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Thom Rainer: This Is What Is Necessary for Churches To Survive

Thom Rainer
Author photo taken by Allen Clark Photography, Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved.

Thom Rainer is the founder and CEO of Church Answers, as well as a popular speaker, professor, dean, and author. With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, including pastoring four churches and serving as interim pastor to 10 churches, he has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of the local church and its leaders. Thom’s latest book is, “I Am a Christian: Discovering What It Means to Follow Jesus Together with Fellow Believers.”

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Key Questions for Thom Rainer

-How is our cultural moment impacting what you’re seeing in the church?

-What are some lessons church leaders have learned to make sure that their gatherings are meaningful, not transactional?

-What are some of the symptoms and the dangers of “loner Christianity”?

-What is your advice for pastors who are receiving people returning to church after having been deeply hurt by the church? 

Key Quotes From Thom Rainer

“There are two major moments—they’re not definitive moments, but they are moments that we need to look at. One is just the quarantine itself…The second thing is this really ambiguous phrase called ‘cultural Christianity.’”

“What I mean by ‘cultural Christianity’ is people who attend church for the cultural benefit. It could be a business person who wants to get more business. It could be a politician who wants more votes.”

“Cultural Christianity was waning before the pandemic. It is almost gone today. And that is true whether you’re looking at Spokane or Nashville.”

“Churches as a whole have abandoned evangelism. Now, that’s a broad, indicting statement, but it is a reality.”

“Bringing evangelism back into the regular rhythms of the local church is…critical not only to be obedient to the Great Commission, but for the survival of churches.”

“The local church is God’s primary Plan A for his mission, and we don’t see a Plan B.”

“We know biblically that those, even those who feel alienated, even those who are wondering if their faith has any foundation to it, we know biblically that they are ready to connect [with a church]…The problem is not the people to be reached. The problem is the people who are not reaching them.”

“‘The church is not a building; it’s the people.’—There’s an implication behind that [phrase]. It is biblically correct. The church is not a building. It’s the people. But there’s an implication and usually there’s a statement behind the statement…[that] it doesn’t matter if we’re in community because we are still the church.”