Trends

Man_with_binocularsEvery 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Churches are being planted cross-culturally, both within different nationalities such as Afghan, Cuban etc and across cultural boundaries such as with the homeless.
  4. 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.
  5. More women are engaged in church planting.  We heard of one example of a group being formed for women who are planting churches.
  6. 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!

 

2 thoughts on “Trends”

  1. From our own context overseas I can affirm #1-5 as being trends here as well. I could write extensively on each of these points, but suffice it to say, YES, we too sense these same things happening here.
    The one trend that does not seem to apply in our own context here in Ecuador is #6. Books simply do not play much of a role in influencing or shaping thought. There are many reasons for this but two will suffice: 1) our people simply do not read much, 2) very few books ever get translated into other languages, like Spanish. Especially the titles you mention above or have in your side bar. As a result, what we are seeing is that there are other factors that continue to shape people’s thinking far more than books: 1) Christian radio/television with its heavy diet of popular Christian speakers (much of which is highly questionable), and 2) US based ministries which are coming down in droves, each with their particular niche, bringing with them their programs, personnel, materials, and money to make it all happen.
    One of the biggest obstacles Satan is using to keep us from fulfilling the Great Commission is a constant distraction from all these well-meaning ministries that keep everyone hopping from one emphasis to the next.
    I would love to have many of these great books in Spanish. We have some keen minds, especially in some of the young leaders, who could absorb this material and contextualize it into meaningful local applications.
    Please help us by encouraging all these great writers (including yourself!) to not just look to the English speaking world, but to invest some of the earnings generated from sales to get these great books translated into Spanish.
    He who does this and finds the right distribution for their materials, will soon find an untapped gold mine of willing and eager people just waiting for someone to point the way.

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  2. Guy,
    Thank you for your comments. I follow your own blog with great interest and am excited by what the Lord is doing there in Ecuador.
    You mentioned in your comments the need for materials in Spanish. I don’t know if you are aware, but the Getting Started manual and course are available in Spanish. They were translated and re-recorded by Saddleback Church. You can find out how to get them via House2House. It would be wonderful if they could be of help to you.
    Felicity

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