“I’m always looking for an experience of Christian community that I’ll never find. I call that the “evangelical wilderness,” and call myself a “post-evangelical.” A “post-evangelical” wants to combine the best of evangelicalism with the broader, deeper, more ancient Christian tradition.”
the internet monk

I’m there with you Mike. Though I am living with some hope that I’ll find it.

“The reality is that it has become normal for us to NOT grow. We studied over 2500 church attendees in the LifeWay Research study only 3.5% of those we surveyed over the course of a year displayed any measurable growth. But, 55% of those we studied perceived themselves to have grown spiritually.”
Ed Stetzer, Lifeway Research President

Ouch, this one stings my religious sensibilities.

“Part of it is that we have to recognize that we’ve created the system that we loathe. I don’t think the reason 15 percent serve is because 85 percent are lazy. We’ve created a system that glorifies the clergy and marginalized the laity. We got the outcome we created programs for. We’ve become ‘clergified.’ There’s a 3-tiered structure: laypeople, clergy and missionaries.

“All religions tend to create a class of people who are above others so 1) they can revel in that and 2) the rest of us can say it’s their job. Christianity was started without any of those structures, and ended up like so many false religions do when they create a ministry caste structure. When we see real movements of God take off, they happen when people are free. Look at the thriving house church movement around the world.”
Ed Stetzer, Lifeway Research President

And one last one:

“I believe the Lord not only desires to return His church to the simple structure revealed in His Word, He is also passionate about redeeming the ministry of giving and receiving. Over the centuries the Church, particularly in the west, has severely jumped the track when it comes to how we handle finances. The typical congregation spends about 90% of its income on facilities and salaries with only 10% going to actual ministry. David Barrett and Todd Johnson in World Christian Trends have calculated that it costs the institutional church in this country $1,551,446 to baptize each new convert. George Barna recently declared, “In the last decade, the churches in the United States spent $500 billion on domestic expenses-with no growth to show for it.” Could anyone possibly call this “good stewardship?” Imagine what could happen if our giving percentages were reversed and 90% of the Church’s income was spent on ministry with only 10% going to salaries and facilities. “Impossible!,” you say. “Too idealistic to be practical,” you claim. I believe if the Lord was truly allowed to be the Head of the Church our stewardship would be drastically altered from what we now see.”
House 2 House

Lord forgive us our reliance on our culture of commerce and our lack of stewardship. Amen.