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In response to the numerical data in the current Christian Chronicle, John Knox, preaching minister, of Granbury, Texas, said: I am fundamentally optimistic about the state of the church for several reasons. There is significant evidence to indicate that congregations across the nation are committed to serving their respective cities, particularly in times of crisis. Consider the ministry churches provided in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. Congregations in the South made a notable difference in the wake of hurricanes in recent years. Most importantly churches are serving their communities in the Spirit of Christ in unprecedented ways on a daily basis. Churches of Christ have not always been known for being community oriented. In some cases, we have been labeled as isolationists. That is no longer the case as a general rule. That is a very positive sign of health and vibrancy. In the congregation I serve, the younger generation with small children is exemplary in their commitment to God, and to raising their children with biblical values. I fall into the category of being one of the infamous Baby Boomers. I think the level of dedication and concern for the church in this younger group far exceeds my own generation. God must have good plans for the church in the near future! There is an increasing awareness of the need to be missional in a post-Christian culture. I continue to marvel at the foreign mission commitment of the Greatest Generation in the years following World War II. The upcoming generation will reflect similar dedication in serving a mission field that is literally at our back door."

I tend to agree with him. There are definitely some extremely sad stories out there. But, I also see churches working together in unprecidented ways. What do you think?

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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  1. I would agree with John that our exodus out of our isolationist shell is a positive one, and I would further his statement only by saying that we need to find more ways to proactively serve our community in addition to the crisis support we have provided recently.
    And for the record, I also agree with Brad’s comment yesterday that numerical growth is not necessarily a great indicator of discipleship. Sometimes, the bigger a church becomes, the more difficult discipleship becomes.
    One thing I’m learning is that the process of becoming a church dedicated to reaching the lost is in itself a maturing event. It seems to me that one maturity marker in our faith journey is our willingness to leave behind that which makes us comfortable so that we can embrace that many more. “I have become all things to all people, in order that I might win some…”