The email stung me. The writer spoke of my negativity about local churches, about how much of my writings are about problems in local congregations.
But there was truth in his critique. A lot of my writings do indeed express my concerns about the health and future of congregations. I admit my desire to help church leaders and laypersons confront reality.
But balance is needed.
There are many traditional or established churches doing things well. And though we can’t make categorical statements about any group of churches, it is indeed true that there are some elements in traditional churches we need to celebrate. Here are five of them.
1. The members have a deep love and concern for one another. Go into many traditional churches and you will see members caring for one another, taking meals to each other, and praying consistently for one another.
2. They are loyal to the institution. I have argued in other articles that institutional loyalty taken to an extreme is unhealthy. But the inverse is true as well. Members with no institutional loyalty will move from one church to another with little concern. Traditional church members tend to be fiercely loyal to the churches where they are members.
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Dr. Thom Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.