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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - Reformation is Good! 2
Chapter 2 - The Institutional/Traditional Church in America is
in Trouble, but there is Good News! 6
Chapter 3 - Who is Responsible? 12
Chapter 4 - What is Church? 21
Chapter 5 - What Will Reformation Look Like? 25
Chapter 6 - A New Idea! 31
Chapter 7 -The Church is About to Transform! 40













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Chapter 1
Reformation is good!
The tremendous need for reformation within the church in the 21
st
century is the theme of this
book. Reformation means change. The change that I will be talking about isnt revolutionary. It
isnt contrary to Biblical teachings. It isnt difficult. And, (lets get the good news out there right
away), it is change that the institutional/traditional church can embrace. But, make no mistake,
for many of the institutional/traditional churches it is a major change in how we have been
thinking about the church, especially here in America.
Definition the institutional/traditional church: An organization of Christian believers that
meet in buildings, with a paid staff and/or beliefs that are centered on specific doctrines
of a denomination (church).
We can all agree that change can be difficult. Im in my upper 50s, and I have seen many
changes in my life. I am also aware I am more anxious about change the older I become. I like
the familiar. I like expecting things to sound, taste, and feel the way they always have. But, in
my lifetime, I have also learned that change is good. My first TV had tubes and a black-and-
white screen, and remote controls werent invented yet. I was in my 20s before I saw my first
computer (which I still have), but it certainly is an antique compared to the smart phone and
tablet that I use today.
When I say the church needs to change, some people will get defensive. After all, the church is
the body of Christ, it is His bride. One of our problems is that the word church means
different things to many people. I do not seek to criticize the true church but rather am
suggesting that the institutional/traditional church: the business of church, the incorporated
and licensed church in America (with buildings, budgets, staff, and bills) needs to change.
Over the years, I have seen many changes in the church. When I started as a pastor in the
late 70s, many churches didnt have, or need, a sound system. Back then it was a fantastic
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feat of technology (and a reach into contemporary worship) if we used a cassette tape for
background music whenever someone sang special music just before the sermon was
delivered. Now churches have full bands, special lighting, multimedia, video, and in some
cases, theatrical smoke and fog!
Now, most churches are computerized, use the Internet, and many try to embrace social
media as a way to stay connected with their members. Many now allow electronic giving,
distribute newsletters via the Internet, and most use some sort of church management
software solution to keep track of members and contributions. As Editor and Founder of
Christian Computing Magazine (published now for 25 years), I have been a big believer that
churches should use new technology tools in order to enhance and expand their ministry. I
still am!
However, as you move to Chapter 2 of this book, you will see that even with the help of
technology, the institutional/traditional church in America is in trouble. And, while it isnt a
doctrinal issue like Martin Luther faced in what is now called the first Protestant Reformation, it
is a problem in the very way we define ourselves as a church. (See upcoming chapter on What
is a Church?)
So, what is the change that is needed? Why is my vision different from others that want to help
the churches in America become more missional? (If you dont understand the term
missional there are probably over a thousand books, blogs and articles about the subject.
Check out Google or your favorite bookstore.)
I think the difference between what I feel led to do, and what others are doing, is centered
around my belief that the church "outside" our buildings, institutions, and denominations
DOES exist, but in a form that we don't accept as "the church". I believe at least 100 million
Christians (yep, million) live in America, yet they do not attend services or meetings in any
church building on a regular basis.
Today, over 70% of Americans identify themselves as Christians, yet only 17% attend two
services a month in an institutional/traditional church. Some Christian leaders (from within the
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institutional/traditional church) would state that those that are not actively involved in regular
church attendance, probably arent real Christians, and are not seriously seeking to follow
Christ (since they dont attend or support an institutional/traditional church). However, from
one report released by the Barna group, 25% of these un-churched Christians read their Bible
on a regular basis, and as many as 30%-50% get with other Christians weekly, or a couple of
times a month, and want to connect with others based upon their relationship with Christ. I
also believe BECAUSE of the negative image that the church and "Christians" have in America at
this time, most of these un-churched Christians are very reluctant to make it known that they
ARE Christians. However, I am told that Christian radio stations and networks (those that have
conducted demographic studies of their listeners), know that they have a growing number of
listeners (one reported 30% of their listening audience) who do not identify themselves with an
institutional/traditional church, YET they love Christian radio. These non-church attending
Christians do attend Christian concerts, and some are very open to conferences and other
opportunities to learn more about Christ, even though they do not attend an
institutional/traditional church.
My goal and purpose in writing this book is to help lay the foundation for a new reformation. I
want to make the case that something can be done to help the un-churched Christians connect
and form a new type of non-institutional/traditional church. It is my desire to create a means
that will help un-churched Christians connect, be recognized, receive regular content (weekly
blogs, monthly newsletter, online Webinars) and, become a way to help un-churched Christians
connect with other un-churched Christians. I want the un-churched Christians to understand
that they ARE the church, even if they are not actively involved in an institutional/traditional
church. I want to encourage them to connect and help them catch the vision for one-on-one
discipleship, encouraging one another, unite with others in accomplishing good works and
missions and have the vision to multiply.
I also have a vision to enlist the help of the institutional/traditional churches, in launching (or
identifying) one million churches. Not the currently existing churches with a building, paid
staff, or those aligned to a specific denomination, but rather what I am calling the Micro-church.
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As I will explain in the next chapter, the institutional/traditional church in America is in decline,
but I believe by embracing new ways to connect with the un-churched Christians, new and
exciting ministries will be developed.





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Chapter 2
The Institutional/Traditional Church in America is in Trouble,
but there is Good News!
In Chapter 4 we will go into more detail about what I believe a real church is, but the case
needs to be made that the church, as in the institutional/traditional church (building with
salaried staff) is in decline. It needs to be established only as an incentive to reform. I believe
that the path the church in American took in forming institutional/traditional churches was
correct for the 1950s, 60s and probably the 70s. It is only due to changes in the social,
economic, technological and political environment in America that the plans of our past are
not, and will not, work for the institutional/traditional church in our age.
Reading this chapter can be painful. The facts about the decline can also be hard to believe. If
you live in the middle of the Bible belt, or if you are attending one of the 15% of churches in
America thats doing well, it is hard to accept the facts and statistics about the level of the
decline in attendance and membership. The good news is that the membership and attendance
in our institutional/traditional churches do not reflect the true church (body of believers) in
America.
It might also be hard to believe the severity of the statistics to follow. If they are true, and I
believe they are, why arent we hearing more about it? Part of the problem is that the
leadership of the church in America is, for most part, heavily involved and active in one of the
15% of the churches in our nation that are doing well. They are the ones writing the books,
being asked to speak at our conferences, and they are the ones in the spotlight. However, the
fact remains that for every 4,000 churches that close their doors; only 1,000 new churches are
starting up. And, those working with new church plants are telling me that they are seeing a
growing and frustrating death rate for new church plants. It seems that the initial excitement of
starting a new church is short lived and that new church startups seem to fail as soon as they
begin to accomplish the task of appearing and performing like an institutional/traditional
church.
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Is the institutional, traditional church in America in decline?
In 2013, only about 15-17% of America will attend a church service in an
institutional/traditional church on a regular basis (regular basis being defined as two services a
month). For the sake of communicating the message of this chapter, whenever I refer to the
church and statistics, I will be referring to the institutional/traditional church with
membership, paid staff, buildings, etc., and will not be using the word to mean the true church
(as defined in the Bible), the body and bride of Christ.
Over half of all of our churches no longer have any children attending, and their membership is
made up of those 65 years old and older (most with a majority being in their 70s and 80s).
