Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Post-Graduate Ecclesiology?

I'm down in Southern California for Westminster Seminary's conference on the importance of being both missional and Reformed.

This topic's got me a-thinking....

There is no small amount of suppressed guilt among pastors of confessional churches about the fact that our main source of growth, besides babies being born, comes from burned-out ex-evangelicals. The way things seem to work is that the megachurches get 'em saved, and then in a few years they graduate from them to us.

On the one hand, I think that Reformed churches can take a page or two from someone like Mark Driscoll's playbook, for despite his rough edges and various inconsistencies, he really does do a superb job of training his people in what he calls "the ground war," by which he means being very purposeful and engaged in the life of our neighborhoods and communities.

But still, I must also point out that any church that insists upon a confessional identity and reverent liturgy will automatically have serious liabilities when it comes to attracting non-believers. I mean, if I were a pagan, I'd go to Mars Hill Church in Seattle. It's got lots of young people, loud music, and a really funny pastor.

I'm curious, therefore, to hear what the faculty of Westminster have to say about what seems to be an inescapable condundrum for Reformed ministers and church planters: Must we be willing to completely re-tool your philosophy of ministry and make worship about evangelizing the non-churched? And if not, must we be content with the scraps that fall from the megachurch's table?