It is my contention that were the Church a better mirror of Jesus Christ, churches would be filled, people clamouring to hear and experience this incredible love story. Tragically, conversely, the Developed World Church is in major decline; it is in crisis.
Over my fifty year Church journey, thinking on this topic has been triggered by observation of the informal leaving of/non-participation in the Church by most of my childhood contemporaries. There must be something drastically wrong in the telling, and lifestyle modelling, of this incredible love story.
Furthermore, I have learnt that many outsiders are not only ambivalent, but also hostile, to the Church. Why? Some Christians attribute this to anti-God related guilt; maybe so. However, I forever recall outsiders labelling Church members hypocrites - and subsequently discovering this often to be the case. Not only so, the Church has victimised, persecuted, judged and rejected outsiders. It has often been anything but the incarnation of Christ in the world.
These and other factors - including the course Building up the local church at the University of Pretoria - have inspired this research. I have a passion for transformation of C/church identity into Christ-likeness through, and as a result of, the building up process, thus removing obstacles to Church belonging. My conviction is that this will be a watershed moment in the C/church s witness, and thus its growth and the expansion of the kingdom of God.
I hope, trust and pray that this research may in some way contribute toward this end.
Mini Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2016.