Eighty-Five percent of our churches are under financed and under budget. They do not have the
funds needed to maintain their present facilities, expand ministry or staff. Over half of them
havent seen a single addition as a result of a conversion experience in at least two years. This
is true for all churches in all denominations.
Around 85% of our pastors are discouraged, and surveys state that 50% would resign
immediately and take any other job if it was offered to them IF they had the skills required to
accomplish it with their present training. And, in six to ten years, half of all of the churches in
America will close their doors.
I know it is hard to understand and possibly to believe, but many of the churches that will be
permanently closing presently have a full time pastor. I have talked with pastors of churches in
this situation. The age of our pastors in these churches is just a little below the average age of
their membership. When their members die off, the pastors will be at the age of retirement,
and the church will cease to continue.
Many of these churches are rural, scattered across our nation in small and midsized towns.
However, dont assume these towns are dying. My first experience as a pastor came soon after
I graduated from college in 1977. The population of the town, where I served as pastor, was
around 90, and my congregation came from those in town as well as the surrounding farms. We
averaged around 60 on a Sunday, with our highest attendance hitting 141. I recently drove
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through that small town. The population of the town is now around 140, and the church, the
only one in town, is in serious decay. They are averaging 12 in attendance and their pastor lives
in a larger town an hour and a half away and drives from there on Sunday to preach to those
that still gather. The congregation is aged, and when they die off and the church closes their
doors for the last time, the nearest church will be 13 miles away. This situation is being
repeated in towns all across the state of Missouri where I live.
It seems obvious to me that something needs to change. It seems obvious to me that a
reformation in the very way we do church needs to take place for much of our nation. I draw
these conclusions from much of the research I reference below. In addition, I attended the
conference on The Future of the Church in America, sponsored by Group Publishing. They
reported on five specific ways the church will change in upcoming years.
http://holysoup.com/2012/11/14/5-ways-the-church-will-change/
Please dont get bogged down with the negative reporting to follow in this chapter. There IS
great news, and there IS a way to still reach America. As I stated in Chapter 1, I am a firm
believer that while church attendance is down, there IS an underground church in America that
has walked away from the institutional/traditional church, but there is a way to connect,
encourage and disciple them! But, if you want more info on the status of the church in America
today, read on.
I heard Walt Wilson speak at a conference I was hosting 12 years ago. Walt is the Founder and
Chairman of the Global Media Outreach, but at the time had just authored the book, The
Internet Church. He was sharing the importance of the church embracing new methods to
spread the Word, with emphasis on the Internet, which was why he was invited to speak at one
of our Technology in Ministry Conferences. To make his point that the church needed to adopt
new methods of communication to help spread the message of Christ, he shared startling
statistics about how the church, especially the church in the USA, was declining. His projections
were dire.
Since Walt first sounded the alarm about the churchs decline in America, I have been on a
quest to satisfy my own curiosity as to why the church is declining, and to be sure that Walts
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conclusions were correct. Sadly, Walt was right on target, and since that conference 12 years
ago the decline of Christianity and the church in America has continued. At first I was curious,
and a bit in denial. Five years ago I grew very concerned. Four years ago I became burdened
about the decline, and three years ago I experimented with solutions. Two years ago I became
passionate about answers to the problem and a year ago I found myself angry as the truth of
the situation became real to me. I have given much of my time this last year to make myself
available to God as a source for solutions, in whatever form that might take. Here is some of
what I have found concerning the problem at hand:
Dr. Richard J Krejcir made the following statement in an article by the Schaeffer Institute:
For the last 15 plus years, we, at the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership
Development (FASICLD) in partnership with Into Thy Word Ministries (another Francis
Schaeffer vision), have been in careful, steadfast research in quest of why so many
churches are failing.
What the Statistics Tell Us
This quest started in 1992 as a Fuller Institute project that was picked up by FASICLD in
1998, seeking what had happened and why the bride of Christ was in decline. Gods
marvelous Church has become culturally irrelevant and even distant from is prime
purpose of knowing Him, growing in Him, and worshipping Him by making disciples! This
is evidenced by what is going on in our culture and in our church. Most of the statistics
tell us that nearly 50% of Americans have no church home. In the 1980s, membership in
the church had dropped almost 10%; then, in the 1990s, it worsened by another 12%
dropsome denominations reporting a 40% drop in their membership. And now, over
half way through the first decade of the 21
st
century, we are seeing the figures drop
even more!
What is going on with the Church in America?
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The United States Census Bureau Records give some startling statistics, backed up by
denominational reports and the Assemblies of God U.S. Missions:
Every year more than 4000 churches close their doors compared to just over 1000
new church starts!
There were about 4,500 new churches started between 1990 and 2000, with a twenty
year average of nearly 1000 a year.
Every year, 2.7 million church members fall into inactivity. This translates into the
realization that people are leaving the church. From our research, we have found that
they are leaving as hurting and wounded victimsof some kind of abuse,
disillusionment, or just plain neglect!
From 1990 to 2000, the combined membership of all Protestant denominations in the
USA declined by almost 5 million members (9.5 percent), while the US population
increased by 24 million (11 percent).
At the turn of the last century (1900), there was a ratio of 27 churches per 10,000
people, as compared to the close of this century (2000) where we have 11 churches
per 10,000 people in America! What has happened?
Given the declining numbers and closures of Churches as compared to new church
starts, there should have been over 38,000 new churches commissioned to keep up
with the population growth.
The United States now ranks third (3
rd
) following China and India in the number of
people who are not professing Christians; in other words, the U.S. is becoming an ever
increasing un-reached people group.
Half of all churches in the US did not add any new members to their ranks in the last
two years.
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The study also provides additional dismal reports. For example, while many polls showed that
40% to 50% of Americans attend church (20% in Canada and 8% in Europe) the results of the
polls depend on how people chose to answer the question. It appeared from the polling data
that if a person only attended once or twice a year, they would be counted as a church goer.
The study by FASLCLD compared actual attendance records of denominations with known
population statistics and determined that 22% of Americans frequently attended church in
1992 (including Orthodox, Evangelical or Protestant). In 1995 the number had dropped to
20.5%. In 1999 the number had dropped to 19% and by 2002, the number was down to 18%.
Since these numbers represent attendance over ten years ago from when I am writing, I can
only assume that the numbers have continued to go down.
There are other studies, and other reports. While the statistics might vary a little, the
distressing news is the same the church is declining in America. Here are several other sites
that support this conclusion. Some are secular, such as reports from Newsweek, but others are
from Christian organizations, publications and denominations.
http://vocabmalone.blogspot.com/2008/01/decline-of-church-in-america.html
http://www.christianchronicle.org/article2158685~Church_in_America_marked_by_decline
http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/04/03/the-end-of-christian-america.html
http://signsofthelastdays.com/archives/the-decline-of-christianity-in-america
http://floridaconferenceconnection.info/blogs/detail/276
http://www.thebigdaddyweave.com/2011/06/southern-baptist-convention-stats-reveal-20-
year-decline.html


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Chapter 3
Who Is Responsible?
Why do I believe that there is a need for a new protestant reformation? First of all, the
protest part has already taken place. In the stats and surveys shared in Chapter 2, there is one
that is very important. Twenty percent of America now says they are non affiliated with any
religion. They are not Christian, not Muslim, etc. And, as we have reported in Chapter 2, the
percent of people attending a church service at least two services a month was 18% several
years ago, and the numbers continue to drop, leading me to speculate that it is probably
around 15% at the time of this writing. Yet, according to population surveys, there hasnt been
a large rise in other religions such as Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism. At least 70% of Americans
still claim to be Christian, but the institutional/traditional church is only drawing 15%.
