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Posts Tagged ‘Change in the Church’

Here is a thought-provoking article from pastor Carey Nieuwhof: 6 Disruptive Church Trends that Will Rule 2017.

Click on the link to read the whole article.  There you will find other links that discuss these trends in more detail.  In brief, his six points are:

1. Consumer Christianity will die faster than ever

“Christian maturity isnt marked by how much we know or what we can get, it’s marked by how much we love and how much we give in light of how deeply we’ve been loved and how much we’ve been given.”

2. Cool Church will Morph

“Having great preaching, a decent band and an awesome facility or environment is not a bad thing. It beats having terrible preaching, pathetic music, and a dingy facility.

But unchurched people are increasingly interested in the mission more than the method. They want to meet Jesus.

They have enough cool in their lives. They don’t have enough Jesus.”

3. Preachers Who Can’t Speak to the Unchurched Will Preach to a Shrinking Crowd

“If you’ve never thought through what it’s like to be in church for the first time, with little to no church background, with a different moral code operating in your life, hearing truths that are thousands of years old, and trying to figure out your life through a very different lens, well, it will be exceptionally difficult for you to connect with unchurched people.”

4. Preaching will fuse both the head and the heart

“Information alone doesn’t bring about transformation. Preaching to the head can lead to a changed mind, but not a changed life….Preaching only to the heart creates emotional followers, whose faith rises and falls with their feelings.”

5. Anonymity will continue to give way to community

“Figuring out how to connect people faster, at their own pace and in their own sequence, will become the hallmark of churches where many gather.”

6. Engagement will become the new attendance

“One of the changes you’ll see happening in 2017 is leaders who measure engagement as much or more than attendance.”

How many people serve, how many give, how many invite their unchurched friends and how many jump into community beyond Sunday will become the new measure of effectiveness in growing churches even more than attendance.”

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There are times when a congregation needs to make a major move.  This year my home congregation, the Kirk O’Cliff Presbyterian Church, is celebrating the centennial of a major move.  When the church was founded in 1876, the Kirk’s building was literally perched on a cliff in Spotsylvania County, Virginia—hence the name.  By the dawn of the twentieth century, however, the church members had migrated away from the community in the neighborhood of the building.  It would still be years before cars made travel easier.  And since the people of the Kirk still depended on horses and buggies and their own feet to get to church, they had a problem. 

What did they do?  The congregation decided to move the building closer to where they actually lived.  In 1911 new land was given, and they went to work.  They dismantled the church building piece by piece, loaded it onto horse-drawn wagons, moved it to its present location and reassembled it.  With the exception of some bricks and a few boards, every piece survived intact.  The congregation more than survived.  Today the church is still called Kirk O’Cliff even though the cliff is ten miles away and covered by the waters of Lake Anna.  As I think about the passion, the commitment, and the sheer sweat that dismantling, moving, and rebuilding required, I marvel.

When it comes to the church and our congregations in 2011, I wonder what God is planning to “dismantle,” “move,” and “assemble” in a new way now.  People who need the embrace of Jesus have moved out of range of the church, so some kind of move is necessary.  It is going to require prayerful passion, prayerful commitment and prayerful sweat.  The parable of the bridesmaids in Matthew 25 reminds us to keep oil in our lamps in order to be ready when the Lord comes and calls.  Maybe we had better keep our wagon wheels greased and ready to roll, too.

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