Every couple of weeks, I get on the phone with a few good friends for an hour or so of conversation. We come from all across the nation from the west coast to the east coast, from the very north of the country to here in Texas. We try to discuss things of relevance each time. This past week we looked at different trends that we see occurring across the nation that are of relevance within the Kingdom and/or that affect simple churches.
We came up with 10 or so trends that between us we can see occurring. I will mention a few during this blog and post the remainder in a few days. What I am interested to know is if any of you are noticing the same things. That would confirm what we are sensing. I also find that hearing about these things raises my faith level and gives me an expectation that we will see more.
Here are the first six–in no particular order of priority:
- There is an increase in the number of healings. We are hearing stories of regular "no-name" people praying, and remarkable healings occurring. These stories include healing from things like cancer, major abdominal problems etc. Those praying are not those with a healing ministry, but just a group of ordinary Christians praying for someone with a physical or emotional problem. Sometimes they are occurring out in the marketplace.
- There is an increased hunger to hear about simple church. Many people are asking questions, searching for answers. Many leaders within various denominations have become open to these concepts.
- Churches are being planted cross-culturally, both within different nationalities such as Afghan, Cuban etc and across cultural boundaries such as with the homeless.
- Simple churches are becoming more missional. We are hearing stories of simple churches that started with people who left legacy churches now turning outwards and reaching out into their communities. It's as though some have needed a period of time so they can experience some personal healing, but now that has been accomplished, they have become very Kingdom minded and outreach focused.
- More women are engaged in church planting. We heard of one example of a group being formed for women who are planting churches.
- There are some great books out there that are becoming catalysts for conversation. This includes books such as Frank Viola's Pagan Christianity (incidentally there is a hilarious spoof commercial for that book at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hslswIal9u4) and The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch.
Don't forget, we would love to hear from you if you are experiencing any of the same sort of trends. Are there books that you feel fit in that same category? Do you know of examples of healings, simple churches being planted cross-culturally and so on. Encourage us all!