7 Disruptive Church Trends That Will Rule 2018

church trends

The culture continues to change rapidly around you as a leader, and especially as a church leader.

If anything, the pace is accelerating, not slowing.

The question is: are you and your team ready for all that’s ahead?

For the last two years, I’ve kicked off the new year with a post on disruptive church trends. You might still find those helpful. You can read the 6 trends for 2017 here, and the trends for 2016 here.

It’s critical church leaders keep trying new things and keep experimenting.

Why? Because the gap between how quickly you change and how quickly things change around you is called irrelevance.

And as I’ve said before, too many church leaders are perfectly equipped to reach a world that no longer exists.

In the hopes of helping every leader better accomplish our collective mission, here are 7 disruptive church trends I see defining conversation and action in 2018.

1. A Move Beyond Church In a Box

Let me start out by saying I’m a huge supporter of the local church. Anyone who’s read these pages would know that.

The mission of the local church is the most important mission on planet earth. Which is why this issue is so critical.

This year I think more leaders than ever are going to rethink our centuries-old model of making people come to a building on Sunday.

If you think about it, most churches (even growing churches, new churches and large churches) effectively say “We’d love for you to come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, and to do it you need to join us at a set hour every Sunday in a particular space we meet in. Beyond that, we’re not sure what to do.”

That’s a remnant from a day when everything was done on a set clock. You sat down Thursday night at 8 to watch your favorite show, because you didn’t want to miss it.

Of course, for years nobody has watched any show at a set time unless it’s a live game or a live event. You watch everything else on-demand wherever and whenever you want.

Shopping happens on your phone 24 hours a day, not during the set hours of a physical store that has limited stock.

Streaming has changed how we listen to music. You don’t own music anymore. You rent access to anything, anytime, anywhere.

And yet in the church, we perpetuate a model that says “We have 1/2/3 services on Sunday. We do midweek X. And that’s how we help you come into a relationship with Christ.”

The cultural change has been underway for decades, but the church has been slow to adapt.

For years, we’ve noticed that even committed Christians are attending church less often (here are 10 reasons why), but this is the year we’ll see more and more church leaders re-imagine what it is to be the church.

There’s never been a greater need in our culture for community and connection. The church isn’t going away anytime soon.

So what’s the rethink here?

Future churches will have a building…they’ll just reach far beyond it.

You’ll still need a facility, a broadcast location, a school or theater to rent—some space in which to meet. But you’ll need to think way beyond it.

Craig Groeschel, from Life.church, told me he discussed a piece I wrote about engagement driving all future church growth with his team and made some strategic changes. He says as much as they’re committed to building new buildings, their team is re-focusing on the OTHER 167 hours in the week of their attenders and of unchurched people. (Craig will share more about this in the January 2, 2018 episode of my leadership podcast episode. Subscribe for free to catch it when it releases.)

Bottom line? Churches who only think Sunday and who only think building will continue to shrink.

In 2018, if coming to Christ means coming to your church in a set location and a set hour, you need a new strategy.

In 2018, if coming to Christ means coming to your church in a set location and a set hour, you need a new strategy. Click To Tweet

2. The Digital Will Become Real

So what does better engagement beyond a set time and place on a Sunday look like?

That’s a great question, and it the answer will require a ton of experimentation, but for sure it involves your digital reach.

As my friend Clay Scroggins put it recently, virtually everyone’s life has become both analog and digital. You run to the store to get milk, but you order your next video game on Amazon and then listen to a podcast on the ride home.

For years, the church has been questioning whether their digital space ‘counts’—whether it’s real.

In 2016, we launched our live-stream at Connexus Church where I serve. In 2017, our physical attendance grew but our weekly online ‘attendance’ for the first time became bigger than our physical attendance. That’s not going to stop us from adding physical locations, but it also means we need to decide what to do with people who watch and engage online.  (See Trend 1 above.)

Unfortunately, I still ask “do online people count?”

But increasingly that question is becoming downright silly.

Here’s the truth: Church leaders, in 2018 asking whether people who watch church online ‘count’ is like Sears asking if Amazon counts. It’s like New York City cabs asking if Uber counts or Lyft counts.

