GOT THIS FROM OUR FORMER DENOMINATIONAL PRESIDENT JERRY KIESCHNICK.  WHAT DO YOU THINK?  DO YOU SEE THIS HAPPENING?  OR IS IT SOMETHING ELSE?

Recently I read a report on the Future of the Church Summit, sponsored by Group Publishing in Loveland, Colorado. Church leaders, denominational executives and religion researchers met October 22-24 “to examine the church’s health and prognosis.” After evaluating current trends, Summit members made a number of predictions for the American church in the next ten years:

1.    Emphasis on relationships. Whereas the church and congregational worship today are largely spectator-oriented, the new coming trend will prioritize spiritual growth through personal relationships.
2.    Return to Jesus. The current church is preoccupied with the “ABCs”—attendance, buildings and cash. A Summit pastor said, “We need to deal with the idols of the church.” The coming church will highly focus its mission, goals, measurements and message on Jesus.
3.    Community focus. The church of tomorrow will be much more engaged in addressing the needs in the community. The church will be known more for its members’ relational acts of compassion outside of church walls, taking ministry out rather than waiting for outsiders to come in and sit.
4.    Conversationally oriented. The current church relies primarily on one-way messaging—from the preacher/teacher at the microphone. The new church will rely more on person-to-person conversation, sharing messages of God’s love with one another. Churches will begin to trade pews for conversation tables.
5.    Rise of the laity. Shrinking resources will trigger fewer paid ministry positions—and more reliance on unpaid ministry work. The concept of “the priesthood of all believers” will re-emerge.

You and I might agree or disagree with some or all of these prognostications. The future will tell how accurate the predictions might prove.

From my humble perspective, this report observes what I’ve been sensing for years—the Christian church in these postmodern years of the 21st century is becoming increasingly more similar in nature to the church of the 1st century A.D.

For further information, read The Acts of the Apostles. And when you finish, read it again!