THE GENERAL-PRACTICE CHURCH

In a highly specialized society, is there room for an all-purpose church?

An older physician, speaking recently to a civic club I attend, said, "A general-practice physician can be highly successful if located in an area serviced by specialists. In fact, for physicians, the greatest opportunity in the next twenty years is in general practice, as specialization creates a demand for general practice."

I wondered, If he's correct, does a parallel exist in the church world?

In the last few years we have seen most professions and institutions become specialized-including the church. Some older churches and many newer ones deliberately have identified target groups and target needs and then structured themselves to reach these groups and meet these needs. Among advocates of church growth, it is recognized as one of the most effective ways of starting a growing local church. They correctly assume, "Sheep of the same needs will flock together, and it helps us shepherd more effectively."

As a result, in many circles the general-practice church is viewed as an antique in ...

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