Are denominations dying? That seems to be the common wisdom. Certainly the mainline denominations are bleeding out; people are leaving those churches en masse. But what about denominations of evangelical churches that are holding fast or growing?
“The culture has changed, therefore the church must change.” That refrain, whether expressed or assumed, is the dominant motif of much of today’s church literature. And almost always, I’m unconvinced. Too often evangelicals mistake superficial trends for tectonic shifts. And too often we simply mirror the culture, as if what the world really needed was for the church to be just like it.
Pastors in reformed circles tend to be strong on justification, and how our justification should shape our daily discipleship. But I'm not sure I hear Paul's emphasis on union with Christ, with its massive implications for our day-to-day discipleship, sounding out from pulpits quite as clearly.
In case the 9Marks Journal that got released last week happened to get misplaced behind a bag of turkey leftovers, allow me to set it on the table again. It's on lay elders--that is, men who help shepherd their churches while holding down a full time job.
Loyal 9Marks readers: I'd encourage you to check out the Gospel at Work conference, scheduled for January 11-12, 2013 at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD (just outside of Washington, DC). Speakers include Os Guinness, Mark Dever, Michael Lawrence, and Bob Doll.