Of course they count.

Church leaders, in 2018, asking whether people who watch online 'count' is like Sears asking if Amazon counts. Click To Tweet

A majority of first time guests at our church now tell us they watched online for weeks or months before they walked in the door.

And naturally, we need to figure out how to engage with people we may never meet.

Have we figured that out yet? Well no. No one has; we don’t know what it means.

But just because you don’t know the answer doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask the question.

In 2018, ask the digital question at your church.

I get that you may not have a million dollars to throw at technology. Or even 1,000 dollars.

But you probably have a free Facebook page or an Instagram account. Start treating that as real in 2018.

See what happens.

Just because you don't know the answer doesn't mean you shouldn't ask the question. In 2018, ask the digital question at your church. Click To Tweet

3. Location Independence Will Rise

In many ways we’ve already seen this emerging, but there are a growing number of churches who will start to minister independent of location.

In the future, many will consider a church to be their home church, even though the church is in a city they’ve never been to.

Some leading churches are already getting innovative and are facilitating viewing parties, remote baptisms, remote gatherings, small gatherings and other connections will be part of the new normal for churches.

In the same way more workers are increasingly location-independent thanks to technology, more churches will emerge as location independent.

In the same way more workers are increasingly location-independent thanks to technology, more churches will emerge as location independent. Click To Tweet

4. Pop-Up Churches Will Become More Common

Remember that the future will be more digital and analog. One will not kill the other. As technology increases so does the need for human connection.

In thriving ministry models, both digital and analog will grow.

But as every church leader knows, to open a new campus or church in a new community takes time, money, risk and experimentation.

That’s why you’ll see more pop-up churches in 2018 than before.

In the same way you’ve seen the rise of pop-up restaurants or pop-up stores, you’ll see more pop-up churches that open in a new location for a night or a month or a season.

We’ve done for that last two Christmases at Connexus Church, hosting Christmas services now in four cities where we didn’t have permanent locations. (I shared the strategy here.)

We’re adding a new permanent location as a result of that.

You can rent old churches, theaters, restaurants, banquet halls or whatever to bring your church into a new community. It gives you a chance to test the waters for expansion and to bring the hope of Christ into a new place without making a massive initial investment.

Again, practically speaking, maybe just do a night of worship somewhere in a different city where you have a small pocket of people driving to attend your church. Or find a city where you have some traction online.

Then just do one or two events there really well and see what happens.

In the same way you've seen the rise of pop-up restaurants or pop-up stores, you'll see more pop-up churches that open in a new location for a night or a month or a season. Click To Tweet

5. The Rise of Preaching (More Than Teaching)

Another curious trend I’ve seen is that the next generation of preachers (under 40s) seem to preach more than they teach.

It’s always hard to define the exact difference between the two, but simply put, preaching speaks more to the heart, teaching speaks more to the head.

Preachers facilitate an experience. Teachers convey information.

I think the best pastors do both well.

Preaching without solid teaching can become emotionalism. Teaching without preaching can become intellectualism.

Preaching leads people to say ‘That’s right. I need to change.” Teaching can lead people to say “He’s right. That’s a good point.”

I default toward teaching so this is a challenge for me.

Try to find an under-40 influential pastor of a growing church who’s more into teaching than preaching. There really aren’t that many.

It’s just a trend I see.

Preachers facilitate an experience. Teachers convey information. The best pastors do both well. Preaching without solid teaching can become emotionalism. Teaching without preaching can become intellectualism. Click To Tweet

6. A Desire for Non-Downloadable Experiences

I realize you could argue that all these trends compete with each other (and they do), but welcome to 2018.

Another trend you’ll see more of in 2018 is a growing desire for what I think of as ‘non-downloadable’ experiences.

Yes, the church will become more digital, more location independent, more remote. Sermons can be consumed on a run, on a commute and while cooking dinner. I get that.

But that consumption of content will also leave people hungering for greater community, greater experience and greater transcendence.

Theologically, God is both immanent and transcendent.

Immanent means ‘near’ and even ‘accessible’, as in God with us in Christ.

Transcendence leans toward the supernatural, the holy and toward the wholly other.

