It seems that 2014 is expected to be a year of transitions. I wish I had kept count of all the E-mails I have I have received in the last few weeks speaking of transitions, and this is only in church ministry! Transitions in the way we do outreach, in the way we do pastoral care, in the way we give, the motivation for our giving, and the emphases to which we give, in how we worship and how our worship services and spaces are designed, and transitions in our own denomination.
It seems we will be changing more than the year we write on our checks in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Time honored traditions we have cherished and protected for years are being modified by future generations, not will be. . . ARE. Those of us who consider ourselves traditionalists will be challenged to accept new things, new ways of being church. We may struggle to find our place and new comfort zone in the “new normal.”
Some of these changes we have already had a taste of in our own congregation. To give you a sample of what folks expect ahead. . .By the way, please read all the way to the end. . .
- Traditional giving and pledge drives are fading, including tithing.
- Printed material is harder to come by and more expensive to produce. Say “Hello” to more church websites, including opportunities to give on-line.
- Affinity groups within churches will center around mission interests rather than age groupings.
Some of you may be wondering, “Do I have a place of this church of the future?” Well, this short article is not about getting you to accept changes that may be charging at us faster than we are ready to receive them.
No, these few words are here as a source of comfort.
Listen carefully. However we do church in the future here is what will stay the same as long as we call ourselves Christian.
- The Church will be centered on relationships, now more than ever before.
- The Gospel is still about the saving love of Jesus Christ for sinners.
- You can follow Christ without following ANYONE on Twitter.
- It won’t matter whether the words are on a page or on a screen, the people of Christ gathered together will still need your voice to sing God’s praises.
- Whether we give on-line, physically write a check and put it in the mail, or swipe a card from a digital device, we will still live out our commitment to our Lord as we show it through the giving of our goods.
- Finally, you will always know that the BEST way to access your Heavenly Father is from the privacy of your own quiet time rather than a blog, on Facebook, or by forwarding a group E-mail.
Maybe, the more things change, the more they stay the same!