The church is facing a season of challenge in Western Europe and America, areas where once the church was strong and influential. We find, however, that the affluent suburbs in Cape Town are themselves not exempt from the challenge western culture is bringing to the church. Though there are signs of growth in some Christian sectors to inspire hope, there remains a great responsibility on the leaders of the local church today to engage this challenge. A responsibility rests on church leaders to hold firmly to the timeless message of the scriptures, and lightly to the forms of church that no longer engage a culture increasingly unimpressed with the face of modern Christianity. Within this thesis, we will attempt to outline a tenet of the western church’s ecclesiology that has been diluted in many places; this weakness has impacted the church’s ability to engage its community, as well the form and shape of the activities of the local church. Through investigating Jesus’ intention for the local church, we will shown that the church is not defined by the form of its activities, but by people’s response to the demands of the kingdom. We will show that focusing on the church’s response to the demands of the kingdom is able to be a uniting and strengthening force in the church in this season of cultural challenge. The demands of the kingdom are, therefore, to set the agenda for local church leaders, and free those leaders to redesign the form of the church’s activities to engage the local community in culturally appropriate ways. Copyright
Dissertation (MA(Theol))--University of Pretoria, 2012.