The church landscape in this country is changing.
Ecclesiology lies along a continuum. At one end churches are traditional, structured and liturgical; at the other end they are simple, organic, and missional. Most lie somewhere in between. But a shift is occurring. Many churches are taking steps towards the organic, missional end of the spectrum. The Lord may not lead them to move completely to that end of the continuum, but the changes they are making appear more organic than traditional.
What is most important is that wherever we are along the continuum, our focus in on the King and his Kingdom.
What are the reasons for the shift?
- As the nation slides towards a post-Christian status, church is no longer at the center of social life. People no longer think about going to church on a Sunday. Across the board, denominations, missions groups and churches recognize that an attractional form of church is no longer effective for the future. Many are exploring the concept of missional communities or simple/organic churches.
- The current economic crisis is affecting many churches. Just in the last month or so, we have been working with a church locally that can no longer afford to keep their building. They are therefore looking at a more organic network of smaller churches.
- A subtle, but increasing hostility towards Christianity is affecting some churches. For example, in New York, recent legislation means that more than 60 churches are no longer allowed to use schools or similar buildings to meet in.
- As churches follow the Holy Spirit, some of them are hearing the Lord leading them this way.
The definition of insanity is to keep doing what we've always done and assume we'll get different results. If the church continues the way she has been for the last several decades, we'll find ourselves in a post-Christian society.
Is God using this shift along the continuum to prepare us for what lies ahead?