At least 50% of Americans profess to be Christian, yet they have made the decision that they do
not support, attend, nor will join an institutional/traditional church. They have voted with their
feet! If this isnt a protest, I dont know what is. The protestant part is that most people
who claim to be Christian have left the churchin protest.
Is There An Un-churched Christian Community?
I know some will say that if a person claims to be a Christian but is not a member or involved in
attending a church, they are mistaken. After all, real Christians cant leave the church!
However, I believe they havent left the church at all. It all depends on how we define the
church. You either ARE a believer, and thus a part of the church, the bride of Christ, or you are
not. Supporting, attending or even being a member of an institutional/traditional church
doesnt make you part of the real church as defined in the Bible.
How can these self-proclaiming Christians ignore Hebrews 10:25 instructing us: Not forsaking
the assembling of ourselves together? (KJV) How can they ignore their Savior by choosing to
not attend an institutional/traditional church?
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In part, the answer to these questions is found in the definition of church. If you define
church as a gathering of Christians, then whenever Christians are gathered together they ARE
the church, whether they gather in a home or in a building owned and operated by an
institutional/traditional church.
So are un-churched Christians ignoring their Savior? I dont think they are ignoring their
relationship with Christ simply because they do not attend a weekly service, at a set time, in a
building. According to one Barna study, 25% of those that claim to be Christians; yet, are not
affiliated with a church, study the Bible on a regular basis. Barna has also been watching the
growth of what is called a house church or a small group that meets in a home for interaction,
discipleship, prayer, etc. In a report dated June 19, 2006, Barna stated;
The new study, based on interviews with more than five thousand randomly selected
adults from across the nation, found that 9% of adults attend a house church during a
typical week. That is remarkable growth in the past decade, shooting up from just 1% to
near double-digit involvement. In total, one out of five adults attends a house church at
least once a month.
Projecting these figures to the national population gives an estimate of more than 70
million adults who have at least experimented with house church participation. In a
typical week roughly 20 million adults attend a house church gathering. Over the course
of a typical month, that number doubles to about 43 million adults.
While many religious professionals say they are unaware of such activity, it might be
because the house church is in its "ramp up" phase in the U.S. One consequence is that
millions of Americans are intermittently engaged in a house church, alternating back
and forth between house church and conventional church. (For clarity, the survey
distinguished between involvement in a house church and participation in a small group
that is associated with a conventional church.) The Barna survey revealed that of those
who attend a house church, 27% attend on a weekly basis, 30% attend one to three
times per month, and 43% attend less than once a month.
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http://www.barna.org/organic-church-articles/151-house-church-involvement-is-
growing?q=church+attendance
In a recent study by The American Bible Society, eighty eight percent of Americans own a Bible.
Eighty percent say the Bible is sacred and sixty one percent stated they wish they read the Bible
more. http://www.barna.org/culture-articles/609-what-do-americans-really-think-about-the-
bible?q=read+bible
Although the study is a bit old, Barna also reported in January 2003 that, half of all U.S. adults
(48%) and teenagers (51%) reported reading at least one Christian book in the past year, other
than the Bible. http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/114-half-of-all-
americans-read-christian-books-and-one-third-buy-them?q=read+bible
At this same time, Francis A. Schaeffes Institute of Church Leadership Development (FASICLD)
reported that church attendance (attending two services a month) is only 18% in 2002. Yet a
much larger percent of Christians were purchasing and reading Christian books, even though
they werent interested in attending a local institutional/traditional church.
My point is relatively simple. I believe the church (the body of Christ, believers) is alive and well
in America. It is just that they have protested and abandoned membership and attendance in
the institutional/traditional church (having a building, paid staff, etc.).
Why Do So Many Christians Avoid Institutional/Traditional Churches?
This brings us back to the question of why these Christians seem to be adamant about NOT
coming back to the institutional/traditional church. What is it that the church needs to do to
get them to come back and join? Can they? Or should they try?
We have seen many fantastic moves to help churches turn around the decline in attendance
and membership. As a result, most of our churches are doing more in reaching out to their
communities. The hot word for churches today is missional, and many
institutional/traditional churches have sought to be so in the hopes that it will bring people
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back to their church. But, for all of their efforts, in general, eighty five percent of our churches
are either stagnate or are in decline. And, sadly, many of the declining churches lack the funds
or the ability to increase missional efforts. And, frankly, if the goal of being missional (making
the mission of the church to reach out and minister to the community) is to ultimately see
those they minister to, begin attending or joining the church, it is a flawed premise. Our society
is very spin and marketing aware, and they will quickly see any effort to reach out to
minister as simply marketing if that is our goal.
Who is to Blame?
There have been many books, articles and blogs written placing blame for the decline of the
institutional/traditional church in America. Some examples indicate that Christians who do not
attend an institutional/traditional church, say the institutional/traditional church is full of
hypocrites, they are too judgmental, they are all about money (to keep their buildings and
programs running), their pastors have been caught being immoral, etc. Many years ago, I wrote
an article taking the church to task. I pointed out the many reasons that the un-churched
Christian said why they abandoned the institutional/traditional church. Of course there is some
truth to their complaints, but that is because once we become organized and institutionalized,
we are human, and errors will happen.
Some churches blame other churches. Those that have traditional worship styles believe the
church is in decline because we have softened our message and become too worldly. Those
that have adopted a contemporary worship style and are more tolerant of others blame the
traditional worship churches for not being relevant.
Recently, I did another street survey, spending three days standing in a booth at a city festival. I
had a sign that stated Do you love Jesus, but not the church? Please tell us why! Of course I
heard from all of those that wanted to tell me how a church or pastor had offended them. I
heard a list of complaints from over 100 people that passed by during the time of the survey.
However, this time, the sign and the question revealed something new. I was in suburb of
Kansas City, and in the northern part of the Bible belt. So, there was certainly a higher percent
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of Christians that attended an institutional/traditional church than found in other parts of the
nation. What surprised me was the number of people that stopped to ask me about my
question. They were quick to state that they loved Jesus AND their church. When I explained
the national percentage of Christians that did not
chose to attend or join a church in a building, the
response was also one of blame. They stated that
the reason these Christians didnt come to their
church services was because they were lazy,
scoundrels (yep, that was the word they used), or
they were just liars and not really Christians. When I
explained the larger percent of these un-churched Christians were involved in regular Bible
study, reading Christian books, meeting with other Christians in a home, most were unmoved in
their conviction that unless these Christians marched into a local church building on Sunday,
they were probably not Christians. I did discover a small percent, maybe twenty-five percent
that knew of someone, either a friend or family member, who they believed were a Christian
but sympathized with their reasons for not joining or attending a local church.
In June of 2013, a pastor by the name of Tim asked this question in a LinkedIn group, How
does a pastor overcome the constant irritation when the members of his church do not show
up for church? He went on to complain about the lack of faithfulness to the church. I was
surprised that there were 20 different responses from other frustrated pastors within three
days. I also found it interesting that the blame for such decline in attendance was laid at the
feet of lack of faithfulness to the church. Christians ARE the church, if they choose to meet on
a Sunday morning for a specific worship service sponsored by an institutional/traditional
church, or if they decide to meet on a Tuesday evening to pray, encourage and support one
another in someones home. But, if faithfulness is measured by attending a regular church
service in an institutional/traditional church, and Christians seem to be in rebellion, who is to
blame?
Maybe No One is to Blame!
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It could be that the answer isnt found in what the church has done wrong or right, but in the
decline in social capital in America.
