Down with Churches as Country Clubs

Friday is for Reflection

npb-rick-howerton-photoSpent the day consulting with a church staff in Bloomington, IL helping them think through some thorny issues related to the direction of their church. Came back this evening to read the following quote from Rick Howerton on Facebook from my friend Miguel Labrador in the cloud forest of Ecuador. 

Rick Howerton’s life ambition is to see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.”  That is a worthy ambition and one that has given keen focus to his life and ministry. This particular quote nails the American church to the wall and gives a picture of exactly what every church in America ought to strive NOT to be. 

“In many communities the church is seen as an ecclesiastical country club shrouded in church-speak looking out for her own self-interests. She uses her income to build workout centers and gymnasiums for the “membership” rather than feeding the poor. She is a people wholly welcoming only those already far down the road to perfection rather than being a community fully embracing those still wrestling with the sins that create catastrophic emotional trauma.

She is a people unwilling to hold firmly to her beliefs as Jesus did and instead allows cultural norms to contradict even the directives of Jesus Himself. She is, when evaluated by many, an impotent, dysfunctional, self-centered organization, having lost her way, rather than being perceived as the living, caring, need-meeting, integrity-bearing image of Jesus Christ. Instead of being a light on a hill administering the love of Christ, she is, in the minds of many, a self-perpetuating subculture bent on separation from and caring little about other groups.”

~ Rick Howerton

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