Stats and the American Church
The official reports published by many denominations are almost entirely devoid of any attempt to measure transformation objectively. The evangelical church is in the grip of an evaluation process that applies a numerical rather than a theological metric. The biblical mandate is that the people of God are transformed into the image of Christ. Transformation is evaluated by verifiable character and behavioral expressions in daily living such as the profile revealed in the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-25).
There is a discernable pathology in the theology of the American church.
Perhaps the most prominent example of this is the declaration in 2008 by Willow Creek and Bill Hybels. His statement—the past twenty-five years of attraction without transformation has not accomplished in the lives of people what Scripture mandates— transformation (“Willow Creek’s Huge Shift,” Christianity Today, May 15, 2008).
Methodology in ministry is a clear and unambiguous expression of theology. The trend in the past twenty-five years has been to modify ministry to conform to perceived preferences from the culture. This trend has been aided by the corrupt metric of mere numbers as a reflection of effectiveness, “more is better.”
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