I've never been a whiz at math, so when I read through Mark Driscoll's refreshing book, "Confessions of a Reformission Rev" I was a bit hesitant when he started breaking down the state of the Church using + and - symbols. In the book, Driscoll explains how there are churches that emphasize certain central elements that if isolated, will deter the Church from its mission. Using + and - symbols to get his point across made the model he proposes easy to remember and simple enough to communicate to someone mathematically challenged (me).
2. Culture + Church - Gospel = Liberalism. Some churches are so concerned with being hip, they forget the message of the Gospel. In their attempt to stay "relevant" they forget that their primary purpose is to be salt and light in a lost world.
3. Church + Gospel - Culture = Fundamentalism. "Don't smoke, drink, or chew or date girls that do" might be this groups motto. This church is so into their traditions and buildings that they rarely lift their eyes to the outside world. A key indicator of this type of church is watching how they do ministry. A maintenance style of ministry is popular in these churches as they are more concerned about maintaining what they have -rather than reaching out to the next generation with the Gospel.
4. Gospel + Culture + Church = Reformission. Why the weird word? This style combines the best aspects of Christianity. Being driven by the Great Commandments and the Great Commission, this church has a tension of respecting the past AND seeking ways to bring in the next generation.
As you can see, balance is important in life and in the ministry. Therefore, let us all work together to seek ways in which we can be the church that Builds Up and Reaches Out in Christ's Name.