I have been a pastor for twenty-three years, and during that time I have never experienced the velocity of change that seems to be happening in our day. Transition is the new normal.
The reasons are many: massive changes in society, economics, globalization, and technology all contribute to the rapid pace of change over the past 10 years. And all those factors have added to the massive changes we are seeing in the mission field.
In the USA, The majority of people who are not Christians no longer look to the church for spiritual nourishment, guidance or instruction. Younger generations are leaving the church at an alarming rate. Less than 5% of Christian churches are growing, and 85% of that growth is from Christians transferring from church to church. The fastest growing religious segment today are those the “nones.” Those are people who, when asked by polsters: “what is your religion?” choose “none.”
It’s enough to make a pastor weep.
The choices that churches face in the midst of this transition are many and varied, but they boil down to three questions: Do we keep doing what worked in the past? Do we develop new ministries in the hope that “if we build it they will come?” Or, do we adapt by building on the God-breathed strengths of our church and innovate with new wineskins for a new day?
We are in the adaptation camp at Redwood Covenant.
We have strengths to build on, especially with our children, students and worship ministries. We want to strengthen those areas of excellence. AND, we want to adapt to the changing mission field by finding new ways be church in the world. We want to be both missional and attractional.
Specifically, this means building on our strengths and also releasing mid-size communities that reach out in love, compassion and justice.
We’ve built toward this future for almost a year now. And we are getting very close to launching our first wave of Community Groups! In future posts, I’ll share how that journey is going!