Saturday, April 07, 2007

Church Growth Without Christ

There is a new church starting up in our area; I’ve heard their commercials several times on television and radio. There is one disturbing thing about them: they never mention “Jesus” or “Christ.”

It seems like all these church growth formulas and models and criteria of what works are very weak in Christology, and sometimes lack any at all. While some may think that’s too theological a word, in short what that means is that it’s all about Jesus. If it’s not, no matter how effective it might seem, then it’s not Kingdom work.

The deity of Christ matters. The atoning sacrifice of Christ matters. These are not optional or something we hold back until we ease people into the faith. It is the central message of the Gospel. To deny it is, in my opinion, to deny Christ.

Another concept related to Christology is the understanding of hypostatic union. This is a term used to describe how God the Son in Jesus Christ took on human form, yet still remained fully God. John’s Gospel is full of this understanding, how Jesus always had been God and yet at the incarnation Jesus took on human flesh and became like one of us. It’s a mystery, but it’s our saving grace: Jesus Christ, one Person, is fully God and fully man.

We can’t compromise on this. I don’t care what the latest church growth guru says. A church that grows without a foundational and functional Christology isn’t a church – it’s a social club with a steeple.

The good news is that by God's grace, He can redeem anything and anyone. If we get people into the door, may we lead them gently and lovingly to Christ.



Anonymous said...

Kinda like the UMC ads, no mention of Jesus?

Sky McCracken said...

Precisely. Igniting Ministries did what so many other church campaigns did and do - consulted media and society experts while forgetting theology and ecclesiology.

John said...

I remember encountering a church called "Family Christian Center". It has countless programs to appeal to every desire of their target demographic. Another was "Discovery Church", which sounds like a decent enough name. But their motto was not something like "Making Disciples of Christ" but "You're Gonna Love This Church!"