Going to the Root: 9 Proposals for Radical Church Renewal

Written by Christian Smith Reviewed By Craig L. Blomberg

What is the secret to church renewal? Mega-church, metachurch or house church structures? Charismatic revival? Assistant Professor of Sociology at Gordon College in Massachusetts, Smith has for 12 years been active in Salem Community Church, a network of house churches which form an intentional Christian community. In addition to the quality of community engendered, Smith finds eight other strengths of this infrastructure: (1) church becomes an every-member ministry without professional clergy; (2) decision-making and leadership is by consensus, not democratic vote or centralized leadership; (3) worship is more open to more active participants; (4) huge amounts of money are freed up for mission which would otherwise be spent on facilities; (5) people are involved in each others’ lives on a daily basis, cultivating an ‘everyday life spirituality’; (6) lifestyle evangelism is practised; (7) work for social justice becomes a priority; and (8) grass-roots ecumenism takes place. Smith admits weaknesses and dangers but still thinks his model is the best. Whether or not one agrees, the exposition of the constituent elements of the model should inspire potential improvements in virtually any church structure. And the need for intentional community can scarcely be underestimated.

Craig L. Blomberg

Craig L. Blomberg
Denver Seminary
Denver, Colorado, USA