After two days of mind-bending thinking on the church, the negative perception of society about the church (accordingly to USA Today, only 18% trust organized religion and attendance continues to dwindle year after year), the AND Conference at Granger Community Church has helped bring more focus to the future we need to look to:
- Clearly, I am part of the 40% that finds church as positive. It has had a huge impact on my life, I love “the church” (my marriage, my perspective, knowledge of the teachings of Jesus, and finding my purpose)- However, this doesn’t fly for 60% of the population that sees “the church” as out-of-touch, corrupt, or irrelevant and this number is growing.
- Churches and their 4-walls will continue to have an amazing impact in our world. There will be millions of people that will appreciate the traditions, the culture, and the steps they will continue to take in their relationship with Christ.
- Churches need to release the idea that people need to come to their buildings to “go to church” and that there are incredible things happening outside “the box” (the four walls of church) where people are “being the church”. This will be uneasy, scary, a loss of control, and many will resist. I believe the greatest movement of God in our lifetime is going to happen outside the 4-walls, outside of any denomination, outside of any one strategy, and outside of our egos. After all, it’s not about us, it’s about Jesus.
- The concept of giving or tithing (Old Testament Biblical principle of giving 10% of our income) is going to continue to shift more to outside of “the box”. People will actually give more because they will be giving to their God-given mission and purpose. Many churches will still have the trust of people to manage the strategy and how to best impact their community (as they should… many churches are incredible managers of the funds that are given with well organized strategies, leaders with integrity, and missions that align with scores of individuals).
- What is church? That is fluid. It will be structures and “what has been” complimenting and supporting the unstructured, multi-cultural, doing great things to change communities and bring Hope across the globe. It will look like whatever people can imagine it to be. Rules will be resisted. Our “church” will be centered around our God-given purpose which could exist within an organized brick and mortar church or outside of it. (Even this post is swinging all over in the use of the word “church”… )
- Technology is going to continue to play a huge role in these next months and years. People and organizations have the opportunity to be “visible” to the global community. Local, on-the-front lines, based-on-relationships mission will be most effective, however technology will leverage training, create ease of funding, ease of volunteering, and help facilitate collaboration like we’ve never seen before… Great results will be shared virally as lives and communities are changed.
- This isn’t new. 12 people modeled this a long time ago… As Alan Hirsch remarked, “Jesus and religion don’t mix, and there’s a lot of religion going on out there…” It’s time to get back to the basics.
Where’s your church? Probably right where you are and who you are. The culture you’re in, the people you know, and the thing that makes your heart beat fast is where God can and will use you now. So can I really call that church? Yes. But isn’t church a building? Yes. Is it a small group? Yes. Helping kids with after school tutoring? Yes. Is it OK if I don’t call it church? Yes.
Being a critic and finding holes? Easy. Saying yes? Much harder.