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Death Of The Church [Paperback]

By Mike Regele (Author) & Mark Schulz (Author)
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Item description for Death Of The Church by Mike Regele & Mark Schulz...

Our culture is changing at a dizzying rate. But the church seems to be left behind, caught in subcultural backwaters that have little or no impact on mainstream society. Based on the quantitative research of his group, Percept, Regele analyzes the forces in our culture and discusses how the church can fulfill its mission in the face of them.

Publishers Description

"Death of the Church is intended to provoke, although we have been careful to be accurate and responsible in our statement of the issues. We will have failed if you only yawn. You may not like what we say, but you must at least acknowledge the issues, for they are very real. The institutional church in America will look very different twenty-five years from now. Indeed, several denominations may no longer exist. We are sure that there will be hundreds of local congregations that won't. The forces reshaping our culture are too many and too strong. We see signs of social fragmentation and collapse everywhere. But we also believe deeply in the hope of the Gospel and the security of the church. Both will survive. But how the church universal is expressed in and through the churches in America will look very different. This is the issue we write about." -- From the Introduction

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Zondervan
Pages   292
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.12" Width: 6.6" Height: 0.72"
Weight:   0.87 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 5, 1996
Publisher   Zondervan Publishing
ISBN  0310200067  
ISBN13  9780310200062  
UPC  025986200060  

Availability  0 units.

More About Mike Regele & Mark Schulz

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Mike Regele (M. Div.) studied at Seattle Pacific University and Fuller Theological Seminary. He is co-founder and president of Percept Group, Inc., and an author and co-author whose works include Exploring Your Ministry Area, Your Church and Its Mission, Understanding Your Congregation, and ReVision.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Reference > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Church Institutions & Organizations

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Church Growth

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Reviews - What do customers think about Death Of The Church?

Ring! Ring! Mr. Mainline Church, this is your wake-up call.  May 19, 2007
Unfortunately, since the book was written nearly ten years ago, "Mr. Mainline" has only read the book, done a book report on it, and forgotten about it.

"Reality-challenged" people do such things. No wonder they're in the predicament they're in.

I have watched nearly everything the author predicted for my denomination to come true--and then some. The thing is: we have yet to begin to see the worst of it!

A first, second or even third reading of the book should prove to be helpful to anyone who loves their church enough to change for the better. If you're just going to "write a book report about it", then fuhgedaboutit!.

Maybe there are some chairs that you can help rearrange on the Titanic, instead.
Prophetic  Aug 12, 2006
"The church has a choice: to die as a result of its resistance to change or to die in order to live." That's the thesis of this book, which was a bombshell when it appeared in 1995. Though published by Zondervan, this book really is the work of the folks at Percept, the organization that many denominations and judicatories and local churches use to study demographic data for the purposes of reaching out effectively into the surrounding community.

"The church," argues Regele, "is moving rapidly toward a moment of decision, a defining moment. It is a moment of definition because, whether we like it or not, the church in American culture is being redefined. And our options are very limited." In fact, says Regele, there are only two basic options, reflected in the thesis above. We can die as a result of resistance to change, or we can die in order to live. The second option involves understanding the dynamics of change that are at work today in our culture, understanding the various facets of change, accepting that the traditional place of the institutional church in American society is crumbling, allowing our traditional forms and structures that are the foundation of the institutional church to die, wrestling to forge new ways to proclaim the Gospel in this changing world, and revisioning the church for the twenty-first century -- from the local congregation to the national denominational office (or beyond!).

The first part of the book is devoted to dynamics of both predictable and unpredictable cultural change. In the "predictable" category are generational dynamics and their effect on the church (based on the work of William Strauss and Neil Howe in books like Generations and The Fourth Turning); those generational dynamics are predictable because there are established historical patterns. In the "unpredictable" category are various forms of chaotic change that occur at watershed moments in human history. Regele argues that we stand at such a defining moment in which we are moving into a whole new period in human history. That discussion is reminiscent of Brian McLaren's analysis in A New Kind of Christian (which I read first, though it appeared later). Regele's analysis of historical epochs is slightly different than McLaren's, both they both share a conviction that we stand today at a critical juncture in human history, the likes of which have occured rarely in our collective history.

