SIDEBAR: Ten Necessary Changes for the American Church To Have a Bright Future
by David T. Olson
- Christian leaders need to be honest about what is happening in the American church, their denomination and its churches, and personally lead the church forward with spirituality, chemistry, and strategy.
- Established churches need to have the courage and commitment to pursue both health and growth. This dedication needs to come from pastoral and lay leaders and from members.
- Christian leaders and churches need to accept and learn to thrive in the new world that is post-Christian, postmodern, and multiethnic.
- The best pattern for the mission of the American church is the Early Church’s attitude, model, and mission strategy to the Greco-Roman world.
- In this new world, pastors need to upgrade their ministry gifts and skills, learning to articulate the message and mission of Jesus with passion, power, and wisdom.
- Christians must engage their neighbors with a humble and listening attitude, relishing the new opportunities God has made available. A great way to begin is through the recovery of the historic Christian ministry of hospitality.
- Established churches must embrace church planting as a primary method of passing the faith on to future generations.
- Denominations need to learn how to develop turbocharged mammalian church-planting structures while encouraging the initiative and interest in church planting to come from the grassroots level, both in established and new churches.
- Pastors and leaders need to devote more energy to raising up and training young leaders in their churches, colleges, and community organizations.
- The church needs to recognize anew the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church.
DAVID T. OLSON, Minneapolis, Minnesota