While God is both, most churches swing toward one or the other: we focus on the immanent or the transcendent.

I think the best churches will have content that leans toward the immanent—practical, helpful and digestible. And they’ll also offer experiences that are transcendent…that you had to be there to experience.

If everything your church does in the future feels downloadable, probably all you’ll get is a lot of downloads, not a lot of gathered people.

If what your church does touches the soul, people will continue to gather.

The best churches will offer both because that reflects the character and nature of God and the character of the Christian church at its best.

If everything your church does in the future feels downloadable, probably all you'll get is a lot of downloads, not a lot of gathered people. Click To Tweet

7. The Team Is Eclipsing the Solo Leader

Finally, to get really practical, you’ll see more team in 2018.

The last few decades were characterized by leaders who owned a stage or a platform, preaching 52 times a year (or more with midweek).

Team effort is eclipsing solo effort. A decade ago, you could name influential worship leaders.

Today, very few people could name a specific worship leader at Elevation Church or Bethel Worship by name; it’s just Elevation Worship and Bethel Music. The collective has replaced the individual.

In the same way, solo pastors will likely be replaced by teams of communicators and leaders. A few years ago we split the roles of Lead Pastor and Lead Communicator at Connexus Church, and even lead communicators (like me) often only teach 30-35 times a year.

Part of that is because so many people are listening to so many voices, it requires greater preparation and attention to preach well. And leadership is complex enough now that it requires greater focus to lead well.

Again, don’t think megachurches are the only one who will see this trend.

I started in very small churches and almost immediately raised up volunteer teams to lead.

The leader who can do everything well is being eclipsed by the team that can do everything well.

This, by the way, will be incredibly important to every church of every size who is looking to replace retiring founding pastors or lead pastors who have been in their church a long time.

The leader who can do everything well is being eclipsed by the team that can do everything well. Click To Tweet

Lead Yourself Better…(Much Better)

Of all the mysteries we try to crack as leaders, the mystery of leading ourselves is one of the greatest.

That’s why I’m so excited about my book, Didn’t See It Coming. It’s all about overcoming the 7 greatest challenges everyone experiences, and no one expects.

Take cynicism for example. You might already be rolling your eyes at this post and coming up with 5 reasons it won’t work in your case.

That’s exactly the kind of self-limiting behaviour leaders never see coming.

Jud Wilhite, Lead Pastor of Central Church, Las Vegas, calls Didn’t See It Coming “the most important book you’ll read all year.”

Brian Houston and Andy Stanley call it ‘powerful.’

Check it out for yourself and learn more here.

What Do You See?

Those are the disruptive trends I see for 2018. And yes, my brain’s melting too.

But we’re in this together. We can accomplish more together than we can apart. I’ll be drilling down on these issues more (especially 1, 2, 3 and 6) as 2018 unfolds here on this blog and on my Leadership Podcast. So think of this as the start of a conversation, not the end of one. With much help to come.

In the meantime, what do you see?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

7 Disruptive Church Trends That Will Rule 2018


  1. Denise on October 16, 2020 at 5:04 pm

    So have do you feel about that now Elizabeth? We are in the days of Covid, watching church online huh?

  2. FionaG on June 21, 2020 at 8:25 am

    John Mark Comer is a teacher more than a preacher. And he has a large following internationally, not just in America. He’s been brave enough to push down the discipling line rather than giving people an impactful emotional moment that leaves them feeling I need to change, until the next feeling comes along. I suspect he is growing 20 and 30 somethings into maturity in ways that many other big church preachers are not, no matter how excellent their style is.

  3. Pastor Steve Harmantas on June 8, 2020 at 2:25 am

    THIS ARTICLE IS A BUNCH OF HOGWASH! No wonder our world is in such horrible shape. We need to return to the old paths where the way is good. Jesus is coming soon. He warned us, So as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of man. We have been losing our people because we are living in the last days. We are not instructed anywhere in scripture to help God out; and yet, that’s what you are doing. God’s words and methods never change to accommodate the culture. God is NOT modern; He is traditional as He set tradition in the beginning was the word! You are presenting a false christ featuring new ways of approaching people and accommodating them in their sinful lifestyle. WOE UNTO YOU! It would be better that a millstone were tied around your neck and you were drowned at the bottom of the sea than to deceive God’s people with your modern new age gospel that accommodates people in their sinful lifestyle!

