What is the best way to understand the nature of the church? Many models have been proposed, from institutional hierarchy to modern business structures, but the primary biblical image is that of the body of Christ. Decoding the Church takes this organic metaphor and goes deep into its essence -- into its DNA -- to find the key to the structure and mission of the church.
Howard Snyder and Daniel Runyon suggest that the classical understanding of the church as defined by the Nicene Creed -- one, holy, catholic, apostolic church -- comprises only one strand, or half, of the church's DNA. They propose a more complex, living model for structuring the church and understanding its mission, and then explore how a biblically structured church can transform the world. Decoding the Church evaluates models based in hierarchy, psychology, and ecology, and stresses the biblical and contemporary reality of globalization.
Intertwined with this biblical, theological, and historical study of the structure of the church is the story of "Heartland Church, " a fictional yet typical body of believers who experience the principles discussed in each chapter. Practical suggestions and discussion questions enable readers, both lay and professional, to apply the book's insights to their own situations.