Robert D. Putnam wrote a book published in 2000 examining the decline in social capital in
America (the time we spend involved in group and social events or organizations.) The title of
the book is Bowling Alone. The facts are amazing. Involvement in every aspect of social
organizations is dramatically down from the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s as seen in membership
in organizations such as the PTA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc. We sign fewer petitions, know less
about our neighbors, and even spend less time with family and friends. Yet, the church has
changed little. It expects people to come to a building, join, become a member, and participate
in a service at a set time and place. This is completely contrary to what we have observed in the
changes in social capital in our nation since the 60s
We must change. We must have a reformation about how we think about the congregation, the
people of Christ. Yes, the word for the congregation, the people of Christ, gathered together, is
church. Yet, by saying the word to Christians and non-Christians alike, most conjure up an
image of a building, a paid pastor, and the denominational doctrines that they represent.
The title of Putnams work reflects one area of social involvement that went through a
reformation the bowling alley. In the past, bowling alleys found success in getting people to
join leagues. Almost every night of the week, people would come to bowl because they
belonged to a league. There were leagues for men of specific ages, leagues for women
bowlers, for mixed couples, for young people, etc. However, owners of bowling alleys noticed
a trend. The noticed that over time people no longer wanted to join a league YET they still
enjoyed bowling. They liked to bowl alone, or with a few friends or family members. Bowling
alleys adapted. They decreased their time for leagues and increased their alley times for special
nights such as incredi-bowl which would include black lights, special revolving spot lights and
even fog machines. The number of people that like to bowl is as high as ever, and bowling alleys
are not going out of business. They reformed. They changed. People still bowl, but the idea of
joining an organized time and program for bowling declined significantly.
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The Personal Communication Age
There may be another entirely different reason for why so many Christians are not willing to
join or become active in an institutional/traditional church. In fact, it may be one of the very
reasons we have seen such a decline in social capital in America in other areas as well. We live
in what I call the Personal Communication Age. We live with information overload, thanks to
technology and social media. As a result, Americans have moved away from many sources of
information and connectivity (and that is what a church seeks to do, communicate and
connect). For example, the number of people who read a newspaper has drastically declined,
and many newspapers in America have gone out of business in the last 15 years. Few of us
blamed the owners of the newspapers, or the content of the article, but realized that changes
have been taking place. People read fewer newspapers or magazines. They watch less network
news and participate less in all other forms of mass media. Instead, they have shown they have
a greater interest in receiving information from people, the non-professionals. In many cases
they want the information to come from those without a reason to spin what is being
delivered.
A very important characteristic of communication and information exchange, as it relates to our
current personal communication age, is to realize that people want to receive information that
at least has the perception of being personal and free of marketing and spin. Our last national
elections are proof of this, as seen in the victories of candidates that used social media and
personal communication tools and didnt just rely on traditional mass media. As long as the
church refuses to use social media and recognize the importance of using personal
communication tools, our message will never get out to our nation.
Another important aspect of the personal communication age is that people want to be a part
of the conversation. One way communication simply doesnt work the way it use to work.
People want to comment, question and be a part of the conversation. You cant do this when
you read an article, but you can when you read a blog, which explains the increase in popularity
of this form of communication. One of the very characteristics of a blog is that there is a place
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for people to comment at the end of the page. They can express an opinion, ask a question, and
participate in the dialog. This is why Facebook included the like option and the ability for
others to leave a comment after you post your status. People like being able to participate in
the conversation and are leery of communication methods that involve one person claiming to
have all of the answers and refusing the opportunity for questions or discussions.
This might be one of the reasons Christians have abandoned the traditional worship service.
They do not want to walk into a building, sit in a chair facing front and listen to someone lecture
them without the opportunity to ask a question, voice an opinion, or participate on a personal
level during the service.
Existing in the personal communication age means small is better. Very small is better still.
So, who is to blame for the decline of the institutional/traditional church? Maybe no one
specifically! Sure, there are problems in many of our churches. Some could be friendlier while
others could increase their connection with their community. For me, I wish some would step
back on their judgmental stances, and it would be nice if America knew more about what we
are for, instead of what we are against. But, for the most part, I dont think the general
accusations about the church are the real reasons for our decline. I believe the decline in social
capital and the rise of the personal communication age has caused our nation, or society, to
change but our churches havent.
I started a new church just three years ago. The first year was a joy. It seemed that every week
something exciting happened as we collected funds to rent a store front, buy a sign, and
purchase chairs. However, as we became more and more of an institutional/traditional church,
the joy slipped away, and conflicts and frustrations grew. I have discovered from talking to
many others who have planted new churches (with the goal of becoming an
institutional/traditional church) that soon after the excitement of starting wanes, and the more
a church plant becomes an institutional church, with a lease, mortgage, utility bills, insurance
fees, city building inspections, etc., etc., the people fade away. They like sitting in a circle,
openly sharing their prayer requests, their joys, their fears. But once the chairs seem to face
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forward, and they are forced to become disconnected and the service becomes impersonal, the
death cycle begins.
So, maybe no one is to blame for the decline of the institutional/traditional church. It was the
right thing to do when we built most of our buildings. The intent and the commitment were real
just a few decades ago. But, it seems that the idea of Christians driving to a church building to
sit quietly while someone else preaches or lectures them might be past. Americans arent
joiners and they value communication and information that is presented in small bits from
individuals with whom they are personally connected. It is time for a reform, for a change. The
term church and what it means needs to be reformed. It is time we redefine what a church
really is!

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Chapter 4
What Is Church?
The textbook answer is the church is Gods people. The local church is a group of people that
get together on a regular basis to pray for each other, encourage each other, and disciple each
other. Some would include corporate worship as a part of the definition of church, or at least
the purpose.
After many years of studying this question and potential answers, and believe that I am ready
to define a church as two or more, who get together because they are Christians with a
purpose to either pray for one another, encourage one another, or disciple one another. I base
this on Matthew 18:20, For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I
in the midst of them, and Hebrews 10:24-25, And let us consider one another to provoke
unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the
manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day
approaching.
Definition Church: Two or more believers in Christ, who get together because they are
Christians with a purpose to either pray for one another, encourage one another or
disciple one another.
I think most Christian and church leaders would agree that these two verses help define what
we believe about the church. The church is people, Christians gathered in the name of Christ,
with a purpose to provoke each other to love God and love people, and to accomplish good
works (works that cause others to glorify God (Matthew 5:16). And, we are to exhort and
encourage each other. However, if we limit our definition to this (and I am suggesting we do), it
raises some secondary questions. For example, why and how did todays church in America
become so dependent on buildings and corporate worship?
I love corporate worship! I love it when the music and a song seem to take me before the very
presence of God. I can find my eyes quickly filled with tears and my heart wide open to
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whatever it is God wants for me. However, I must be honest, that has happened to me just as
often when I am listening to KLUV (a Christian music station on the radio), or when I am sitting
and writing, listening to Pandora with my selection of Christian songs that inspire me. I am
pretty knowledgeable of the Scriptures, and I know of no place in the Bible where the New
Testament church is mandated to corporate worship in our own buildings.
The church in America is in decline, based upon the numbers of Americans that are attending a
corporate worship service on Sunday. Yet, as studies by Barna and others have suggested, there
are many Christians that believe and trust in Christ for their salvation, some surveys showing
that a significant portion of them are involved in regular Bible reading, and many also love the
messages found in todays Christian music. Are they all outside of the church, or is our
definition of traditional church (one that meets in a building), incorrect?