    • Denise on October 16, 2020 at 5:02 pm

      Where in the world did you get that God is not modern. I laughed so hard so basically you’re saying we have to live like the BC days? Everything about God is change. We cant stay the same. God lives in the past, present and future. Nothing stays the same. Are you hiding in a cave or something? Get with the program. You cant evangelize in the streets like the old days with a bullhorn and interrupt neighborhoods anymore. That didn’t work well. People were upset. People don’t want people banging on their doors to go to church. That was 20 years ago. Can you imagine hitting the streets with a bullhorn. Uh no! Thats like if we were still using the old IBM from the 80’s lol. Is that what you use? Do you carry the old large flip phone cell phones? I am pretty sure you’re up to date with electronics but you want to come here and check people because why? If dont fit your size. We live in the New Testament now. You wont get anywhere if you choose to live through the lens of the Old Testament. WOE UNTO YOU! You sound like a doom and gloom preacher. God wants us to progress. I think this is an excellent idea. You can keep your IBM sir because you make no argument here.

  4. Restoration Church on April 14, 2020 at 6:21 am

    Your blog lines and your things are very good. This line is very pointed for every person to need some hope in a world where so many churches have stopped growing? there is a restoration church they help peoples for there hopes. Restoration Church believes in god and not disappointing them because God gives people they want a good living and good health.

  5. Restoration Church on October 30, 2019 at 6:48 am

    Restoration Church things three Restore, release and, rebuilt then they know how to believes in gods to people. Restoration Church are realized people are unique in this world and god in order to change our world.

  6. Saint Anthony on October 30, 2019 at 6:46 am

    Restoration Church things three Restore, release and, rebuilt then they know how to believes in gods to people. Restoration Church are realized people are unique in this world and god in order to change our world.

  7. Restoration Church on October 18, 2019 at 4:54 am

    Restoration church does three things and believes in Restore, Rebuilt, and Release. Restoring the right relationship of humans with god, rebuilding life through becoming a dedicated follower of Jesus and finally helping people to realize the importance of life that God has given to each individual. Making people to understand that we are all unique and each of us has a destiny to fulfil and that we are made in the image and likeliness of god in order to change our world.

  8. Restoration Church on October 18, 2019 at 4:20 am

    Rebuilding life through becoming a dedicated follower of Jesus and finally helping people to realize the importance of life that God has given to each individual.

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  10. PASTOR on June 7, 2019 at 1:04 pm


  11. Dwight on May 14, 2019 at 11:07 am

    As was noted in another comment: preaching (evangelism) was to convert sinners, while teaching was to grow the saint in deeper knowledge of Jesus. The church was not intended to be a place of worship, but a gathering of worshippers.
    Typically the smaller a congregation, the less there is preaching and more teaching, since teaching is more personal, while preaching is more like a shot-gun where the word is scattered outward.
    When you look at the scriptures there is reference to churches meeting in the house of somebody and this relays a personal, familial setting, which is why Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper in a house gathered around a table.
    All in all we need to see the church as the people and especially the Kingdom of God. It is not about growing an assembly within a building, but growing the Kingdom that has no borders. The message needs to go out and the people need to come in…to Christ, then they will gather to edify.

  12. Edward Qaser on April 17, 2019 at 2:43 am

    Dear Brother/ Sister in Christ Dear Brother/ Sister in Christ ,

    Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ ,

    It’s my privilege to have an email with you. I am Edward Qaser from Lahore , Pakistan.

    I am serving the Lord Jesus Christ with Christian based Humanitarian Organization, to glorify His name . Our main focus is reach to unreached with Love of Christ.

