The core purpose of this series is to dig through the cultural, ecclesiastical, and corporate (business) issues that have been added to the church over the last two thousand years. I am not interested in getting rid of these trappings so much as discovering what they are and what the bedrock of the church would look like without them. Once exposed, then we can decide what to keep and what is unnecessary.
Over the years, I began to put together a list of criteria which I would periodically hold up to a congregation to help them determine whether they were still on track with what God wanted for His Church. These criteria included: (1) growing numerically, (2) growing spiritually, (3) reproduction, (4) missions, and (5) ministry. This list set the framework for the study into the reality of what the church should be.
Unfortunately, I believe that fully 80 percent of the existing congregations in America probably could not pass this test. Therefore, this may mean that we need to help our current churches re-envision their purpose and not hamstring those moving out regardless of their size or leadership style.
God is doing a great and marvelous work amongst us today. We must get on board with His program and stop reinventing it around those criteria that make us feel or look good. I doubt anything that I will say is new. I am a practitioner. All of this comes from my own struggles with understanding what God wants for His church. Please join me in the struggle as together we seek His will.