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By Lyle E. Schaller

'... a conceptual framework for church self-appraisal that may be a key think about deciding on that truth and overcoming the passivity that blights such a lot of congregations today...' from the again hide.

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Extra resources for Looking in the Mirror: Self-Appraisal in the Local Church

Sample text

We liked the people, our two teen-agers really enjoyed the youth group, and we still have lots of friends there, but we simply weren't being fed spiritually," explained Susan Kellogg. She was sitting with her husband, Sam, in their living room and explaining to a visitor why they had left Central Church and subsequently joined Bethany Church. "This is an independent church and I'm the second minister to serve here since it was organized in 1962. We're a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching congregation without any denominational ties," declared Ben Webster, the thirty-three-year-old minister at Calvary Temple.

These comments are representative of the legalistic church. In these congregations there is a heavy emphasis on rules, laws, decrees, and categorical standards. It is not uncommon, for example, to set a minimum age for membership on the governing board. If that minimum is twenty-five years, and a potential candidate will not reach his twenty-fifth birthday until a month after the annual meeting at which he would be elected, he simply is not eligible. "1 The language of the law dominates the conversation about congregational identity, role, and self-image.

First, the published research, while available in huge quantities, is of uneven quality. Second, in most cases the reader has to translate the conceptual framework into ecclesiastical terms and interpret the application of the findings to the churches. 15 A third, and a very provocative source, is the research on military organizations in general, and on the American armed forces in particular. There are three big reasons why this merits investigation. 16 Second, it is relatively easy to translate the findings of these studies into operational language for the churches since both are concerned with advancing a cause.

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