Become a Church of the Future
- Friday, November 05, 2004
Your church’s style isn’t nearly as important as its mission: to stay fresh and change the world. No matter whether your church is traditional or contemporary, small or large, there are core values you can embrace to bring the gospel to a world that desperately needs it. If you leverage the post-seeker age culture around you to the gospel’s advantage, your church can reach young adults and help usher in a future full of hope.
Here’s how you can become a church of the future:
Get creative. Use the arts – such as dance, paintings, sculptures, poetry, or drama – in your worship service. Know that God will often use words and images to work together to communicate His messages. Teach in innovative ways. Tell stories, as Jesus did, because stories touch the deepest parts of people’s souls.
Get spiritual. Don’t pay nearly as much attention to marketing or entertaining people as you do to what’s truly important – helping people encounter God. Don’t water down your teachings, or tone down the intensity of your worship services. Rather than asking, “What do people think?” ask the vital question, “What does God think?” Instead of focusing your services on believers or seekers, focus them simply on God. Strive to make disciples of everyone in your congregation. Provide ways for them to grow spiritually outside of worship services, such as through Bible studies, service projects, and prayer meetings.
Get radical. Have the courage to embrace a lifestyle that clearly shows the world you follow Jesus Christ, and encourage others in your church to do the same. Don’t bother with small ambitions; have big ones instead. Ask God to help your church participate in nothing less than changing the world for the better.
Get real. Acknowledge the reality that life in a fallen world includes sin and suffering. Don’t pretend to be happy all the time or to have all the answers. Don’t give your congregation sugar-coated pop psychology, oversimplify complex issues, or mince words with them. Admit your frailties. Be humble, open, and honest. Let your authenticity lead you to confess your sins and turn from them so your congregation can see a holy God transforming a broken human being. Speak as freely about your doubts and pain as you do about your faith and joy, because each extreme gives context for the other to glorify God’s work.
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