SIDEBAR: Ten Necessary Changes for the American Church To Have a Bright Future


by David T. Olson


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Christian leaders and churches need to accept and learn to thrive in the new world that is post-Christian, postmodern, and multiethnic.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Established churches must embrace church planting as a primary method of passing the faith on to future generations.
  8. 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.
  9. Pastors and leaders need to devote more energy to raising up and training young leaders in their churches, colleges, and community organizations.
  10. The church needs to recognize anew the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church.

DAVID T. OLSON, Minneapolis, Minnesota