The second part of the book unpacks various focal points of change. Particularly helpful was Regele's analysis of how the church has, in this country, traditionally been tied to the dominant place of the traditional family and to the "Grand American Story," both of which are crumbling. To be effective in the new world, Regele argues, the church needs to free itself from those traditional associations, so that it can more effectively proclaim the gospel in a wholly different cultural environment.

The third part of the book articulates the defining moment more precisely. In the future, the church will be on the margins, not in the mainstream. We have to embrace "the inevitable death of what we have known, repenting of the recalcitrance that has tried to avoid it, and in faith accepting a redefinition of what it means to be the church in America." Our churches in the future will either be empty shells or revitalized centers of life -- depending on whether we do the necessary adaptive work. "If in faith we let our institutions go, out of the ash heap God will raise new institutions to serve a new day." After death . . . comes resurrection. That is, after all, the hope of the gospel. (Though I would suggest, based on my reading of Margaret Wheatley's Leadership and the New Science and other similar books, that the whole notion of "institution" needs to give way to an understanding of the church as "organism.")

Regele provides numerous appendices that offer detailed statistical and demographic analyses, which buttress the main claims the book makes. I found the charts showing the changing shape of the American family to be particularly helpful. We in the church tend to still want to focus on traditional families with a mom and a dad and 2.3 kids . . . but those sorts of living arrangements are becoming increasingly uncommon, as Regele's data shows.

All in all, this is an excellent book, still relevant (perhaps even more relevant!) now, eleven years after its publication. I wish I had read it long ago.
Results of this kind of thinking  Jan 19, 2005
This book is now 8 years old, and we can see the 'fruit' of this kind of thinking in churches today. Many churches who have put into action the ideas in this book have turned into 'feel good' Christian social clubs. Don't talk about conviction of sin, the need for repentance and obedience to our Lord. Instead talk about mistakes and how we are basically all good people. So many churches, sadly, have become post-modern by clinging to the ways of the world, and THIS is destroying the church. I hope the authors of this book have the courage to now deal with the 'fruits' of their recommendations. Maybe a good follow-up to this book would be to deal with how the ideas put forth are now 'killing' the church, and how teaching the truth of Christ, the easy and the not so easy parts, are what people truly need in this dying world.
If you are serious about being the Church today...  Jul 30, 2003
The message of this book is critical for the church today. The sooner we cease trying to get the world to see things our way and begin to bring the gospel to them, the better.

This is a book that should be revised every ten years or so as we move through the generational and cultural devlopments or our times. It will be enlightening to see how well the generational cycle plays out.

It is a book that has plenty of narrative (in the first and last parts) for those who are most helped by that. It also has plenty of statistical analysis for those who appreciate that.

The book would be worth having if it were only composed of part three. All worth meditation. Many modern Christians, including a couple of the reviewers here, are unaware of their own cultural conditioning. They think there is something sacred in the western, 19th-20th century institution and outlook that they call the church. They have a hard time seeing that that was a way of 'packaging' the gospel for a particular place and time in history. Disciples in the 21st century are responsible for taking the gospel to the worlds of the 21st century. Regele helps us to realize that this includes our neighbors as well as people around the world.

Read this book if you are serious about being an ambassador for Christ. Remember, an ambassador represents his kingdom to other kingdoms. He must make his message understood and attractive to others in order to serve his king.

Important Book  Jul 19, 2003
This is one of the most important books for church leaders written in the last few years. I have given away many copies, and I urge every pastor to read it. We are in a time of great social transition, and church leaders had better understand the nature of the changes around us. Mike Regele is not saying that a time is coming when there will be no people of God. What he is saying is that local churches that cannot adapt and penetrate their cultures will die. What would happen if 75% of America's churches would cease to exist in the next 50 years? Change in the culture around us is taking place at such a rapid rate that it could well happen. Thus, change in the church is not optional.

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