    Millions of Non- believer need of knowing about the truth and Love of our Lord Jesus Christ especially the poor people are deprived one. EGM Pakistan is a Humanity base organization and working for the development of the human beings, its major object is to mitigate the effects of poverty, disease , illiteracy and disasters.
    We accomplish this mission by implementing various community based programs ( Projects ) like Empowerment projects , Computer Centers, Sewing Centers, Relief in disasters, Provide food to Poor , Orphan Center, Scholarship for Poor and Needy Students .we have 85 pastors in around Pakistan who are serving in remote and rural areas of Pakistan . we are sharing the word of God in every part of Pakistan ;

    I want to invite you with great love and encouraging words to come to Pakistan , and bring the Good News of Lord Jesus with people of Pakistan.

    May Lord lay burden on your heart for your Pakistani brethren .

    Hope to hear from you as soon as….

    God Bless you

    Edward Qaser ( Executive Director )

    Cell :- +92-300-843-7639

    Office :- +92-423-596-5371


  13. Elizabeth S on March 31, 2019 at 8:34 am

    Did you realize that you wrote this entire article and did not include a single scripture?

    • Annie Bananie on September 5, 2019 at 9:10 am

      Elizabeth S and why do you think that a scripture should be mentioned when he’s talking about what he thinks will happen in 2018 he’s talking about church trends

      • Flavia on September 20, 2019 at 10:11 am

        Because it can leave the impression with the reader that skipping church and watching online is okay as many of the comments demonstrate.

        It’s not biblical. Every letter in the New Testament assumes Christians are members of local churches. The letters themselves are addressed to local churches. They teach us how to get along with other members, how to encourage the weak within the church, how to conduct ourselves at church, and what to do with unrepentant sinners in the church. They command us to submit to our elders, and encourage us to go to our elders to pray. All these things are impossible if you aren’t a member of a local church. (See 1 and 2 Corinthians, James, Ephesians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and 1 Peter for references.)

        Besides all of the above, the Bible commands it. “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

        As our Western culture becomes more and more narcissistic and less biblically literate, it’s not at all surprising that this trend has picked up speed. This is truly the American gospel: It’s all about ME and MY needs being met. How many American churches would remain open if it cost its members their lives to attend as it can in places like Iraq, China or India?

        • Marilyn Albanese on September 20, 2019 at 1:06 pm

          Love gathering with the Body. Love enjoying an unexpected blessing, and being a blessing in a special way because we showed up.
          Thank you for sharing your insights. And yes, that type of gathering you describe is where God’s light can shine ever more brightly. One can’t see it shine if not there in its presence.

        • Cathie on September 21, 2019 at 8:56 am

          Well said!

        • Lilly on September 22, 2019 at 3:16 pm

          So many people feel like I do nowadays, as we’ve aged, it’s gotten impossible to not only afford to go to church with missionary offerings, building funds, VBS, revivals,books, classes, cookouts, the poor (who WE are) and many of us are in poor health, are living on small pensions and don’t even have health insurances, and the pastor hounds us to do what we can not do and to give what we just don’t have (anymore).
          Personally speaking, going to church has become depressing for my husband and I. 5 Songs 30 minute sermon pass the plate and out the gate we go.

        • Jeff on November 5, 2019 at 11:29 am

          Well said Flavia!

        • Mindy Robinson on December 26, 2019 at 9:43 am

          They didn’t have internet in the time of Jesus. There are many reasons, legitimate reasons a person cannot physically attend a church. Christ does make it clear that we need to assemble, I don’t recall that he placed restrictions on how that assembling was organized. You believe that there are instructions from Christ in regards to the churches that cannot be accomplished on-line, in this regard you are mistaken. Verbal communication and video are possible via internet. The internet can be used to do our Lord’s work to great success.

      • Erknee on December 6, 2019 at 6:36 am

        You avoid scripture for a reason…it doesn’t support what you are writing. Christians need to be very careful of the wolf in sheep’s clothing….ie….the Mega church model.

  14. https://preview.tinyurl.com/ketogc99176 on March 30, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    At this moment I am going to do my breakfast, once having my breakfast coming yet again to read
    further news.