Lately God has been speaking to me on this subject, and it seems that I continue to run into
small groups of Christians that are excited about the Lord; BUT dont consider themselves a
church because, as they have told me, they dont have a building yet. I recently heard of a
group of ten people that are meeting in a basement. I had put out a call for church leaders to
beta test a new service we will be releasing soon. They really wanted to give it a try but stated
that, if I didnt pick them, they would understand since they werent a real church yet,
because they didnt have their own building. A few days before I wrote this article, I was in
Chicago, speaking at a local chapter of the NACBA in that windy city. Because I forgot to pack
something, I made a quick stop at the local super store. However, while there, I discovered a
small group of five Christians meeting around a table in the coffee shop inside the store. They
were very excited about the Lord, and were meeting on a weekly basis, working on what they
called Xperience Church, a UMC 2013 New Church Start. One of them, who had taken the
position of Pastor, told me about their goal of starting a church in a few months. However, they
also told me about their meetings, and gave me a flyer about what they called Christ Mob
experiences. They take on a mission to do good works for others. Last year, during
Thanksgiving, they served the homeless of Chicagos Lower Wacker Drive by giving out coats,
food, medical kits, and even money. They hope to get a place to meet (other than the coffee
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shop in the super store) in a few months. However, as I shared with them, they are not working
to start a church, they ARE a church now!
I can go on and on, but hopefully my point is getting through. We make a mistake in defining a
church as a building or a place where corporate worship takes place (30 minutes of sing along
and then a sermon from one person to the crowd). A church is whenever two or more get
together in the name of Christ to provoke each other to love God and love other people, and to
combine their efforts for good works (that will cause others to praise God in heaven), and to
encourage and disciple each other. If someone has a guitar and can lead in a song or two,
fantastic. If you listen to pre-recorded music and worship together, fantastic, but this is not a
requirement to be a church.
In the May 2013 cover story of The American Church Magazine, there is a great article about
Mission Arlington. As you read the article, note that they mention 329 other groups, virtually
small congregations meeting weekly in apartment complexes, mobile homes, houses, etc. Why
arent they considered 329 new churches? Is it because they dont have a building? Is it because
some also have a membership in another church and this is their ministry outside of their
church? How can we separate this out Biblically?
Church Membership Survey
I recently asked the readership of The American Church Magazine to take a simple survey. I
asked about their churchs policy concerning church membership. Forty-nine percent
responded that they didnt allow their members to be a member of another church. Twenty-
two percent agreed with the 49% except that they had an exception of membership in another
church was to be temporary, such as a student that goes away to college. They would allow for
joint membership with the understanding the person would be returning. Twelve percent
said YES, they allowed their members to be a member of another church, while 8% said they
either didnt keep track of membership, or found membership itself to be unbiblical. Four
percent of the respondents said they had a dont ask, dont tell policy, and 5% said their
church didnt have a policy one way or the other.
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Churches have, and count, those members who are actively involved in a small group that
meets outside the church. But what about those whom meet in a small group each week but do
not attend a corporate church service or are not an official member somewhere? I believe
there are many churches that are simply not being counted as churches because the
institutional/traditional church or those that are doing the counting (whoever they might be)
are simply not counting these that are attending non-traditional churches BUT are meeting the
Biblical requirements that I outlined at the beginning of this chapter!
In conclusion, I remember talking to a friend a few years ago about the value of traditional
churches having small groups. However, some churches were afraid to encourage such groups
because they would potentially lose control over these groups as they develop into their own
entity. He shared that he could certainly agree with the power of small groups. His church
started small groups many, many years ago. He said he was still active in that original small
group, and that they continued to meet weekly over the years. However, he also stated that at
present, all of those in the group were now attending other churches. For one reason or
another, they left the original church that set them up as a small group and they all attended
different churches YET they still meet together. I believe THEY ARE a new Micro-church. I
guess I would fall into the category (not the majority) that people can be a member of multiple
churches, based upon my definition of a church. If two or more


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Chapter 5
What Will Reformation Look Like?
I have started asking pastors to give me their vision of what revival would look like in
America. Most answer that people would come back to the church (meaning they would
begin to show up at a scheduled worship time and participate in a large corporate worship
time), and the pews and chairs would be full. As I have tried to state thus far, the church
doesnt need to come back if it means they are to return to the institutional/traditional
church, giving their money to continue to maintain buildings and salaries. Americans love Jesus,
they just dont want to join a church that is about buildings, salaries and denominational
doctrines that separate us from one another! They are ready for change!
I dont believe this change will come easy, and I am certainly not suggesting that
institutional/traditional churches need to close their doors. They have a ministry, and they still
have congregations to feed. Some churches are also doing a great job in becoming missional,
while others are looking for new and innovative ways to repurpose their buildings to offset a
declining membership. I have already noted many churches combining as their congregations
get too small to support one location, one pastor, etc. I support these efforts. And, of course,
with the emergence of Mega Churches, many small congregations are simply being absorbed.
However, I also believe in a plan, a movement, that many institutional/traditional churches and
pastors could accept, and find new ministry opportunities and a new mission for their
institutional/traditional churches.
However, for my plan to take root, I believe we need reform in the following three areas.
Church Membership
The reform, the change, we need for this new protestant reformation is for the acceptance of
the institutional/traditional churches to accept the new definition of a church to include two or
more believers, meeting in a home, a coffee shop, etc., without a building, or a paid pastor. I
believe we can help Christians connect with one another and form Micro-churches, where
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meetings occur in homes, coffee shops, apartments, etc. And, the institutional/traditional
churches in America can be a part of this new movement. However, it will involve reform. It will
involve change.
For example, most institutional/traditional churches in America believe in church
membership, and they believe that a person can ONLY be a member of one church. I find this
contrary to the Biblical use of the word church. I know that many dismiss the concept that any
and all Christians are a part of the church since they are believer in Christ and a part of His
body. They believe this to be true when it comes to the universal church, but have a
completely different definition for what they refer to as the local church. As a result, many
have established membership to define what local church you attend, serve and make
monetary contributions .
Of course, for churches with a congregational form of government, it is important to determine
who is a member and who is not, since members have the power to vote on all decisions
concerning the business of the church. And, as a former pastor in a denomination with a
congregational form of government, I accepted the concept of membership as a way for people
to make their public profession of Christ as their Savior.
However, in May of 2013, I surveyed 2,000 readers of The American Church Magazine. I asked
them several questions about their beliefs concerning church membership. (Refer to the results
in Chapter 4.)
This belief centered on churches having what they believe to be exclusive membership will
need to be reformed. It is contrary to the true definition of a church, as I have defined it. When
we begin to define the local church, we begin to stray from what I believe is the Biblical
definition of a church.
It is not hard to find examples of people frustrated by the demands of their church when it
comes to exclusive membership. Simply go online and do a search for those questioning this
practice. One of the most extreme cases I found after only searching for a minute or two,
involved a single woman and her teenage daughter. The church she attended on Sunday
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morning, and where she was a member, didnt have any programs for her teenage daughter.
Her church also didnt hold any services on Sunday night. Another local church did have Sunday
night services and an exciting youth program. She decided that she would continue to attend
her church on Sunday morning, but would also allow her daughter to visit the other church
Sunday nights. She reported that after several months, one of her pastors heard what she was
doing and visited her in her home, instructing her that if she continued to allow her daughter to
attend another church on Sunday evenings, they would be forced to remove her from their
membership. While I know this is not the norm, the fact that it happened at all is upsetting.

As I have already mentioned, I did a survey of 2,000 readers of The American Church Magazine
concerning membership. We allowed for those that responded to leave comments. There were
many comments from pastors explaining why they believed in membership and why it should
be exclusive. Frankly, there was no reference to a Biblical mandate, but the reasoning centered
on control, fear of false teachings and, sadly, money.

I have a plan that will be introduced in the next chapter that can help involve and connect the
millions of Christians that are not presently involved with attending or a being a member of an
institutional/traditional church. It will encourage them to connect, form a Micro-church, and
begin real discipleship. Many institutional/traditional churches could and should embrace this
option, but they wont be able to do so if they still believe that their members are their s
alone.

