Death of the "Mainline."
The mainline church is dying. Its traditional givers are being buried faster than you can say "institutional loyalty." The Roomers who follow them will use their inheritances to buy SUVs and tummy-tucks. The Busters who follow them will spend their share to pay off credit cards and luxury vacations. Their children will use whatever scraps are left on flat-screen televisions, psychiatrists, and their share of national debt. And all the while, as trillions pass from hand to hand to hand, the mainline institutions are busy arguing over adiahora, rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, and complaining that someone moved their cheese."
There is a simple five-point biblical model for the congregation of the post-Christian world. It is found in the second chapter of Acts and it looks a lot like the model for the preChristian world.
* They met in homes.
* They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching (Word).
* They devoted themselves to the breaking of bread (Sacrament).
* They dedicated themselves to prayer.
* They took darn good care of each other.
If you wish to grow a church that not only survives but also thrives in the uncharted waters of the future, I suggest you go back to the future and look no further than Acts 2. The fun part of all this is that you get to be radical and reactionary all at the same time.
JB here: I like the article and agree with most of it. I do believe, however, the author neglected 1 particularly telling issue. Any church that no longer bases it beliefs upon the written word of the Creator God is bound to become irrelevant and dead. The more the mainline has watered down the Scriptures, the "deader" they have become. Going to a house-church model won't help them if they focus their teaching on sociological cant - driven hither and yon by every fresh wind of thought emanating from the Universities who are united in just 1 thing. They don't believe there is a Creator God and they certainly don't intend to listen to Him if he does happen to exist. Any church that relies on the philosophy of the modern university is "deader then a doornail" already.