  15. Brian Hundley on March 26, 2019 at 5:11 am

    What I gleaned from reading your article is a sort of desperation from ministers to try and keep up with the trends for fear of people not showing up to the church building. When people don’t show up there’s no local church, no funding and no occupation for the pastor or worship leader. The answer shared in your article is to give the knee-jerk reaction of just meeting the demands of the culture instead of acting in faith and being lead by the Spirit.
    I do not believe simply following the latest trends will work and doing so will ultimately fail! Oh sure, it will take off and have momentum for a while, but because it’s appeasing the selfish and lazy tendencies in people there’s no real power in it and no real commitment from the on-lookers! The trends that are happening in society with the advent of on-line computing and social networking are bringing out and promoting the worst tendencies in people as well as exponentially advancing the decay of our nation and world! Surely to jump on the bandwagon and engage people through that medium will be inherently weak and moderately successful at best!
    People aren’t stupid! I’ve actually noticed that even the gentiles or those outside of the fold are very clever and they can detect a compromise in an instant! They will even come to resent a church that is just a copy-cat of everything else in the world! The lost aren’t looking for ease of access when it comes to God and the church they’re looking for an “institution” that they can respect because it stands on its own and apart from what they know! Actually they expect it! They know there’s something to a community of faith that doesn’t simply get blown around with the latest winds of change, but rather is it’s own thing! People know that God is different and set apart from this temporal world of continual shifting and impermanence so if they detect anything in the church that smacks of the world they come from they will soon be put off and after a while come to resent it. After that they will move on and continue the search for something true!
    This is what people are looking for; they’re looking for TRUE not easy! Intuitively they know that finding God is not a journey of ease, but one where the notion of a complete change in belief, lifestyle, values and choices all requiring great sacrifice and a complete turn in direction where there’s no turning back is already looming heavily in their hearts and minds. They are expecting to have to do the difficult thing like actually making the journey on a Sunday morning to where the Christians gather to find their God! After all they already know that Christians are a peculiar people and have their own culture and way! That’s what they are expecting and dare I say even welcoming it! They know it’s difficult and requires effort and sacrifice and they’ve come to terms with that and are prepared to make the effort! They understand that anything of value requires effort and sacrifice like…finding and turning to God. To diminish that journey and remove it in any way Willi make then feel defrauded and send the message that there’s little difference between their current world of ease and immediate gratification and the new world, the one they’re unfamiliar with, where God and his family dwell!
    Consider the underground church in China where for so long since the People’s Revolution, which lead to Communist China, church was conducted in secret with the looming threat of being dragged away to a forced labor camp or shot by a firing squad! This was ever looming over their heads while worshipping the Lord in a corporate way. They didn’t have radio or television broadcasts or nice air conditioned churches to attend where they would forego service if it was raining! They didn’t even have a Holy Bible! Their pastors would sometimes wait months just for the book of John to reach their little hovel after it had been passed around several underground churches already! Yeah, a whole Bible would be separated into fifty-two books to be used in fifty-two separate churches then smuggled around in a circle from church to church! Oh, but their faith was so precious to them! It was common to stand, not sit, for twelve hours worshipping and interceding and also for the miraculous to break forth and even the dead to be raised! They understood the value of the pearl and they bought the field…gladly! If you had offered them an easier mode of service like a podcast or even a church building and car to take them there they probably would have turned you down because it would have offended the great price that they were willing to pay to worship the one true God that they valued so highly!
    This is the irony of the kingdom of God; the easier and more ubiquitous you make it the less people value it, and the more they have to mine and dig after it as buried treasure the greater they esteem it!
    In addition, ministry isn’t just preaching and teaching but physical through the laying on of hands like healing the sick, casting out demons and raising the dead! That’s up close and personal, that’s not social media or live streaming.

    Psalms 127:1

    A Song of degrees for Solomon.
    ​1 Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it:
    except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

    Proverbs 2:1 — 2:5

    ​1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words,
    and hide my commandments with thee;
    2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom,
    and apply thine heart to understanding;
    3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge,
    and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
    4 If thou seekest her as silver,
    and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
    5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord,
    and find the knowledge of God.

