Building Christian Communities: Strategy for Renewing the Church
Clarke’s basic ideas are:
(1) It is virtually impossible to live the Christian life without being in a Christian environment.
(2) In past days our surrounding Western culture tended to reinforce Christian values. Therefore it was more possible to live as a Christian with a less intense connection with our churches.
(3) However, nowadays our culture has shifted and is much less Christian in its values.
Therefore, if churches are to continue to promote Christian living, they will have to supply an additional communal element that our culture previously supplied. Failure to do that will result in less people actually living christianly.
(4) There is a fundamental difference between organizations and environments. The former are structure to “do things efficiently.” The latter are a far more formative environment. Admittedly, many people groupings are a mixture of the two. After all, even environments usually have to have a certain amount of organization to keep going. But you really have to choose between which of the two is the dominant theme of your people gathering.
(5) Most of today’s churches and religious institutions have opted for an organizational approach. If we continue in this mode we are doomed to have less an less people actually living christianly because they are missing receiving the support that a Christian environment uniquely brings.
Clarke then goes on to discuss the characteristics of environmental leaders and how such environments function. I found this whole discussion extremely stimulating in thinking about church renewal. We have actually experienced such a Christian community and Clarke put into words what we actually found to be true, experimentally.
For further NOTES See also the BACK of the book!
|Author:||Stephen B. Clark|