Many decry the trend in our fellowship toward change. “Change agents” are diligently sought out, identified, and warned against as are the institutions producing these ideas, books, and individuals. Many assert that this mania for change among our people is radically affecting the churches. There seems to be an environment of mutual distrust and a fracturing of the body of Christ into numerous poorly defined camps.

Several years ago I heard a man whom I respect very much[1] give a devotional speech in which he addressed some of these issues. In that discussion he agreed that our churches are struggling with conflict, diminishing numbers and a general lack of direction. He also acknowledged that there are “no simplistic solutions to the very complex problems our churches are facing in a ‘post-Christian’ world.” However, according to this brother, the key is for us to remain true to the redemptive purpose and eternal mission of the church of Christ. Churches with leadership capable of casting that vision are faring well in spite of the turbulent times.

How can a redemptive church be identified? According to this particular discussion, how a church answers these seven questions will go a long way in determining whether or not that church can be described as a redemptive church:

  • Is outreach a stated part of the vision and values of the church?
  • Is the church characterized by a positive, good news message or by a hypercritical, negative, issue-driven agenda? (You cannot identify yourself in negative terms indefinitely).
  • Does the church teach (not necessarily convert but at least teach) the gospel to a number of un-churched people equal to at least ten percent of its membership each year?
  • Are all of the gifts and ministries of the church focused on the ultimate goal of human redemption?
  • Does the church believe that “mission work” includes both foreign missions and local outreach?
  • Are the lost people of the community and the world frequently included in public and private prayers?
  • Do a majority of the leadership meetings focus on strategies of human redemption rather than on crisis management?

Change is inevitable; however, changing the mission, purpose, and vision of the church of Christ is fatal to our existence. May God help us here stay true to Him. May we always be a redemptive church of Christ.

[1] Truitt Adair, Director, Sunset International Bible Institute, Lubbock, Texas.