The Church Landscape

December 7, 2007

Mark Dever

Pastor Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist Church describes four kinds of churches, each with its own method of appealing to the lost and the unchurched.  Which would you say describes Bethel Grace?  What do you think of his descriptions?  Which kind of church should we aim to be?  Perhaps a blend?

1.  The Traditional Church.  Appeal to the world with church programs and door to door evangelism.  Conclude sermons by inviting people to “walk the aisle” – Jesus longs for a personal relationship with you, so invite him into your heart.

2. The Seeker Church.  Build everything around the idea of being non-Christian or “seeker” friendly.  Remove churchy cultural barriers and appeal to “felt needs.”  Tell them Jesus promises purpose, fulfillment, and better relationships.

3. The Missional Church.  Missions isn’t just one activity the church participates in; it defines the church’s essence.  So move into the city.  Get involved with the arts, schools, and soup kitchens.  Be incarnate in the culture and transform it.  Serve and bring healing.

4. A Godward Church.  A bunch of people get together in a room.  Someone stands up, opens a Bible, and says, “This is what God says.”  He explains it.  The church sings, prays, shares the bread and cup, and goes home… The words come with power, the Holy Spirit, and deep conviction.  Consciences are pierced.  Lives changed.  People go home worshiping God by hating sin, loving each other, and seeking their neighbors. 

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2 Responses to “The Church Landscape”

  1. bethelgrace said

    Hmmm… it seems Dr. Dever thinks the first three models focus more on people than on God – each just focusing on people in different ways. I think each of those models do fall into that trap pretty often, and in the ways he described. Of course the last model is correct – God MUST be central! The other models are wrong if they fit the description given, but I wouldn’t say that every church that might be labelled “traditional” or “missional” does fit that description… I know churches most people would place in those categories that are in fact very “Godward”. The bottom line is that God must be central. I’m sure that’s Dr. Dever’s point, but I just want to emphasize the fact that a “Godward” focus can exist in churches that might receive some of those other labels for other reasons… Hope that makes sense!

    ~ Donovan

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