American church: Not dead yet

“Most of our churches are built around feeding consumers.” Mike Breen

My English friend Mike Breen just wrote an article called “An Obituary for the American Church” in which he outlines 3 problems he believes could kill it: a culture of Celebrity, Consumerism and Competition.

Not dead yet church

Well said. I agree with Mike and recommend reading his article. But I think the “obituary” word is a little too alarming for me.

There is hope for the American church. Its not dead yet. Not by a long shot.

Mike Breen is right that the American church needs to reject its Celebrity, Consumeristic Competitive nature that stem from its temptations of Appetite, Affirmation and Ambition [Mike alliterates like a good Baptist] but there is a huge stock of examples and stories from America’s past that will help it move into more holistic, effective ministry in the future. This is happening already and its good to see.

I met Mike Breen at St Thomas Crookes,  Sheffield in 2000. An amazing church with an amazing history. Mike has just blogged some of that story and why he chose movement over mega-church. I had the privilege of preaching there a few years later.


Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)


  • Thanks for the thoughts! I actually agree with the obituary reference being a bit too strong, but was thinking more along the lines of if something killed the Western church, what would it be? Every day I see new life and the Kingdom pushing out through the work of the church. She is far from dead and personally, could not be more moved and inspired by what I see emerging.

  • I knew you were stirring the pot, Mike. Thanks for your insightful post. I think it often takes an outsider to see things in a new light and communicate it in a different way. Which you have done.

  • I’d love to hear what you think of the American church’s past can bring her out of the mess we have made of her?

  • When you serve a church of 65 people, there is no celebrity, not much to consume, but a tremendous dependence on the one who creates and calls you. The church I serve in the past year has selfless serve the homeless in our community, generously give to multiple food pantries, works lovingly with children. We pray for the churches around us and weseek the kingdom. The American church is far from perfect but it is also far from dead. Perhaps we have looked to the mega church for too long and ignored the smaller churches. Kingdom work occurs in unexpected venues.

  • movement over megachurch, I really like that concept
    I hope obituary is too strong. Consumerism is what concerns me the most but thinking about it the other two C’s are just as threatening.

  • As an American Christian I have to say these are some serious problems in most areas, BUT really it is only those areas that seem to get all the press. Lots of good stuff happening on the grass roots level that is flippin awesome.

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