One of them is written by Dr. Israel Galindo, a professor at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, called The Hidden Lives of Congregations. The book is proving to be a must-read for congregational leaders and laity to understand the underlying dynamics that are in play in everyday church life.
So, on that note, chew on this:
The institutional tendency of organizations, however, is to focus primarily on self-preservation and on the comfort and benefit of their own members. And while a congregation is an institutionalized expression of the Church, it is wrong, and against its nature, when self-preservation and comfort become the primary reasons for its existence. When that happens, says pastor and auther C. John Miller, the local congregation ceases to be the incarnate Body of Christ or a fellowship of disciples, and has become more like a retreat center where anxious members come to draw resources to help them cope with their own lives. (Galindo, 41)
I heard a sermon about six weeks ago explaining that an alternate sign for the front of the church should read "assisted living home". That's great and a necessary component, but cannot be the sole reason of why we, as the Church, are here.