The Future Church – Greater Variety of Worship Experiences

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 5.    Greater Variety of Worship Experiences Gone are the days when church growth simply meant adding more worship services.  For years, the model was simple.  Churches held a single Sunday morning worship service.  If attendance grew beyond the comfort level of the leaders, then a second service was added.  The second service was a copy of the first.  The same was true for a move from two services to three or three to Read More …

The Future Church – Inclusive

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 6.    Inclusive Church is often viewed by outsiders as exclusive.  The idea that 11:00 a.m. on Sunday is the most segregated hour of the week has been commonplace for decades.  Bouncer (commercial shown above, permission granted to repost) is one of many effective television commercials created by the United Church of Christ that seek to counter the cultural expectation that few are truly welcome at church with an Read More …

The Future Church – More Functional

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 7.    More Functional (Ministry Teams and Task Forces) Any discussion of this change must begin with the recognition of the three primary forms of polity found in Protestant churches: congregational, presbyterian, and episcopal.  In some ways those congregations with a congregational polity will find the changes simpler to make than those with the other forms.  However, it is both necessary and appropriate for all churches Read More …

The Future Church – More Relevant and Leading Edge

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 8.    More Relevant and Leading Edge For many years, the American church assumed that it was relevant because it existed in a Christian nation.  A generation or two ago, the church was the center of community life.   During this era, church planting often took the "if we build it, parishioners will come" mentality.  Questions about relevance were rarely raised in any formal setting and even less frequently factors Read More …

Review of GloboChrist

Raschke, Carl.  GloboChrist: The Great Commission Takes a Postmodern Turn.  Baker Academic, 2008.  ISBN: 9780801032615. Meet the Author Carl Raschke is professor and chair of the department of religious studies at the University of Denver and an adjunct faculty member at Mars Hill Graduate School.  He is an expert on postmodernism and Christianity,  the author of over twenty books, and a regular contributor to Church and Pomo and Rhizone .  Learn more about him by visiting his faculty Read More …

A Survey of Christian Teens

Rick Lawrence's Scratching Where Kids Itch ( Group, September-October 2009) reveals the results of Group's annual survey of Christian teenagers.  26,000 students participated in the survey as a part of their Group Workcamps mission experience.   This article reveals the first half of the data.  The second half will be published in the November-December issue.  Among the findings: Sometimes I really wish I had another adult in my life, besides my parents, who could help me grow in my Read More …

The Future Church – Less Formal

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 9.    Less Formal Formal Informal Dress up in Sunday best to attend Come as you are (wear what you normally do) Formal titles used when known, especially for clergy and church leaders (i.e. The Rev. Dr.) Names not titles are normative Extensive worship guides/bulletins Limited or no print materials used in worship Positional leadership Functional leadership Join the club Participate in Read More …

Go Swimming (and Get Wet in the Process)

Tom Bandy, a church development guru and ecumenical pastor tells a story that is relevant to all believers: The retreat was being held in a lodge beside a lake. During the break, we all gathered on the beach to watch the kids play. One child was dressed in swimsuit, bathing hat, plastic flotation "duck", and snorkel. She kept running down to the edge of the water, dipping her feet into the lake, yelping, and running back to her towel. All the observers laughed heartily. Later during dinner at Read More …

The Future Church – Less Real Estate

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 10.    Less Real Estate Over the past fifty years, churches have sought to acquire more land and build more buildings as a growth strategy.  For the average church, excepting office space and school space, most of the square feet within their campuses are used only a few hours a week.  The cost to maintain these large campuses is significant.  Any honest consideration of human resource (custodial and administrative), Read More …

The Changing Church – Looking into the Future

The rate of change in the America culture is often far more rapid than within the American church.  The church, however, must proactively and strategically consider and act to enable it to live into its purpose now and in the future.  I created a Top 10 List of the changes I believe will be most helpful over the next several years.  I revisit and revise the list often.  The latest revision follows: Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 10.    Less Real Read More …