Church v.2020 – Ten Changes:
#2 More Egalitarian – Less Hierarchical
When compared with the American church of 2012, the future church (v.2020) will be more egalitarian and less hierarchical. This shift will be fueled by a greater emphasis on the
- priesthood of all believers, including efforts to help all within the faith community identify and use their gifts in areas of personal interest and passion;
- use of technology, especially to help those in the community be more connected (more on being connected was discussed in the #4 change for the future of the church); and
- local congregation as primary (a shift that does not dismiss importance of other bodies, but ensures they are not primary).
- less of a divide between clergy and laity;
- less of a divide between those in formal leadership positions and all others within the congregation;
- less emphasis on positional leadership and more attention to functional leadership;
- greater innovation (more on being connected was discussed in the #3 change for the future of the church);
- reform in church governance/polity, especially at levels beyond the local church (e.g., denominations); and
- the emergence of new networks and other forms of voluntary collaboration(more on being connected was discussed in the #10 change for the future of the church) and covenant between churches.
- In what ways is your congregation currently more hierarchical than is ideal for the church of the future (v.2020)? What types of practical changes are necessary to move toward a radically egalitarian community? Which of these changes should be undertaken first (and why)?
- Why do you believe the Protestant church has become so hierarchical? If the many denominations (and non-denominational groups) moved toward flatter structures shaped by a more egalitarian mindset by 2020 how would this change impact the interaction between Christians (on the individual, church and denominational levels) and the appearance of the religion to those with no religious affiliation?