We Need More Tolerance
It isnt important to spend a lot of time trying to establish the reasons we have divided as a
body, but no one can deny that the church, the Christian body, in America has split into
thousands of different denominations. Depending on who is counting, either 4,000+ or over
30,000 different schisms exist. Either way it is counted, Americans certainly look at us and have
to wonder, How can we say the Bible is the Word of God and that we believe it, and yet we
stand so divided?
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Maybe we need to find something that we can all unite around, and find tolerance for the areas
where we disagree. We all know that Jesus told us (as recorded in John 13:35) that ALL men
will know that we are Christs disciples by the love we have for one another. Yet, the message
we have sent to our nation is that we are an extremely, divided people. We disagree about so
many things. Even when we agree on doctrine, we split, divide and disagree on methods (such
as how to worship corporately).
This is one of the very reasons our love for the local church instead of the church (all believers
in Christ, everywhere) gets in our way and does us damage. It is easy to find pastors who
believe that their doctrine is correct, and that everyone in their local church believes as they
do, therefore as long as they love those in their own church, with their own specific doctrine,
they are fulfilling John 13:35. For some of these pastors and church leaders, anyone outside of
their local church, association or denomination is not worthy of love since they have been
deemed as a false teacher. As a result we have taken the truth and shown our nation that
there are thousands of differences as to which one of us has the real truth. We need to
recognize that while God is the same, yesterday and forever, the way he chooses to work with
men does vary. When Christ walked on this earth, he healed many people, but, he did it many
different ways. Sometimes he spoke to them, sometimes he touched them, sometimes he
made a mud and spread it on their eyes, sometimes he required something of them (pick up
your bed, go show yourselves to the leadership, etc.) Why? I dont know. But I do know that
when I hear other Christians share their experiences with my Savior, I dont have to have had
the same experience to appreciate God working in their lives.
Why is this important? The path I believe we need to walk to start Micro-churches is to allow
them to agree on some basic beliefs that we can all embrace. After that, I am willing to allow
these Micro-churches to start, spread and multiply without oversight by myself or some other
denomination group. In the name of oversight, we have tried to restrict the very hand of God as
he moves across this nation. I could never provide a count of all of the people I have met in the
last decade that have told me they have felt Gods call to lead or disciple others. However, they
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have felt restricted because of the cost and time involved in meeting the credentials of
institutional/traditional - church leadership to be recognized as qualified.
We need to reform, to change, our tolerance level. However, whenever someone calls for
tolerance within Christianity, there will be those leading the institutional/traditional churches
that will be the first to judge and rebuke, claiming that the call for tolerance is ungodly. We
need reformation.
We Need to Reform Discipleship
I must now admit, looking back at the years I was a pastor in the late seventies and during the
eighties, I did little in the area of true discipleship. As we think back then, most of us felt that
discipleship centered on simply getting our congregations knowledgeable about the Bible. Our
programs, such as Sunday school, centered on helping people understand the Bible. If you were
a Christian of discipline, you read your Bible for a set amount of time each day, or you adopted
one of those plans to read the Bible through in one year.
Definition Discipleship: Helping someone else learn how to follow Christ and apply His
teachings in their everyday lives.
There isnt anything wrong with such meticulous Bible study, but it isnt really what discipleship
is all about! Discipleship is helping someone else learn how to follow Christ and apply his
teachings in their everyday lives. And, frankly, Christ message was about loving God and loving
others, and most of the time during His ministry, He taught and lived a non-judgmental,
forgiving, loving lifestyle. When we center our discipleship on knowledge of the Bible, we
need to heed what we are told in 1 Cor 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all
mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have
love, I am nothing. If we are the best expert on the Bible, but do not love others, we have
missed being a real disciple of Christ.
Discipleship is done best when it is one-on-one, mentoring. I know of some
institutional/traditional churches that emphasize this, but most miss the boat. It seems most
are satisfied with the same group of Christians attending classes, conferences and worship
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services week after week, month after month, year after year, with little to show for it except
for a greater knowledge of what the Bible has to say. While knowledge of the Bible is valuable
and important, I am always a bit dismayed when I see a leader who can quote a different
scripture every minute, but fails to help those listening understand how to save their marriage,
deal with stress and depression, etc.
Somehow, we need to help Christians connect with another person and disciple them. They
need to live Christ in front of another. They need to love another, and thus show the person(s)
they are discipling, the very nature of God. They need to eat, drink, walk, talk, fellowship
together with another person, taking the opportunities to apply the teachings of Christ to their
everyday lives. This is discipleship.

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Chapter 6
A New Idea!
I have an idea for a new ministry to help the church reform its image and definition of what is a
church and it is something that the institutional/traditional church could/should embrace. It
is really quite simple. If you accept the premise I present in this e-book, we need to create a
way to help the un-churched Christians connect with one another. We need to help them
understand they ARE the church. And, we need to help those individual Christians without a
connection to find each other and start new churches (two or more, gathered in the name of
Christ).
There are many exciting programs being put forth for churches to reach the un-churched, but
they assume the un-churched is defined as the non-Christian. Few recognize that the majority
of those that are un-churched certainly show signs that they want to follow Christ. Based upon
reports that I have received from online evangelism ministries, such as Global Media Outreach,
the number of people making decisions to follow Christ far outnumber those that are being
reported by all of our denominational churches. This is because while they are making decisions
to accept and follow Christ they do not want to join a church. The decision to accept Christ as
savior and to follow him as His disciple, doesnt change the decline in social capital nor excludes
the social trend that the personal communication age has brought about. These Christians are
not walking into church buildings, nor joining churches, nor are being added to traditional
membership lists.
From my perspective, the task and challenge before us are to help reach the un-churched
Christian. The goal isnt to reach them in order to change their mind about coming back to a
church building, but rather help them form into Micro-churches that can meet in homes, coffee
shops, in parks, and even under a shade tree. They need to connect with other Christians. The
reason they need to connect on a regular basis, two or more, in a home, apartment, under a
shade tree in the park, etc., is so that they can encourage one another to love, to do good
works and to support each other (Heb 10:23-25)
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I have a plan! We have established Love God, Love People Ministries
(www.lglpministries.com) with three goals that we believe will help fill the need for the un-
churched Christian.
First, we want to help inform people and bring about reform in the areas of defining a church
and discipleship. Second, we want to provide a place for Christian groups of two or more, to
register and be counted. There will be no cost to do this, but there will be rewards! We want to
provide a steady stream of content and information opportunities to those that stand to be
counted as a Micro-church. And, third, we will provide them with the opportunity to find others
in order to connect. We have set up LGLP Connect, where a person or persons can go to the
Internet link (www.lglpministries.com) and fill out a profile, answer a few questions, give their
testimony about becoming a Christian, and our service will help them find others in their area
where they can connect! Individuals that are not connected with anyone else, but who would
be interested in being a part of a Micro-church, can go to the site, fill out a profile and read the
profile of others and connect. Small groups (two or more) already meeting, can fill out a profile
and let others know they are open to connecting with more.
I have started gathering many of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) that I have been
receiving with those that I have previously shared my vision. Here are a few of the questions,
with answers:
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about Love God, Love People Micro-churches
What is a Love God, Love People Micro-church?
