Church v.2020 – Ten Changes:
#6 More Jesus-Centered – Less Focused on Tradition
When compared with the American church of 2012, the future church (v.2020) will be more Jesus-centered and less focused on tradition. This shift offers considerable hope for renewal within the church and growth from those who find its new emphasis appealing. While past efforts have tended toward extremes (e.g., Restoration movements on the right and the Jesus Seminar on the left) new quests will be open to wisdom from many perspectives. Some of the marks of communities that are more Jesus-centered include:
- A core congregational value that Jesus not tradition, empire, personal preference, etc. is primary. This value shapes much of what the congregation does and also guides it to stop doing some things it had previously done.
- A focus on what was central to Jesus and what most Jesus followers throughout time and in the present agree upon, especially the Great (or Greatest) Commandment (and therefore necessarily a lesser emphasis on more divisive areas of doctrine or dogma — note: this will also be seen in the shift toward being focused on deeds or the #1 change needed for the church of the future).
- A perspective that allows for wide ranging roles — from nearly as important as Jesus to unimportant and everything in between — for the specific faith tradition with which one is affiliated rather than relative uniformity among those involved in the local community of faith.
- How important is tradition in your current congregation? Whether or not tradition as a whole is regarded highly, what specific elements of tradition (from your congregation, denomination, etc.) are viewed as most important in the life of the congregation and why?
- Would a newcomer to your congregation who had recently visited several area churches be likely to rate your parish as one of the most Jesus-centered? Why or why not? If not, what changes do you believe would be needed for most newcomers to conclude that yours is a Jesus-centered congregation?