The Future of the Local Church – Updated

In the past ten years, I have witnessed remarkable changes in the local church and the coming decade will usher in even more transformations.While the ancient Sacraments will remain, everything else is up for debate. How we worship, when we gather, what is said, who is leading and where the gatherings happen will all undergo scrutiny and debate.

I have four predictions for the next decade of local church.

1. The places where we gather will become smaller

Every social and cultural trend is leaning toward the smaller, more intimate gatherings and away from the stadium worship experience. Mega churches that purposely create numerous worship settings that promote intimacy and community will see the most significant growth. There will always be a group of church people who will come to the big building, but if we want to see significant growth among skeptics and seekers, we must create less threatening venues for them to explore the issues of faith.

2. The church will be launched into real mission.

The local church is hungry to embrace the mission of the New Testament and this will only increase in the next decade. This next generation is tired of the hype of events and is eager to give their lives to something that requires sacrifice and results in biblical justice. They want to get their hands in the dirt of humanity and see real change in the communities where they live. They will come to the church building for some of the attractional events, but will get disillusioned quickly if these events do not result in real opportunities to serve their world.

3. The church will return to its ancient roots

If it’s new, it’s probably not truth. If its truth, it’s probably not new. I believe the ancient, yet simple recipe of local church will return. We will gather often, read the Scriptures, worship intently, pray fervently, be led by servants, live authentically, and honor the Sacraments. For sure, we will continue to be creative and inventive, but not at the expense of the ancient structure which has transcended all generations for over 2000 years.

4. The church will return to wonder and awe

The churches that embrace the miraculous nature of God will see the most growth and have the most influence in the coming decade. Good preaching, trendy stage sets, and clever videos will not be enough in the next ten years because people want to see God intervene more and more in the affairs of the earth with miracles and healings. Sound theology must prevail and we must not return to our sloppy Charismatic tendencies, but we must also embrace the mysterious and risky nature of God and not be afraid of wonder and awe. While the Holy Spirit may be unpredictable, the results are always predictable – people will find God, people will be healed and people will discover real freedom.

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4 Comments

  1. Just read your article on “Who’s Really Qualified to Lead in the Church.”
    I read “Basically, the three areas mentioned in 1st Timothy 3 and again in Titus 1 involve faith, family and finances. If a leader has a personal mature relationship with God that is evidently growing, has a vigorous, vibrant family and has healthy personal finances, then leadership in the local church should be considered. If any of these three areas are unhealthy, it is a sign of either immaturity or a lack of character.”
    I’m assuming that you believe a wife’s infidelity suddenly makes a 20 yr pastor (I know one) immature or lacking character.
    Wow. I hope and pray that you’re blessed enough that Pam never bursts your bubble. Some guys aren’t.

  2. Brady
    thanks for your thoughts. I think you have a real strong 3rd and 4th point and they seem deeply connected. Somehow when we connect with God in the sacraments we connect more closely with the wonder and awe of seeing God at work both in the ordinary and the miraculous.
    Peace to you
    John

  3. I certainly appreciate the grassy and organic approach. While I am certain there are industrial functions of your role, the heart of your mission is refreshing. Perhaps it is your upbringing, or time in Herford, it is encouraging. I thank you kindly.

  4. Por el momento sólo está disponible para iOS , mas según notifica Supercell que en escasos días podremos verlo para Android.

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