Hungry for meaningful community and authentic relationships, people involved in this spontaneous movement worldwide are learning the Kingdom’s values firsthand, through smaller church meetings.
Barna says (Barna, 2009), when the focus shifts from geography and independence to the individual’s faith experience or spiritual expression with much less structure and formalities, “people are especially likely to recall such participation.” This may be primarily so because people can take part in some form or the other, instead of feeling like a bystander.
Although these new expressions of church are just dotting the landscape, they already cover the landscapes of other nations around the world. Places like China, Central Asia, Latin America, India and Iran have experienced tremendous growth through small, simple churches that disciple and empower participants to be “the Church.”
When the church becomes a way of life, not a way in life: Discipleship and growth occur naturally, as everyone develops their gifts and learns by doing under the mentoring of spiritual fathers and mothers Click To Tweet
A Way of Life
When the church becomes a way of life, not away in life: Discipleship and growth occur naturally, as everyone develops their gifts and learns by doing under the mentoring of spiritual fathers and mothers ( Gal 4:19).
The Future of Church
The gathered church will never stop and while this may be true, but the church that loves her model more than the mission will. There is no doubt that today, the online church has become a back door for Christians who are done with attending church. However, the online church can never replace the gathered church.
Cary Nieuwhoff, says, but, for those who are not done with the gathered church … they still need community. Yet within a few years, a new role for online church and ministry will emerge as the dust settles. With the new front door, the online church, has much greater potential to reach the curious, unconvinced, and those who want to know what Christianity is all about.
But is our congregation and leadership ready for the catch?
Today there is almost no one who visits a hotel or restaurant without first checking it out online? A church’s online presence will [is], be, the first home for people, which for many, will lead to a personal connection with Christ and ultimately the gathered church. It is wise, therefore, for a pastor to invest in an online presence and for his congregation to support their church’s efforts to embrace change.
Smaller is Smarter
The Covid-19 pandemic sent all the statisticians back to the drawing board. Until 2019, the future of Megachurches seemed bright and leaders felt unstoppable. After a global standstill, many leaders are re looking at the effectiveness of their church model.
The future church will become larger, as Niewhoff says it, “not because they necessarily gather thousands in one space, but because they gather thousands through dozens of smaller gatherings under some form of shared leadership.” Also, millennials and Gen Z’s seek tighter connections so the church’s future might also be in coffee shops or even home venues under a simple structure. Still, some religious historians believe that house churches represent the next wave of evangelical worship, after the boom in mega-churches that occurred during the 1980s and 1990s. The trend was recently captured, in an article in Time magazine, which describes how “evangelicals are abandoning mega churches for mini churches, based in their own living rooms.”
Personally, I feel we cannot talk about the church without reflecting on church history. When we consider the large empty church buildings (Cathedrals) all over Europe, the question remains, will the church love Jesus’ mission more than her model?
I believe the church will love the former more!
George Barna found that 5 per cent of all believers in America are currently involved in house churches-and the trend is booming. (See my blog, The Miracle of House Church).
Although there are thousands upon thousands of healthy, vibrant churches throughout the world, new expressions of church are continually needed to accommodate believers who do not fit into the current church structures. Just as wine can be contained in both bottles and glasses, so God’s Church necessitates many sizes and shapes of containers. Jesus referred to this problem of “wineskins” in His day.
He taught that new wine needs new wineskins because old, brittle wineskins will burst with the fermentation of new wine (Luke 5:37).
Thank you for reading! Please remember to subscribe to my blogs and get thought-provoking inspiration right into your inbox! Also subscribe to my YouTube channel, Shan Thumbran, and get a notification each time I go live!
God Bless you!