Basically a micro church is a church. We call them micro because we believe, as most
Christians believe, that a church is people that gather together to pray, edify each other,
disciple each other, or to accomplish ministry and missions to others, regardless of how large
the group might be as long as it is two or more! However, it seems that most have placed other
requirements on what makes a church, a church. Some believe that you need to be a group
of people. While no one really has a firm number that they publish, we believe that Matthew
18:20 made it clear when it states: For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with
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them. So, we believe that even if two people get together to accomplish gathering in Christs
name, on a regular basis, they are a church. To help us make the point about just how small
they can be (grin), we call them micro churches.
Because we want these new churches to be tolerant of each other, we want the common belief
that we are centered on to be important, but simple. Jesus died for our sins and paid the price
for our salvation. After he rose from the dead and as he was ascending into heaven, he told his
disciples to teach others to obey His commandments. There are 48 of them, and they center on
loving God and loving others, therefore we have centered on Love God, Love People (LGLP) as
the name of this ministry and the defining branding of our Micro-churches, Love God, Love
People Micro-church.
How big can a Love God, Love People Micro-church become?
Too many people have come to believe that a church is a building. While many will agree that a
building really isnt the church, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking about the building
being the church. We say things like, See you at church tonight., or What time does your
church start? referring to specific meetings that take place in a building.
If a church has a building, they need to utilize it in every way possible. However, sometimes a
church building can be a burden instead of an asset. For example, check out this article I wrote
in the February 2013 issue of The American Church Magazine asking the very question about
our buildings being an asset or a burden:
http://www.theamericanchurchmag.com/2013_02/tacm2013_02coverstory.pdf.
So, how big do we think a Love God, Love People Micro-church can become? As big as they like
as long as they dont have to pay rent, utilities, take on a mortgage, or add the burden of a
building to their ministry. If they meet in a house, and you can get 20 together in one large
room, then your Micro-church should be limited to 20. Once you get more people, but run out
of free space to meet, it is time to multiply and divide into two churches! This is how we do
missions and start new churches!
Is the Love God, Love People Micro-Church a New Denomination?
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No. There are already around 4,000 different Christian denominations in America. (Many more
depending on who is doing the counting.) We probably dont need another one. There are a
number of great sites on the Internet that help explain the differing beliefs of Christian
denominations (such as: http://churchrelevance.com/qa-list-of-all-christian-denominations-
and-their-beliefs/). Love God, Love People Ministries is all about encouraging Christians to join
together and start new churches (not traditional churches, but Micro-churches free from the
burden of buildings, paid clergy, and denominational doctrines). If one Love God, Love People
Micro-churches decides that the King James Bible is the only one to use, and another Love God,
Love People Micro-church believes other translations should be allowed, we think it is time for
such churches to embrace each other, accept our differences, and support what is really
important. What is important? Check out what we believe!
What do we believe?
We believe that Christianity isnt difficult to understand. In fact, Paul warned us to be careful to
not let Satan corrupt us from the simplicity that is found in Christ! (2 Corinthians 11:3) So, here
are the beliefs that we think should bind us as Love God, Love People Micro-churches.
We believe salvation is found in Christ when he paid the price for our sins on the cross
(the wages of sin being death). His salvation is a free gift to anyone who asks for it and
makes a commitment to begin a relationship with Jesus and follow Him (become a
disciple). Simple.
We believe that the last commandment Christ gave us is central to what we should be
doing as Christians and as Love God, Love People Micro-churches. In Matthew 28:18-20,
as Christ was ascending up into heaven he told us to go and teach everyone to observe
all of the things he taught us, and to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and
Holy Spirit. In studying the 48 commandments of Christ, as recorded in the four Gospels
of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Christs commandments and teachings centered
around learning to better love God and love other people. Simple.
We believe that we are called to disciple others. This doesnt mean teaching them to
memorize scripture, pledge themselves to doctrines of denominations or commit to a
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regime of spiritual disciplines, but rather it means we invite and inspire others to follow
Christ. To accept Him as Savior and to listen to the indwelling Holy Spirit as it guides
each individual on what is sin (things not to do) and righteousness (things we should be
doing). Simple.
We believe a church is a group (two or more) of Christians that join together to pray for
one another, encourage one another, disciple one another, and accomplish mission and
ministry. (Matthew 5:16 Jesus told us to do good works that will cause others to glorify
our Father in heaven.) Simple.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of other beliefs that have separated us as
Christians/churches. Each person that holds to their belief about the origin or infallibility of the
Bible, their beliefs about spiritual gifts in todays church, their beliefs about the last days,
baptism (sprinkle or dunk), new births (dedicate or baptize), their list, however long or short, of
things we should or shouldnt do, how often to partake of the Lords supper and what kind of
bread we should be using, isnt what we hold as important. All of those who claim Christ as
their redeemer are our brother and sister. We can stand together, regardless of our differing
secondary beliefs. Love God, Love People Ministries is about starting or recognizing Micro-
churches. Simple.
How do I become or join a Love God, Love People Micro-church?
It is pretty simple (we love simple). If you are in a group of Christians (even if there are just two
of you) and you find yourself in agreement with what we believe, we encourage you to click on
the register your Micro-church button. You will be asked for a contact name and address as
well as an email address and phone number, if you wish to provide it. You will note that we
have a map that will show where all of our Love God, Love People Micro-churches are located.
After you register, a little tab will appear on our map designating your location.
Thats it! You are a church, not because we say you are, but because we believe that you meet
the Biblical requirements to define you as a church!
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What if you want to find more that would like to join you OR you are alone and dont know of
anyone else that would like to connect, meet, and become a Love God, Love People Micro-
church? No problem, we have created a special LGLP Connect service. It works very similarly
to an online dating service. You register setting up a password and use a site name (such as
KansasCitySteve). Then fill out the profile questions, including your testimony. In the LGLP
Connect service, you will be asked if you are alone, or are in a Love God, Love People Micro-
church and looking for more people. Read the profiles of others in your area, and if you feel led
to make a connection, feel free to do so. Make some new friends, and if you feel the Spirit
leading, unite and begin to meet together to pray for each other, encourage each other,
disciple each other and do ministry and missions. Guess what? You will have become a part of a
Love God, Love People Micro-church.
If you are alone and connect with another person, and the two of you start to meet together,
be sure to come back to our site and register as a new Love God, Love People Micro-church.
Why Register? And does it cost any money?
We would like for you to register because we believe God is starting a new movement, a
movement of churches that have redefined what it means to be a church. Churches centered
on true discipleship, ministry and mission, not centered on raising money for buildings or paid
staff. When you register you stand up to be counted, and we believe God will use your stand to
inspire others.
There is no cost to register and become a Love God, Love People Micro-church.
As individuals, we are not concerned if you start a LGLP Micro-church that meets on a Tuesday
evening (for example) and yet you also attend or are a member of an institutional traditional
church. I love corporate worship and the opportunity to join with others in singing praise to our
Lord. We will continue to encourage the institutional/traditional church to become involved in
this new Micro-church movement (see more below), and hope that many will agree that church
membership shouldnt hold Christians from getting together with other Christians, and in doing
so, they become a church!
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When you register, you will receive our newsletter with informative articles and content to help
inspire your Micro-church. In addition, you will receive information via email with other
opportunities to explore what it means to be a church. You will receive invites to online live
webinars as well as conferences hosted by Love God, Love People Ministries. Some conferences
and other training opportunities might involve a fee if you wish to take advantage of the
information or opportunity, but there is NO fee or cost to become a Love God, Love People
Micro-church.
When visiting our website, you will find an opportunity to donate to the ministry of Love God,
Love People Ministries if you feel led. We have a great vision for what God can do with this
ministry, but it is a non-profit and we will trust God to provide the funding to expand and
enhance this ministry.
What about institutional/traditional churches?
