Christians worship and serve Jesus in so many different ways.
Sure, there’s a foundation of correct theology and behavior that needs to exist for any group to legitimately call themselves a church. Among them are:
- The divinity of Jesus
- Salvation through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus
- Practicing the Great Commandment and the Great Commission
- The primacy of scripture
- And more
But, when we build on the essentials, there is some amazing and wonderful diversity within the body of Christ.
Recognizing, supporting and encouraging that diversity within a biblical theological framework is not a weakness. It is, and has always been, one of the church’s great strengths. And it will be one of our greatest tools for the survival and the strength of the church in coming generations.
The Strength of Diversifying
The church will never die. Jesus said he’d build it and Jesus knows what he’s doing.
But in many parts of the world, the church is floundering right now. And all indications are that she will be in decline for several decades to come if we keep doing business-as-usual. Much of this coming reality is outlined very accurately, though heartbreakingly, by John S. Dickerson in The Great Evangelical Recession. (Thankfully, Dickerson offers some answers worth considering, too.)
The temptation, when faced with such predictions of doom, is to reinforce and require greater adherence to methods that have worked in the past. On core theology, that is essential. But on everything else, it’s a mistake. One of the church’s great strengths has always been found in greater diversification of methodology, not less.
For example, one of the primary strategies for a family’s long-term financial viability is to diversify your financial portfolio. If all your assets are in one financial basket, you’ll be left with nothing when that company, stock or industry tanks. But if you scatter your financial eggs into several baskets, when one goes down, others go up and you’re protected.
This is why there needs to be a diversity of church styles – because there’s a diversity of cultures in the world, a diversity of people within every culture and lightning-fast change happening in virtually every culture. We can’t rely on one style or method. If we do, as goes that method, so goes the church (at least our way of doing church).