The Importance Of The Church In American Culture

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The Church in American culture is in a state of rapid decline. This is true for mainline denominations as well as evangelicals. Lutherans are no exception. Membership is declining and the decline in worship attendance is a steeper descent. The loss is magnified when compared to the population growth within the United States. Financial support for congregations and their ministries is also declining proportionately.

“One of the fastest growing subcultures in the United States is comprised of those with a militant antagonism against Christians who take the Bible seriously.” Attempts at institutional preservation by aligning with the culture has undermined the authority of Scripture and produced a Jesus of human imagination as opposed to
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While many have tried to live in denial of these dynamic changes as a feeble way of preserving their power and control over their institutions. Institutional preservation is a mission that is completely irrelevant to youth and non-believers alike. They long for something far deeper and far more engaging. They are searching for something that gives both meaning and purpose for living in the context of relational community beyond what the world seems capable of providing.

While we have busied members with programs, meeting “felt needs,” making worship humorous and entertaining, replaced bible study with information on social concerns, engaged in acceptance and tolerance in place of evangelism, the institutional church has grown weaker. Conflict, a lack of commitment, depression, poor stewardship and the lack of focus on mission are all symptoms of the current reality.

Those who have not lived in denial realize that the answer lies at the heart of the mission statement Jesus gave to His Church. “Go and make disciples of all nations…” The core of the Church’s mission has been all but neglected for nearly a century. For this reason the vision of the North American Lutheran Church is
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Expanded Vision Statement

The North American Lutheran Church understands and acts on discipleship as the core conviction upon which all of its values are based.

Every pastor and congregational leader share a deep and abiding commitment to follow Jesus as a disciple and to lead others to do the same.

There is clarity and consistency in our definition and understanding of discipleship according to the scriptures and Jesus interaction with His first followers.

Discipleship is a process, empowered by the Holy Spirit, in which a person comes to a life- saving relationship with Jesus, accepts and embraces the content of the One Holy and Apostolic Faith; lives a transformed life through faith-filled obedience to all that Jesus commands, and is willing to become a spiritually mature leader in the Church.

The ministry in each congregation is focused on making disciples by challenging each individual to grow in their faith through action and reflection focused on the process Jesus used in shaping the first

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