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The New Face of the Church? p2

June 5, 2009

Yesterday I talked about how I have often wondered what the church will look like in 5 to 10 years. I gave you a number of random questions that are floating through my mind when I think about the topic. You can read them here.

Today I thought I would answer some of those questions, not all of them but a few. The answers are just opinions and thoughts, not facts so try not to get all upset over it ok?

Will the multi- generational churches still exist? Yes, (I say this hesitantly) if the multi- generational church does not adapt to the current changes in culture then she will begin to fade in the future. Seeing what needs to change and adapting will give the church continued success with next generations. Change methods, not the message.

Will suits and wearing dress clothes ever disappear? Let’s hope so! Churches that continue to wear your “Sunday’s best” will have less and less people wandering through their doors. Why? Because formal is fading fast in our culture today. Look at fashion, even the formal wear is becoming more and more comfortable. People want to look like themselves when they come to church, they don’t want to worry about if they offended grandma sitting next to them.

What will the music sound like in the future? I am not a huge fan of hip- hop or dance music, but if the church does not bring some of it into the church then it is going to be missing a generation that it could other wise reach. Only one thing need remain in our music… and that is the truth of the gospel.

Do small groups still have a place 5 to 10 years from now? Yes they will, but I imagine that if they are going to be successful the church must be open to doing small groups on-line. I have yet to see this done yet, but it needs to happen. I don’t have statistics but just ask yourself how much time you spend on-line? People need to be discipled where they are. Start a small group on-line.
Who is going to be leading in the next 5 to 10 years? Will it be those who are in their 40’s who are leading now? Or will it be those who are in their mid 20’s who are up and coming? This I am not sure about. I would think that it will be the guys who are currently in their 40’s now and would be in their 50’s 10 years from now. But with that being said, I think a lot of times the older we get the more comfortable we are stuck doing the same things the same way. The key is for these leaders to know what those who are younger than them are thinking, praying and wanting for their lives. If a leader knows what he is leading then he will be able to lead for years and years to come. If he doesn’t? Well then I guess some of these younger guys will step up and lead.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2009 4:13 am

    Hey Ben, sorry to be blunt but I really feel strongly against your answer to the small groups question. Honestly, I believe that online small groups would further disaggregate of the Body of Christ. How long can the American church assimilate American culture before it has diverged from a fellowship and Body to an online social group?

  2. June 8, 2009 4:56 am

    Okay, I already regret being so blunt lol. I struggle a lot with how much the church should depend on culture and technology. My frustration got the best of me in the previous comment… SORRY!

    To explain myself a little better, as long as the church uses technology responsibly and carefully, as a tool and never a hindrance then I think technology is great. But honestly… I just don’t trust that effective fellowship could happen online. I remember the small group I went to at APC had a no cell phone rule for no distractions. Right now I have six tabs open on my browser lol. I just don’t know if the internet can or should be promoted to replace people actually being together.

  3. June 8, 2009 1:24 pm

    I was addicted to the internet for about 15 years. There I looked for what I could not fine face to face in the real world. I looked for love, and I looked for answers but I did not find them. I have seen all that is dark, and filthy on the internet, and I’ve lived to tell the tale. 🙂

    Joyfully I found everything that I had looked for on the ‘net at APC – face to face.

    I believe the internet is a microcosm – it’s the ‘real world’ condensed, everything that exists in the ‘real’ exists on the internet but in a greatly concentrated form. It has the ability to further isolate already lonely people, it gives them a false sense of security and causes them to become further separated from ‘real’ society.

    That said I am contacting Andy about starting an online small group over the summer, perhaps to start in the fall. *grin*

    It would, however, involve meeting face to face perhaps once a month.

    I do not advocate simply online ministry – it must have a face to face aspect. The internet allows you anonymity, and with that obscurity comes the great temptation to be what you are not. You can say and be anything online without it touching your real heart and soul. And again, it causes further isolation. To me the internet offers a great opportunity to meet lost folks, then connect with them face to face, and show them the love of Jesus in our eyes.

    So ya, I’m trying Ben! Even if I’m one of those Grandma’s that you’re worried about offending with your oh so relevant and cool clothing! *wink* Heh.

  4. Benjamin Davis permalink*
    June 9, 2009 3:31 am

    Grace and Cindy! I love you both and your opinions. Grace i understand where you are coming from and Cindy I know there a lot of people who struggle with the same thing you did back then.

    I 100% agree that on-line ministry should not ever take the place of meeting face to face. My thought is this about having small groups on-line… Some day people will not ever want to come out of their houses, they will be able to do everything on-line. There will be no need for them to come into the church. Pay attention now because here it comes… I believe that we (as the church) should do everything we can to reach people. So that is why I am pro having a small group on-line. It is not the churches job to “train” people how to act. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. We are called to assemble together and to not forsake that act. But we need to take a step in reaching those who are forsaking that act of assembling together. Not to brain wash them and get them to not to commit sins. I think we hold small groups on-line to reach out, and one day they will come across the scripture that tells them to meet with other Christians. Check out Hebrews 10:25

    Thanks guys for reading… it really means a lot!

  5. Tiffany permalink
    June 15, 2009 1:58 pm

    Ben,

    Perhaps I am a bit late to join this conversation, but I was just perusing your blog and this post provoked a few thoughts…

    1) I like your thoughts about the future of the multi-generational church. I personally think that the more we create churches that are specialized to only one group of people and alienates others (churches that are only filled with young adults or even all senior adults), the farther we stray from not only the example set up for the church in scripture, but also a fully complete and functioning body. We need in all churches an older generation that can be examples and sources of direction to a younger generation. Likewise, in all churches there should be a healthy community of young adults and teenagers. Am I making sense? My main point- In an effort to try and reach out to only one specific group well in a church, we can neglect others which will be a cause for the breakdown of the multi-generational church.

    2) As far as the online thing…while I think that you are right Ben in saying that there are certain people who won’t be leaving their homes and that we need to reach them, I don’t think that that means that we should try and provide them with some sort of artificial supplement for a genuine relationship and help them to stay in isolation. The internet can and will be even more so in the future a great tool for getting the word out about churches and an effective evangelism tool, but it should never be used to try and replicate what Christ has called us to be to one another, personal, intimate, and genuine.

  6. Benjamin Davis permalink*
    June 18, 2009 10:48 pm

    Tiffany,

    Thanks for reading. Your thoughts on the multi generational church are solid.

    As far as the internet thing goes… I am not suggesting that on line small groups take the place of face to face encounters with other people. But used as a tool that IS NOT “ARTIFICIAL” but one that reaches people who otherwise would not be reached. It WILL be needed trust me. It does not take the place of personal encounter but is a means to create it. Again thanks for reading.

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