Friday, May 31, 2013

THE CHURCH OF THE FUTURE

BE PREPARED!

The skilled Swiss watchmakers were left dumbfounded when they saw their long admired watches left on the shelves as the new automatic (no-wind) watches swept into popular vogue. Their industry suffered major damage because they didn't see beyond their centuries long, cast iron tradition. This should be a warning to today's church. And for this reason I am reproducing Roger Thoman's insightful article on "Church of the Future". I believe God wants us to be prepared for the changes in Church life that Roger describes. Check these changes out for yourself!
 
 
It’s important that the church continue to dream and have visions
of what we—the Bride—can become. I don’t claim prophetic
insight here, just a longing to see the church fulfill her destiny. 
Note that these thoughts relate mostly to the church in the “West”
where it has been long established but vitally in need of renewal.

What the Church of the Future Looks Like:
The church of the future continues to throw off its religious garb
that has robbed it of its impact and lulled it into sleepiness. 
Intimacy with Jesus becomes a reality, not just a cliché, and Jesus
begins to shape His own church in His own image: irreligious,
daring, caring, compassionate, out-of-the-box, person-
impacting, regional-impacting, adventurous, incarnational
among the poor, without bounds, and full of power.

The church becomes known more for its works than its rhetoric.
The Good News that is proclaimed as a result of this is simply
the person Jesus. His presence and work is expressed, not just
with words, but with actions that demonstrate the compassionate
love of God.

Discipleship movements spring up naturally and regularly in
workplaces and neighborhoods as people seek out authentic
life with Jesus. Followers of Jesus present a counter-cultural
way of life that challenges yet attracts more and more people
who have become disillusioned with the so-called American
Dream.

New monastic communities continue to spring up that take on
more and more of the social responsibilities in many needy areas. 
They provide many services that otherwise would no longer
available: rehab and sober living homes, medical clinics, elderly
care, support for the disabled, and counseling for the
emotionally distressed.

At the same time, social entrepreneurs are inspired to start more
and more non-profits as well as for-profit ventures that address
social ills and poverty through creative innovations. And Jesus
is given the glory for this. These ventures create jobs while
providing solutions for people’s needs whose lives are impacted
by a declining world economy. Radically creative innovations
are given to these new breed of entrepreneurs who live personally
for the Kingdom and do not buy into the excesses of materialism.

Coffee shops continue to become more and more pronounced
as places where followers of Jesus can be found. Some type of
discovery Bible study is taking place around the clock in almost
every place where God has empowered Starbucks (and other
coffee companies) to build space for this to take place.

Discipleship movements are taking place through social
networking and iPad-type video conferencing.

Traditional churches continue to exist but those that thrive
look more like para-church organizations than churches that
we see today as they involve themselves in the real needs of
the community they are in.

At the same time, most of the “real” church is less visible
apart from its service to the community. It is organized at a
grass roots level using social media as the primary means
of communication and coordination.

Self-sustaining leadership “hubs” have developed that
connect relationally to regional and cyber networks. These hubs are
apostolic in nature, selfless in the way they function, require
no formal allegiance, yet serve the organic movements of the
Spirit.

I believe that, as we walk forward with vision, faith, and a
deepening love for Jesus, we will see the church become more
of what we are meant to be than ever before. It’s an exciting
time to be His!

Read more of Roger's insightful articles on www.SimpleChurchJournal.com

Every blessing on your ministries for Jesus and his Church.
Jack









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