Is the Church Disappearing in Our Culture?

Steve McAlpine | April 13, 2016

I stopped reading books with the word “church” as the second word in the title. I had to. There were too many. I’d overdosed. I needed to go cold turkey. I killed the craving with humor, replacing the word “church” with the word “cheese.” There’s a Monty Python sketch in there somewhere.

So when I decided to read Mark Sayers’s new book, Disappearing Church: From Cultural Relevance to Gospel Resilience, it was solely on the strength of his previous work. Sayers—senior leader of Red Church in Melbourne, Australia—has a grasp of modern culture so keen, incisive, and distilled that many of the other “church” books look anemic by comparison. 

Different Beast

What sets Disappearing Church apart is its central premise. Whereas many missional books have focused on how Christendom, having collapsed, has once again opened up the West for mission, Sayers says “not so fast.” This new cultural iteration is a different beast. And this difference will have a dramatic effect on mission:

Post-Christianity is not pre-Christianity; rather post-Christianity attempts to move beyond Christianity, while simultaneously feasting upon its fruit.

In the aftermath of Christendom we were bracing for the hellish horror of Biff Tannen’s Back to the Future Hill Valley, but it has stubbornly refused to…

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