I've come to realize lately that in fact what's wrong with the church is that it doesn't have a program.
I went through the whole "deconstructing the 12 Steps" thing awhile back - I'm still not finished with it - but I'm beginning to see that it's a case of "not seeing the forest for the trees." It isn't a case of what the church does that's like the 12 Steps; it's a case of what the 12 Steps do that the church doesn't.
And that's this: they give people a discipline to work through in an orderly fashion. The church doesn't do this at all; it doesn't say to its newcomers: "Listen, we found this group of principles that works really well in helping people 'lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in their fellows.'" (That's another quote from A.A.)
No, the Church, lamely, doesn't do anything, really. It hires a weekly speaker and a musician, and asks people to fork over some money. Not really a formula for success, I'd say; no wonder it's losing members right and left and going extinct.
Well, it's time to develop a program, I'd say. And I think I should do it in reverse: see how the 12 Steps can best be adapted to what the church is doing. We know they work (although I'm a little worried the whole concept might be debased at this point, after 40 years of "self-help" industry promotions).
So that's what I'm going to do. I think the "deconstructing" series might help - got to finish that - but I was really looking at the whole thing backwards....