By Robert H. Baldwin, Jr. and Galen E. Blom
Our belief is that God wants to use his church to redeem and reform life in America just as he’s used it in our history. For us the problem of the impotency of the American church to shape our nation’s culture is that the church is missing from the places that matter – our families, our local neighborhoods, our workplaces, schools, and “third places,” those places we gather regularly with friends to socialize or recreate. By missing we mean that we Christians do not understand church to be believers gathered missionally in all the places we spend time together – like family, neighborhood, workplace, and school. We are not saying our current way of meeting in congregations is unimportant. We are saying it is insufficient.
Alarming numbers of church-going Christians, even those who say they pray and attend worship services regularly, don’t see the relevance of their faith to the daily world of family and work. In The Missing Church, we claim that our failure to experience God’s power and grace in daily life results from the absence of the body of Christ where it matters. We generally are not on mission together as the church in society’s strategic people groups where culture is shaped and dominion is exercised over our lives. Building up the body of Christ among society’s strategic people groups is going to require a reformation in our way of being the church. We live in a dynamic world. In a changing environment, systems and structures that once served as assets can become liabilities. Ministry plans, strategies, and forms of church that God used powerfully in the past are not sacred. Every human strategy and form of church inspired by God will one day need to be laid down for his work to remain fresh and dynamic from generation to generation. Like Peter, when God invites us out from the safety of our boats (our personal comfort zones) into a storm (the crises of belief involved in deep change), we must step onto the water (embrace new behaviors by faith).
The church has a real mission to serve the coming of God’s kingdom to earth. It is empowered to change the world. Believers can’t blame decay in the world on the spiritually dead. It is the spiritually alive, “God’s people who are called by his name,” who are responsible for the state of the world. Our focus is not just to be how to get more people to come to church on Sunday but how to be the church embedded within every group of people. We really can change the world – we do it by changing ourselves!
(A Book Summary found at http://booksummaries.tomlaw.org prepared by Thomas L. Law, III of The Missing Church: The Power of Being the Body of Christ in the Family, Neighborhood and Workplace by Robert H. Baldwin, Jr. and Galen E. Blom, published by Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC, 2010. Quoted material used by permission.) ISBN: 978-1-60696-145-2