I first became concerned about the state of evangelical congregations back in the early 2000’s. I was raised in the household of a Baptist preacher, and had a conservative Christian experience that spanned many congregations in many different cities and states. So when I experienced a revival in my life, after a dark time during my initial college years at Texas A&M, I reevaluated what I believed about “church” as I began to study at two different Southern Baptist seminaries. I read a lot of books on the Emerging Church and on church growth strategies. I compared models and philosophies and came down on the side that there needed to be a paradigm shift back to a more “New Testament” way of being the Body of Christ. I began writing on these convictions almost two decades ago, and have continued to think, converse, and pray about these issues over the years. I also had the privilege of leading a house church for two and a half years, during which time I sought to implement some of my biblical convictions about what are gatherings should look life.
We are in an interesting historical moment that seems to be forcing us into an opportune time of reflection about what it means to gather as the Body of Christ. I just read a tweet by Andy Crouch about what he feels will be the immediate and near future of Christian churches in America. It’s concerning, to say the least, but I believe it is just another example of evidence for why we need to reevaluate how we gather once restrictions on our gatherings lift. I am going to re-post some of my posts from early on in my thinking on this issue so that I can possibly motivate my brothers and sisters in Christ to possibly imagine a different line of thinking on what “church” should look like going forward in America. Am I saying that we should throw “mega-churches” out the window? No, but I believe that we might be living in a nation and world that simply does not allow mega-churches to exist for the foreseeable future. I believe that American Christians have grown to dependent on someone else to frame their religious experience for them and do not have the biblical knowledge and convictions necessary to flourish in a time that might see many communities dissolving or being activity oppressed by state and local governments. I hope that this is a source of wisdom and encouragement to you all during this complex time we are living in.
Introducing the Interrelational Church: https://jtruettglen.com/2011/07/01/introducing-the-interrelational-church/
An Emerging Desire for Intimacy Among the Body of Christ: https://jtruettglen.com/2011/07/03/an-emerging-desire-for-intimacy-among-the-body-of-christ/
“We,” in the First Epistle of John: https://jtruettglen.com/2011/07/05/interrelational-church-we-in-the-first-epistle-of-john/
The Divine Foundation of The Interrelated Body: https://jtruettglen.com/2011/07/13/the-divine-foundation-of-the-interrelated-body/