Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yancey at CT on Diagnostics for Congregations

Philip Yancey (Wikipedia article) has an interesting article on Christianity Today called "Denominational Diagnostics." I wouldn't have called it that, because it doesn't seem to have too much to do with denominations. He talks about being able to sense the "aliveness" of the congregation within a very short amount of time, based on 1) talk going on in the foyer, 2) presence of laughter, and 3) what activities and issues were highlighted on the bulletin board.

Read the entire article. What Yancey says he found at the heart of his quick impressions were three things.
  1. Diversity - I think he was getting at the idea that diversity showed tolerance of personal differences and the absence of any one group dominating everything. I bet everyone's been in a congregation where actions and attitudes were highly restricted so as not to upset the "alpha" group. When that's not happening, it's a good sign.
  2. Unity - We could easily get into centered vs. bound sets here, a fun topic to be sure. Unity could simply be strongarm tactics - "be like I tell you to be or you're not welcome here." But that would go against the diversity point above. Unity shouldn't be based on blind conformity, but on a cherished common ground, hopefully in the case of churches - Christ.
  3. Mission - Is the church obviously trying to make disciples, and are they doing so in some positive, uplifting way that includes large doses of love?

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