a nutshell, people like friendly churches. Even more profound, people tend to like churches where they can develop strong relationships. More marvelous still, "younger" (read: culturally postmodern) people tend to value these attributes even more than others!

I must say, I'm shocked. I had no idea that pomos would be more interested in real community than most anything else. Seriously? Wow.

Okay, I'm done with the dripping saracasm. But let's think about this for just a second: if we're analyzing this data from a viewpoint of efficacy (which clearly this article is), aren't we missing the point? Is it really in the best interest of churches to study "what works" and not merely "what's right"? We end up with merely the "latest trend in research" kind of thinking... Sad.

The point is this: the Church of Jesus Christ must be founded upon relationships because it was designed by the Creator to be founded upon relationships. It is first and foremost about our relationship to Him - notice I said our relationship to Him, not merely my relationship to Him. We are to be a body, a family, a community ... not a collection of individuals.

Data or no data, local churches should be striving toward authentic community because it's the right thing to do. If articles like these make people hop on a trend-setting bandwagon only to switch to the next big thing a year or two down the road, we've missed the point. We've been given the blueprint for what a healthy church looks like (hint: it looks like a healthy family); let's just focus on that, eh?


Read More......