Wednesday, May 14, 2008

So you want a revolution?

It’s extremely hard to try and communicate to people what the Church of the Future will look like, since in most part it is still in the future. Usually what you come up with in conversation about new models are nothing more than a former model with candles and sofas.

If you are serious about revolution, you need to get serious about getting back to a fundamental essence of what church should be about. We are trapped by our familiarity and it will take more than a conference on how create cool postmodern churches to break us free.

Many of us are in agreement that the Church is not about a building. We got over that one about 25 or so years ago as the new wave of congregations started meeting in schools and even a few gigs way out on the edge met in clubs or bars. So lets keep pushing the envelope.

As you think about the kind of Future Church you want to be, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can it exist without a website?
  2. Can people know who we are without a logo?
  3. Can it grow without a billboard or some kind of signage?
  4. Can people find us without a phone number?
  5. Can we be effective without printed material?

Future Pastor, I’ll expound on these later, but first I’d like to know what you think.


Maria said...

I think your questions still reflect the attractional model of church -- how will people find us? seems to be the motivating question. I suspect (though I have no experience as such) that the church of the future will be a lot more about going out and finding the people God has for us to relate to and to serve. We can probably do without all those props you mention, though in some instances they might be helpful.

Paul said...

It sounds like you're raising the attractional vs missional debate, which is a hot topic among Christians these days. The attractional model is where a church says "come and see" what God is all about, whereas the missional model says "go and be" like Jesus to its members.

If you look at the way Jesus did ministry, He did and encouraged both. He preached on the hillsides and in the synagog where people had to come and see him, but he also walked through towns and stopped to minister to people.

Missional churches seem to be growing in popularity in America and I think it's largely because most churches for the last 2000 years have been primarily attractional. Unfortunately, though I think some missional advocates are overreacting. They are so put off by attractional-only churches that they are shunning attractional ministries entirely and becoming missional-only, which IMO is just as un-Christ-like.