“Our future is not to be found in our preservation but in our investment” (19). “The best way to predict the future is to create it” (20). “Fewer people are attending church because of the diminishing influence of Christ on the church itself. ” “We equated being a good citizen with being a good Christian. We lived without persecution and soon found ourselves without conviction. We didn’t lose America; we gave her away! In our panic and powerlessness we turned to political means to seek to regain what we once had through spiritual awakening .
Yet as a moral majority we could not accomplish what God could through Gideon’s few” (28). “Once we were called Christians by an unbelieving world and now we call ourselves Christians and the world calls us hypocrites. Is it possible that it wasn’t the nation that was becoming dangerously secular but the church? We were neither relevant nor transcendent. We have become, in the worst of ways, religious. We are the founders of the secular nation” (29). “The church became a refuge from the world rather than a force in the world. Predictability and stability became dominant themes….
The gospel shifted from a church on a mission to a church that supported missions” (30). “How could we ever think that the Christian faith would be safe when its central metaphor is an instrument of death? It is not a coincidence that baptism is a water grave depicting death and resurrection. It is no less significant that the ongoing ordinance of the Lord’s Supper is a reminder of sacrifice. How did we ever develop a safe theology from such a dangerous faith? ”(33) “Institutions preserve culture while movements create culture” (34).
“For years the bulk of American Christians who were committed to missions could only participate through giving and praying. Today, the call to crosscultural ministry doesn’t even require going; it just requires staying with a purpose” (45). “Where once the pagan lived in the country and the danger of the city was to be Christianized; now Christians tend to live away from the cities and view the urban dweller as the true pagan” (46). “Gideon was focused on mass; God was focused on momentum” (69). “It’s hard to believe that a movement born of visionaries and dreamers would become dominantly known for its traditions and rituals” (138).
“Just because a person cannot read doesn’t mean she lacks the capacity to learn. One’s present condition is not an indication of potential, but of development” (211). III. SALIENT POINTS/ANALYSIS 1. The Need for the Church to Connect with this Generation The author speaks about how in the past 40 years communities have changed dramatically yet many local churches have stayed the same. This explains the irrelevancy and bankruptcy of the church in regards to being salt and light and functioning as agents of change for culture.
Even the way the gospel is communicated has to be changed if we are going to reach this present generation. One of the dramatic changes in our environment is the shift from words to images. To do church in a way that is entirely textdriven is the kiss of death. People don’t read, they simply observe. Beyond the emergence of a postliterate society, we have a culture raised on entertainment (17). As McManus states, “While not many churches perform their services in Latin today, our language, style, music, and methods are pretty much Latin to the unchurched population” (81).