I am a Thom Rainer fan. His influence on the local church is far more impactful and far reaching than many people may realize. where serving the local church or serving at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism or leading research project. and most recently in his role as the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, Thom has impact the Kingdom in amazing ways (By The Way, I am a pretty big fan of his kids – Sam, Art and Jess…my publishers at Rainer Publishing).
In a recent podcast, Thom Rainer and Jonathan Howe discussed concerns about church in the Bible Belt. Living in the heart of the Bible Belt, this caught my attention. What am I, and those I live near, needing to be aware of? What can we do? What new realities need to be faced and addressed?
Here are the 8 Causes for Concern that Thom and Jonathan addressed:
- They don’t recognize the decline in cultural Christianity.
- They have many “church rules.”
- They have leaders who have never led in a highly unchurched mission field.
- They confuse traditions with truth.
- They do outreach the way they’ve always done it.
- They have significant conflict due to frustration.
- They are very slow to respond.
- They have significant facility challenges.
Some highlights from this episode include:
- > Culture and people have changed over time, but many churches have not.
- > Many churches refuse to admit that the world around them is changing.
- > Cultural Christianity no longer exists—even in the Bible Belt.
- > Sometimes a church’s habits become “the only way something can be done.”
- > Some people are more obedient to the traditions of a church than they are to the Bible.
- > If you want to find out what a church’s idols are, start changing the bylaws.
- > How do you change the culture in an established church? Slowly.
If you are in the Bible Belt (or any part of the country) how does this impact your approach to outreach and ministry? How is culture changing around you and are you addressing it? Are there things that need to change at your church? How you do things? Why you do things?
Click below and listen for yourself. It is time well spent. And don’t forget your FACILITY CHRISTMAS gifts.