This project addresses the theological means by which the American church can reverse its steadily increasing irrelevance as reflected in downward national, state, and local attendance trends. Starbucks has become a national and international culture leader. The American church has lost ground by forgetting what Starbucks understands. Mainly, a strongly developed and thoughtfully implemented holistic theology and theology of place is instrumental in making a church part of a community’s life.
A strong holistic theology opens many possibilities for meeting felt needs in a community because it helps people understand that all service opportunities, all caring for others, is spiritual. Serving the felt needs of the community affords church members the opportunity to develop trusting relationships. A church trusted is not only seen as a member of the community, but has also become relevant in the life of the community. A serving, trusted church has reclaimed its missional role established by Christ.
A theology of place is also critical in re-establishing the church’s relevancy. A church’s perspective on who uses the facilities, how a site plan is developed, what environmental conservation measures are taken, and how to build or expand facilities will be significantly affected by the development and understanding of a theology of place.
A theology of place encourages the incorporation of art, imagery, and symbolism in the worship site. It causes the church to embrace its responsibility to steward natural resources, to be community oriented regarding how its facilities are used, and to consider the impact on the community of any new buildings.
The implementation of both theologies requires a strong contextual intelligence. A case study of the implementation was conducted at Central Community Church.