John Churcher: In part, 'God' is the short hand name that I give to the highest ideals that any human can imagine or aspire to achieve, including compassion, sacrificial servant hood and unconditional love.

This quote is from an address by John Churcher to the C3 Exchange Community in Spring Lake Michigan. In the address, John is reflecting on whether institutional church is respoding to the movement of the spirit or "circling the wagons" to try to protect against it. John writes:

In the face of rapidly dwindling members of congregations in UK, northern Europe, Canada, New Zealand and Australia the answer of the institutional churches seems to be to pull the wagons into a protective circle to keep the world from taking over anymore ground!

In UK there is an example of the circling wagons in what is called 'Fresh Expressions'. These include such as 'messy church', 'breakfast church', and 'coffee and cake church'. Although there are some encouraging signs the problem, as I see it, is that this is dressing up the old failed messages in new suits of clothing or old wine poured into new wine skins. I fear that the outcome for the churches will be the continual journey of decline into long-term failure. It is not so much the packaging of the product that has ceased to have relevance, as it is the product itself.


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