Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Erwin on the Declining Membership in the American Church

Erwin McManus is pastor of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles, Californian and author of books such as The Barbarian Way and The Unstoppable Force. He is also an insightful cultural observer. In a recent interview McManus was asked this question:

"Why do you think so many churches in America are facing declining membership?"

My primary assessment would be because American Christians tend to be incredibly self-indulgent. So they see the church as a place that is there for them to meet their needs and to express faith in a way that is meaningful for them. There is almost no genuine compassion or urgency about serving and reaching people who don’t know Christ.

I think the bottom line is our own spiritual narcissism. There are methods and you can talk about style, structure and music, but in the end it really comes down to your heart and what you care about.

: the use of this quote isn't an endorsement (as McManus can be a controversial figure among more conservative evangelicals), but I do think his insight about what is out of balance in the modern Western church is right. I would add to McManus' thoughts that an individual's role in the church is not only about serving and reaching people who don't know Christ, but also about serving and encouraging those who do.


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