Do church growth tactics attract the unchurched?

The best argument for adopting the techniques of the Church Growth movement–contemporary worship, non-traditional styles, and culturally-relevant practices–is to reach the lost, the unbelievers, the unchurched.  Such “missional” concerns often trump all other considerations.  It’s hard to argue against the importance of evangelism and the Great Commission.

But the question remains, do the Church Growth techniques that have given us so many megachurches, in fact, attract non-Christians and others who do not normally go to church?

I stumbled across a study of those who attend megachurches–one that is actually pro-megachurch in many ways–that found that only 2% do not describe themselves as “committed followers of Jesus Christ,” and only 6% do not come from other congregations. [Read more…]

HealthCare.gov is now mostly working–will you sign up?

HealthCare.gov is now working 90% of the time, according to officials, though glitches sometimes come up.  So those of you who don’t have health insurance or whose individual plans have been cancelled have until the end of the month to buy Obamacare-approved insurance on the exchange.  Otherwise, you won’t be covered by January 1 and you will risk fines for the crime of being uninsured.  (You have until March 31 before the penalties click in.  In a system all of the parts have to work, which is hard in this case since parts of Obamacare have been postponed.  It gets very confusing.  Here is a helpful guide to it all.)

So now is the time to poll you readers who are most immediately affected by the Obamacare laws.  I would very much like to hear from those of you who don’t currently have health insurance and who will be required to buy it, possibly with the help of government subsidies, under Obamacare.  Will you do so?  Or would you rather pay the fine?  (The links above will show you about how much it will be.)  Are you glad that Obamacare is making you get health insurance? [Read more…]

And now LINOS

In the political world, you will hear talk of RINOs, Republican In Name Only.  LCMS President Matt Harrison, an accomplished translator, posts his rendition of a letter by the Nazi-battling German theologian Hermann Sasse, who, in praising the Missouri Synod, gives us a useful concept:  Lutherans In Name Only (LINOS). [Read more…]

Advent and the three-fold coming of Jesus

It’s Advent Season!  Here is a fine explanation of its different dimensions from Rev. Shawn Stafford:

The word “Advent” means “coming.” During the season of Advent, we celebrate Jesus’ three-fold coming: His coming in the flesh at Christmas, His coming now through His Word and Sacrament, and His coming at the end of the world as King and Judge. Advent is also a time of personal preparation for Christ’s coming through repentance and faith. [Read more…]

When Christianity comes across as dull

The redoubtable Anthony Sacramone tells about how he was influenced–indeed, evangelized–by  C. S. Lewis.

Mr. Sacramone had gone through through a Lutheran parochial school, learned the Catechism, was confirmed.  But, like many young people, he left all of that behind as soon as he could.  Christianity, he says, “seemed so small, constricting, even petty.”  He became an atheist, but in the course of researching a story idea, he stumbled upon Lewis, who “made Christianity bigger than anything I could imagine.”  Later, he came back to Lutheranism.

Read about this after the jump, and then I want to pose some questions.   Christianity has mind-blowing teachings–the infinite God becoming a man, then taking the evil of the world into Himself and resolving it by dying and rising again and offering free forgiveness and everlasting life–so how in the world is it possible to make them seem dull?   I mean, I can see why someone might not believe it, but how can Christianity be so poorly presented that it  seems “small, constricting, even petty”?  And yet somehow that’s the way it comes across to many people, especially young people brought up in the church.  This is surely a communication fail of the highest magnitude.  [Read more…]

American absence

In the course of a discussion of how Vladimir Putin is rebuilding Russia’s Soviet-era spheres of influence, international affairs columnist Jackson Diehl raises yet another example of ineptness in American foreign policy. [Read more…]