Future Church - adapted from Glynis LaBarre- "American Baptist"
I am summarizing this article from American Baptist for this blog. It touches on a real issue our Church and most are dealing with.
Rev. LaBarre uses a great metaphor in her article about Future Church; Rip Van Winkle. If you remember the story, it is about a young man who takes a nap and wakes up decades later to find a world that completely baffled him. We are experiencing the same without the benefit of the nap.
Everything is in exponential change. Not cumulative, not additive, not sequential.... Exponential change, Change to the second power. C2. The first typewriter patent took a 100 years to become a functional machine. Every "I Phone like" technology has taken less than 10. There are numerous examples. but C2 is becoming C3 , raised to the next higher power with Artificial computer intelligence etc.
But the Church is still largely locked into many mid 19th century systems and methods and struggling to cope. Rip said " Who am I? I'm not myself! I seem like someone else. I was myself but when I awoke everything has changed, I'm changed". Displacement is overwhelming but we must hold to what we know is true. God is the same God and is as real to those seeking him todayas in any generation. We must reground ourselves in truth and start to adjust to "Future Church".
It's here, thousands of millenial Christians are using new ways to connect and share Christ and bring the same Gospel to tens of thousands,(millions?) of post moderns who are without any accurate understanding of the purpose found in Christ's life, death, and resurrection. They don't judge success by numbers gathered (perhaps by likes online?) or how long they connect or even if they have never physically met the person. Such is the nature of this time we live in and the Future Church that is being created. Each time there is contact made for Christ, is seen as an opportunity to witness the forgiveness and love of God through Christ, trusting God to meet them wherever they are, even in cyberspace.
Those of us who are waking from the nap can be part of the Future Church by encouraging, loving and supporting these efforts and these millenials to recreate the 21 century church. We may not understand the changes like Rip Van Winkle but "the times they are a changin" to use a Bob Dylan line.
The good news is that Rip awakened and adjusted and lived a redefined life. We can and must too, to be a part of the Lord's work and continue the work of the Future Church.