The Church is experiencing changes in the way people attend. People are looking at the Church in a different way than when we have in the past. So as members of the Church who would like to see our churches full again, we need to look at the patterns and decide how we need to react to these changes or if we want to react to the changes. I read an article about predictions about the Future Church, and found it fascinating. I thought it may be something that some of you would like to read about. I will not give you the whole article, I will give you the “Reader’s Digest” version. If you are interested, I would be more than happy to give you a copy of the article. This article is quite long and I will give you a bit this month and more as months go on.
- The potential to gain is still greater than the potential to lose.
Every time there is a change in history, there’s potential to gain and potential to lose. We need to remember that the Church was Jesus’ idea, not ours. No matter what I believe it will survive our missteps and whatever cultural trends happen. We may not always get things right, but Christ has a history of pulling together Christians in every generation to share His love for a broken world. As a result, I say the reports of the church’s death are greatly exaggerated!
- Churches that love their model more than the mission will die.
That being said, many individual congregations and some entire denominations won’t make it. The difference will be between those who cling to the mission and those who cling to the model. An example, when the car was invented, it quickly took over from the horse and buggy. Horse and buggy manufacturers wee relegated to boutique status and many went under, but human transportation actually exploded. Suddenly average people could travel at a level they never could before. The mission is travel. The model is a buggy, or car, or motorcycle, or jet. Look at the changes in the publishing, music and even photography industry in the last few years. See a trend? The mission is reading. It’s music. It’s photography. The model always shifts….moving from things like 8 tracks, cassettes and CDs to MP3s and now streaming audio and video. Companies that show innovation around the mission (Apple, Samsung) will always beat companies that remain devoted to the method (Kodak). Churches need to stay focused on the mission (leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus) and be exceptionally innovative in our model.
There are two “predictions” from the article. There are more and I will share more with you, however in the interest of space in the newsletter I will be spreading them out. Please read them and think about the changes the Church (our church) is experiencing. What can we do? What do we want to do? I like the idea of staying focused, remembering that Jesus started the Church and we can rely on Him to continue the Church. Hebrews 13:5b God has said “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.