    Mathew 8:14 — 8:17
    14 And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. 15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.
    16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

    Mathew 10:6 — 10:8
    6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

  16. ServingLove on February 13, 2019 at 4:29 am

    Great post Carey. I’m going to share this with my team. One of our biggest challenges is on the digital side. If you’re going to do it, I think it needs to be done well, or it can push people away instead of bringing them in. Christian Speaking Engagements

  17. Matthew Weber on February 4, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    You can’t digitize worship in the company of fellow Christians, let alone Holy Communion. Disruptive? You bet–just not in the way you seem to think.

    • Veli on April 9, 2019 at 9:50 am

      Worship can be digitised. Holy communion can be digitised. Just think outside the church box. I will start implementing midweek WORSHIP services where church members don’t come to church but gather in a home or as a family. They will live stream while at church we will lead WORSHIP with Pastor and worshippers.

  18. lisa boyce on January 13, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    I would rather go to church online than to sit in a lukewarm, Godless church that don’t preach and teach the Word of God from the Bible. I agree with online churches especially when there is no where else to go.

    • Vicky red on May 11, 2019 at 9:57 am

      I totally agree with u

  19. Dave on December 26, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    A New Testament study of the words teaching and preaching shows that “teaching” is almost always what happens when the church body is gathered.

    “Preaching” is almost always connected to the Gospel message and it typically happened out in the community rather than at a church gathering.

    Studied this out about 20 years ago and it was very helpful. Clarified some things for me.

    Thanks for your article.

    • Gigirandria on January 6, 2019 at 12:14 am

      This is such a great idea, indeed the Church does not follow how fast this world and technology grow. Yet communication by human contacts must be above all it can’t all go virtual. So pop up church is absolutely the best thing! From “The Teaching” you can learn and watch an App to study more the scripture or many aploaded videos by anyone who feels like sharing some teachings, more learning. Now “The Preaching” you can preach by sharing scriptures study of many kinds not only the Bible, the Bible is one proof that the belief of God and thousands of event really happen because we humans refuse to believe without facts. Yet everything about the existence of The Creator of the universe is proven, you can see and you can feel it. Every single day who gaves you life, and who created you and who sorted you out of troubles. And there is the other preaching after you may decide yourself to go and share from travelling, meet people and telling them There is the Kingdom of God. The belief of the existence of The Creator is not attached to any Religions denominated with any names. You just believe and receive he is the Beginning and the End, he created all life and all living things in the universes, he predicts the future and no one shall trespass or change it, and no one can add one more day to their life. He gives life and gives more Immortality that comes with rules that we must follow. Your idea is great because people can be free to study the scripture anytime anywhere one click in their phone. You can meet up and share more learning why not, that is the definition of Church itself you can pray and study the scriptures in the middle of desert, inside a Starbucks any coffee shop or a restaurant, and so on. Church VS Temple VS House of the Lord: CHURCH is the gathering of one, two or more to call the name of the Lord and worship him and He said I will be in the middle of them. TEMPLE is us, we our body together with our Spirit the most sacred piece of creation of the Lord we are “the Temple of God”, his children because we are a piece of him by our Soul Wich is A spirit, a spirit like God, it is said”You are the Temple of God you must stay Holy” just like Jesus was a Temple too,him as a host a Son of Man “I will tear down this Temple and rebuilt it in three days” . HOUSE Of THE LORD is the one so many people are calling church yet it is wrong. The building we humans have been building and decorated with beautiful paintings, Art, gold, precious stones that one is the House of the Lord, the idea to build it was from King David to honour the Lord and give thanks. And Solomon constructed it, the first house of the Lord. Yet even The Creator himself said I am the creator of all the universe and everything.My feet is resting upon my creation. So Greater that I am how can you put me in rest locked in small house build by humans that I myself have created? I would like to share there shall be no expensive investments to built a house man made for refuge of the Creator, there is no need of money to worship the creator no money offerings to give to him for what, the poor needs help from your fortune and money, no need to invest beautiful clothing for special preachers, everyone who receive can preach the Kingdom of God and call for repentence and salvation. I know I am insulting many here, but we should study the scripture more The Bible for reference only, there are more informations, learn history. Seek the Truth, the knowledge and you will go closer to God, the more you learn the more you will know. Maybe your idea is great it will help humanity to forget all the bullshit of Religions and want they are calling churches that comes with diverse names. There is only one true Creator and there is only one way to worship him, not every crazy ones who claim to worship him well and holding the truth. Best of luck for your projects! The Lord be with you and fullfil it as he desires

      • Betty neace on April 29, 2019 at 4:27 pm

        I like your thinking.

