12 Rules for Next Generation Churches

12 Rules for the next generation church


Saul Alinsky (30/1/09 – 12/6/72) is vilified by conservatives in the U.S. as a far left godfather for progressive causes using guerrilla-style techniques for achieving results.  He is best known for his book Rules for Radicals (1971) and his 13 rules for those radicals.  I have a copy on my bookshelf.  Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton are believed to have had a high regard for Alinsky.


I have taken a leaf out of his book and compiled my own (12) rules for Christians engaged in being part of the next generation church strategy outlined in my book NGC: Next Generation Church - A Church Determined to Save Souls and Restore the Civilisation it Nurtured (2018). Anyone familiar with the NGC model will quickly recognise that these rules reflect the nature of the model itself just as Alinsky’s rules are closely aligned to the left wing activism with which we have become all too familiar.  Here we go:   


1.       Take it as axiomatic that the Bible is from God and never compromise on its plain, historical and orthodox meaning.

2.       Use a counter-cultural and transformational public platform to confront society with the truth, the gospel and apologetic proofs in defence of the faith.

3.       Ensure the platform is wedded to the Christian world view.

4.       Seek at every level to challenge the anti-Christian assumptions of the secular west.

5.       Consistently align with God against the things he hates.

6.       Demonstrate obedience to God’s moral, spiritual and practical commands.

7.       Bed all evangelistic activity in an accurate understanding of the times in which we live.

8.       Always align all outreach activity to the achievement of both the Great Commission and the Great Command.

9.       Endure opposition and be prepared for persecution.

10.   Use all the modern means of communication to advance the Christian cause.

11.   Orientate church life to support these rules.

12.   Ensure leadership, teaching and training thoroughly prepares every Christian with the right gifts and calling to prosecute the next generation church strategy.

I’ve also included Alinsky’s 13 Rules for Radicals in case you are interested.  Given that Christians engaged in the NGC strategy might be described as radicals (the 12 reforms are certainly radical) it is possible to argue that many of these rules are just as useful for Christians as they do not respect ideological barriers.  Some would be either inappropriate or unnecessary for Christians to use as part of the NGC strategy..

1. Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have. Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.

2. Never go outside the expertise of your people. It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.

3. Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.

4. Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.

5. Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

6. A good tactic is one your people enjoy. They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.

7. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Don’t become old news.

8. Keep the pressure on. Never let up. Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.

9. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.“ Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.

10.“The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.” It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.

11.If you push a negative (in the eyes of the opposition – MS) hard enough, it will push through and become a positive. Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.

12. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem.

13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.