The need today is not to plant institutional churches, emergent or traditional, in densely populated areas where there are no United Methodist Churches. The institutional church is unable to make disciples and is unable to attract the lost to come to its events and worship. Lost people are not interested in anything that will make their life busier; if they were, many opportunities more rewarding that worship (in their opinion) are available to them. If that was not enough, better worship than any local church can provide is available via internet broadcast, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, in the comfort of one=s own home at a time convenient to one=s own schedule. Worship will not draw in the lost in this century.
Nor will it be enough to encourage people to invite their friends and neighbors; Putnam=s work on social capital indicates that the social network links between people are literally disintegrating. People are withdrawing from each other in our society and they no longer know anyone to invite them to church. The come structure church is a dinosaur on the brink of extinction. Come structures don=t work; nobody comes.
Only a discipleship system that develops relationships with lost people and draws them into the network of small groups that function as a community of faith can generate the church growth desired to reverse membership decline. People are no longer looking for a friendly church; today they are just looking for friends. If a cell church discipleship system that focuses on people evangelizing people is added to the worship system of a church, it will work. It=s not necessary to change the traditional worship system, just to add the right kind of discipleship system.
NOTE (my response)
The quote is from Major League Disciple Making: An Overview of the Best Research on the Cell Church, an online course developed for the Institute for Discipleship at www.BeADisciple.com in 2009. Course materials, including these lectures, can be downloaded here: http://www.disciplewalk.com/IFD_MLD_Class_Links.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.