I was hanging out with the Terrestrial Transient a few days ago enjoying a Santa Fe 25th Anniversary Imperial Porter, and amid the conversation came a comment that resonated with me as to why I don’t like to speak in definitive statement regarding the Church of the Future.
“It seems like, when we rush to give something a name, it immediately becomes limited.”
“You just gave me my next blog thought” I replied.
I get asked regularly by people who read this blog about my definition of The Church of the Future, and I hesitate to give what they are looking for. Definitions are for experts and consultants. They help to sell books and seminars because they are easier to write down in a syllabus.
I prefer to define with stories.
After my Saturday night kitchen shift, I was unwinding at the bar and taking pleasure in the fading energy from a full night of service. A couple came in and saw someone they recognized. The initial squeal, followed by the hugs, led to a conversation I could not help but overhear.
It didn’t take long for me to catch the nature of what they were engaged. While I could not recreate it verbatim, the essence of what was said made me smile, as it affirmed my belief that the scattered seeds of The Church of the Future are germinating. Words like “our vision,” “create community,” and “what are we waiting for?” peppered their brief, lively discussion.
What I wanted to do, but my discretion prohibited, was to turn around and say a resounding, “Yes!” to these young future pastors, because most of us need little more than a simple “yes” to validate our idea and give us permission to take the first step. As it is, I fear the Church As We Know It will feel the need to identify it with a name, thereby limiting its potential in the process.
Current Pastor, if you see any of these seeds sprouting in your field, I would recommend you sit back and watch them grow before applying current methods of cultivation. Avoid the temptation to prematurely name, or cage the growing young organism. Let it be and watch for the fruit, for it is the fruit will determine what it is to be called.