The church of China has exploded. Africa will soon be the largest Christian nation in the world. South America is experiencing a church growth revolution as never seen before. But the American Evangelical church is getting smaller. Though it is exciting to hear what is happening with the Christian faith throughout the world, the American church is not following the Southern and Asian church leaders.
While some American evangelical churches are getting larger, many are getting smaller or have at least stopped growing. Church growth in America is similar to the balloon effect. If you squeeze a balloon on one end and force all of the air to the other, did the whole balloon get bigger? Of course not, and neither does the overall church of America grow simply because some other areas are growing. Some churches are getting bigger in America, but others are getting smaller.
The problem has been that rather than focusing on impacting the culture, the church has focused on numerical growth. In America, bigger is better. What the church needs is a simple and radical message that calls people to spiritual health. When the church concentrates on being a place of refuge where people are welcomed, transformed and sent into the world to live out the principles of the Kingdom of God, it will be
healthy. A healthy church will impact the world and will grow numerically as well.
One way for the American Evangelical Church to insure healthiness is by implementing the Theology of Refuge. The Theology of Refuge is based on a church that was started by a political refugee, in a cave on the side of a mountain in Israel. This cavechurch is a picture of what the American Evangelical Church needs to look like. It will be shown that by applying the three basic elements of Refuge Theology, the American
church can become healthy and make an impact on the culture surrounding it.
Crossroads Community Church in Nampa, Idaho is a church that is currently adhering to the Theology of Refuge. This church will be used as a model for explaining how Refuge Theology effects outreach, community life, personal spiritual growth and missional commitment. The three elements of Refuge Theology are designed to be a way to accomplish church health and are reproducible within the American Evangelical Churches however; this study is limited to one local church. It would strengthen the concepts of Refuge Theology to apply them in churches with varied cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic diversity and more urban settings.