The Future Church – Discipleship

The future church is focused on discipleship, not membership.  Shown below is a helpful set of comparisons between these two models developed by Michael Foss in Power Surge: Six Marks of Discipleship for a Changing Church. MEMBERSHIP MODEL DISCIPLESHIP MODEL Pay dues Follow the way of Jesus Take care of members Equip disciples for ministry For members only For all God’s people Pastor does the praying Disciples are fervent prayers Bring a guest on Read More …

The Future Church – Experiential

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 2.    Experiential (Doing/Practicing the Faith) The future church knows Christian education is important as an empowering tool, not an end unto itself.    Gone are the esoteric classes on matters of intellectual curiosity with little or no connection to living as a disciple of Christ.  Christian education, faith formation, discipleship or whatever term you may prefer is a lifelong process that can be encouraged through a Read More …

Too Much Misinformation

Stetzer, Ed. Chicken Little was Wrong.  Christianity Today, January 2010. Meet the Author Ed Stetzer is the President and Missiologist in Residence of LifeWay Research.  Ed is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine and Catalyst Monthly, serves on the advisory council of Sermon Central and Christianity Today's Building Church Leaders, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USA Today and CNN.  Additionally, he is a visiting Read More …

The Future Church – Relational

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 3. Relational For many years the trend has been that larger churches are continuing to grow larger while smaller churches continue to decline in membership.  In some megachurch settings it is very easy for someone to attend worship and remain anonymous and have little or no interaction with other people. Another trend that has now spanned a few decades is that of emphasizing programs.  Many congregations place an emphasis Read More …

Online Churches Draw Believers, Critics

Earlier this week, Anne Hammock wrote an article for CNN about online churches. Online Churches Draw Believers, Critics explores a topic that is drawing increased attention from both sacred and secular media as more and more people participate in online worship and discipleship experiences.  She writes, "Internet pastors and parishioners cite their 24-hour access to interactive tools and social-networking platforms to show their online experiences are as meaningful as those that take place Read More …

The Future Church – Congregational/Local is Primary

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 4.    Congregational/Local is Primary Gone are the days when loyalty to denomination is common. The mentality of yesteryear was that a loyal parishioner of First United Methodist in one town would join another United Methodist congregation when that person relocated for a new job or retirement.  Today when a faithful participant of one local body of believers moves to a new town, that individual is likely to visit Read More …

Review of Boundless Faith

Wuthnow, Robert.  Boundless Faith: The Global Outreach of American Churches.  University of California Press, 2009.  ISBN: 978-0-520-25915-7. Meet the Author Robert Wuthnow is the Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor of Social Sciences and Director of the Center for the Study of American Religion at Princeton University.  Wuthnow is widely published in the areas of sociology of religion, culture and civil society.  His recent books include Boundless Faith: The Global Influence of American Read More …

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 …