Love God, Love People Ministries hopes to have a part in encouraging many institutional/
traditional churches in joining us in helping to start one million LGLP Micro-churches. In our
ministry, we see no competition. Some institutional/traditional churches are working with us in
encouraging their members to go to their homes and start new Love God, Love People Micro-
churches. They can reach new people, impact their neighborhoods, and STILL be involved (and
hopefully retain membership) in their institutional/traditional church. And, we believe if an
institutional/traditional church works to start Micro-churches across their city, their role in
ministry will see new opportunities. For example, instead of working to bring the un-churched
Christian into their buildings on Sunday morning for traditional worship, they could provide
more Christian Conference opportunities for those involved in LGLP Micro-churches in their
city. The institutional/traditional church could host a number of exciting conferences, concerts,
Christian dinner theater, marriage enrichment ministry, divorce recovery ministry, etc., etc.,
and have a much larger group of people that could become involved as more and more Micro-
churches start around their city.
The church buildings we have now can be an asset to ministry, and these
institutional/traditional churches could see a vast increase in the numbers of people they
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minister to. Of course the business plan and financial budgets would need to be adjusted, and
as they experience a decrease in the number of people attending on a Sunday morning (and a
decrease in offering that is continuing to happen to our churches now), they could find that
providing ministry to Micro-churches not only a great opportunity, but from fees collected from
such events, a new way to receive the capital needed to sustain their present and new
ministries.
Some may feel that there will be a loss of opportunity and ministry if we see our
institutional/traditional churches continue to decline and the Christians in America either end
up in a Mega-church or a Micro-church, but frankly, the Micro-church concept opens up many
new doors of opportunity. For example, we have witnessed the growth of the home school. Yet,
students that are home schooled do not have to find themselves excluded from team sports,
choirs, drama opportunities, etc., as many home school communities unite to provide these
events for their students. This is what I believe could happen for many institutional/traditional
churches. As they encourage their membership to start LGLP Micro-churches, they can be the
community to bring everyone back for corporate opportunities, events, conferences, concerts,
etc.
Will There Be Problems?
Of course there will be issues to overcome as Love God, Love People Ministries and Micro-
churches begin to register and start. What flavor of Christianity will these Micro-churches
take? Will they become fundamental or possibly charismatic? Who will provide oversight? Who
will provide credentials? For example, who will determine when and how often a Micro-church
should partake of the Lords Supper?
None of the questions above concern me. When you give birth to a child, you do the best you
can to provide direction and instruction, but you know that giving birth is not the same as
cloning. Each person has free will. Each person must have their own personality, goals and
desires that make them unique. Will all Micro-churches be the same? Of course not!
For the last 25 years I have served as Founder and Editor of Christian Computing Magazine. The
magazine is completely non-denominational. I have had the privilege to work with Christians in
all denominations. I have had the honor to speak and preach at churches all over this nation,
both denominational and independent. As a result, I have discovered many Christians in all
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denominations. Micro-churches will establish their own secondary belief systems (the items
that seem to separate us as Christians and caused us to form into denominations). However, if
they stay true to the doctrine of salvation through the redemptive work of Christ and
concentrate on his teachings, great things will be accomplished.
Can a Micro-church be affiliated with a denomination? There is certainly no problem in doing so
as far as Love God, Love People Ministries is concerned. However, I believe few
denominations will allow a Micro-church to be recognized as a church.
What about curriculum or materials for use when a Micro-church gets together? I am sure we
will begin to produce and/or recommend great studies, books and programs.
What about children? Can a Micro-church accomplish traditional Sunday School? I am sure each
Micro-church will figure out a path that will work for them depending on if or how many
children they have to deal with. While a pastor of an institutional/traditional church, I raised my
two sons. They were always in Sunday School. However, we also did nightly Bible stories and
devotions and I was the one to talk to both, when they were old enough, about making the
decision to accept Christ as their savior. Maybe with the birth of more Micro-churches, more
parents will assume a more active role in the Christian education of their children, instead of
depending on one hour of Sunday School each week.
And, finally, will the Micro-church program be the salvation for all institutional/traditional
churches? Of course not! I predict that some institutional/traditional churches will continue on
and do just fine, supported by a congregation that still values such corporate worship or
ministry opportunities. I predict many institutional/traditional churches will go ahead and close
their doors in the next six to ten years, simply because their pastors and their congregations are
not able to change. I hope to be able to continue to help them as they continue their vital
ministry to their congregations. However, I also hope to see some institutional/traditional
churches accept the Micro-church plan and encourage their members to go forth and start
dozens and even hundreds of new churches. I hope to see them adapt their ministry, their
programs and the use of their buildings to provide exciting conferences, training opportunities,
concerts and more for the Micro-churches that exist all around their buildings.




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Chapter 7
The Church is About to Transform!
Imagine what might happen if we would begin to think of church as people who are Christians
instead of a building where we hold a service? What would happen if we began to love each
other and accept each other? Can you imagine if the world saw us emphasize loving God and
loving people, instead of fighting over what we believe about spiritual gifts, baptism, the way
we govern our business, etc., etc.? Can you imagine if we changed our efforts from trying to get
people into our buildings to join our organization and help us pay our bills, and instead took
the church out into the streets, to our lunch breaks while at work, and into the homes in our
neighborhoods?
Imagine what would happen if we recognize and accept the fact that social capital has declined
in America, and accept the fact that people dont want to join, nor do they trust and appreciate
big organizations? Can you imagine if we could adapt methods of connecting that fit within the
characteristics of this personal communication age? Can you imagine what it would be like if we
could accept change as a natural part of society, instead of seeing it as a direct challenge and
attack on the religious things that we find comfortable?
Christians can protest what they no longer appreciate or value. Because they are Christians, and
because most have a history with corporate worship and the institutional/traditional church,
the protest wont be loud, but most Christians have protested against the institutional church
by simply voting with their feet by leaving. And reform is something that is within our power to
accomplish. We can change. We must change.
If we can change, the church (both the people and the institutional/traditional church) will
transform. Transformation is not up to us, it is a God thing. But, it is our job to plan the things
and events in our lives so that God can perform the transformation He desires. John Ortberg, in
his book The Life Youve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People, states
Spiritual transformation cannot be orchestrated or controlled, but neither is it a random
venture. We need some kind of support or structure, much as a young vine needs a trellis. We
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need sails to help us catch the winds of the Spirit. All of us know the frustration of random, hap-
hazard efforts that lead nowhere in spiritual life. We need a plan for transformation. (page
200)
What I hope I have helped to develop is a plan that Christians can use to establish new Micro-
churches. It really isnt new. It is how the church started, as groups of Christians (which is what
the word church really means) meeting in homes and on the side of a hill or by a lake. And, it
really isnt something new now, in 2013. I have been watching as God has been leading
different Christians and Christian groups across this nation, as they start new churches.
Churches that broke away from the institutional/traditional church that I knew and loved back
in the early 1970s when I first became a Christian. As I felt God leading me to create Love God,
Love People Ministries and set up the site for Christians to register their Micro-churches and
have a way to connect, I discovered others with the same call, the same vision. This isnt my
plan, and it isnt my ministry. I simply pray that God can use me, and I rejoice that I get to be a
part of what He is doing.
Imagine if the institutional/traditional churches in America could strip away all of the things
that take away from Christians connecting together to provoke to love, establish good works
and gather together to encourage and pray for one another. Imagine what our nation might
look like if Christians, in small groups, began to disciple one-on-one, mentoring each other in
the teachings of Christ and applying them in their daily lives. Our nation would be impacted,
and the church, the real church, would be transformed for His purpose!
Join us. Help us establish a new network of Micro-churches. Help us encourage the un-churched
Christian to realize they are a part of the church, the body of Christ. To learn more, visit
www.lglpministries.com.