  20. Richard on December 25, 2018 at 6:10 am

    Thanks for your valuable resources keep share the information like this…

  21. Maricica S on December 16, 2018 at 9:08 am

    I see a lot of sophisticated push back from those who still want to hang on to this “God of the Gaps” reasoning. God is used as a spuriois explanation as an explanation for anything not currently explained by science. The early Marxists were acutely aware of the problems they would have if they tried to abolish religion. These named philosophers set about what is known to be called God-Building. These agnostics fashioned out a God concept in a meta religious context in which religions were viewed primarily in terms of psychological and social effect of rituals, myth, and symbols which would attempt to harness this for their own aims. They created their own ritual and symbolism and reinterpreted existing ritual in a social context. To replace established religion of revealed scripture with this malleable social gospel. Its well known anybody can back up any position by quoting an appropriate scripture is well known so they did it as well. The Leninists went much further by infiltrating the Vatican to bring about the social gospel and bringing the heirarchy into the sexual politics of feminism which today is a done deal and no longer even criticized but instead called a victory or positive social change. Divorce, promiscuity no longer even frowned upon such as the acceptance of serial monogamy. The wordsmithing of homosexuals now known as the gays. Gay marriage intended to smear or make less the opposite sex blessing by a religious group. They sought to have gay sex promoted as an acceped alternative. The discrediting of church and religion through child molesting. Class action lawsuits and church bankruptcy in a global sense easier to bring about in this #me too era. Collapsing the church from within. There are just a few drug trafficking cases before the courts involving the clergy and church which will be the wave of the future. The 501 3 (c) church now under government control as per IRS regulation. Caesar has the church in his grip. It has long been a tool of the government to control the masses.
    It is well established that religions are man made and used to oppress others for capitalist gain (love of money, two masters, hypocracy) they still cultivate emotion morals and purpose. This has grown since the social revolution of the 1960’s, ecumenicalism, 12 step philosophy, Metropolitan Community Church, Universalism, the church of whats happening now, the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, and so on. Its been clearly in evidence that being all churchy smacks of phoniness and hypocracy. Jesus himself identifying the high priests and the church community back then. When i was a child i could liken god to a giant Santa Clause lol..

  22. Kevin Rohr on December 8, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    Due to the fact that we live in a world where the message of the gospel travels further and faster via the web, it makes sense to broadcast. We do not stroll about in the marketplace preaching to those we cross paths with. Nowhere near the scale that pervious generations did. Why wouldn’t we broadcast? We’ve been doing it over radio for decades.

    Also, per point #7, I have a specific set of spiritual gifts. But others in the congregations I serve also having speaking gifts. They must be in front of the congregation using their gifts. Especially over social media.

    “Preaching” is not a spiritual gift, so I take it to mean that there must be more than just teachers in front of people.

  23. DP on November 25, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    These are interesting trends, however, online anything does not replace human contact and the need to meet for corporate worship… where people meet face to face to worship the Lord, study the bible or serve others. Just because the world is going this way, does not mean it is correct or effective. We see that with the rise of social anxiety and lack of social skills in our youth who prefer to stay online rather than meet. We see this in people who think they have ‘friends’ online but who have never met or talked with them personally and dont even know who these people in their communities-it gives the illusion of social contact. I love church buildings, meetings and corporate worship…yes by all means, use digital everthing for advertizing, communicating, and offering resources/sermons as teams, but you have to meet each other in a place of worship-together and the benefits of that will never be replaced online contacts. We grow in human fellowship with one another meeting each other physically.

    • lisa boyce on January 13, 2019 at 1:22 pm

      I would rather go to church online than to sit in a lukewarm, Godless church that don’t preach and teach the Word of God from the Bible. I agree with online churches especially when there is no where else to go.

  24. Marilyn Albanese on November 20, 2018 at 9:46 am

    After reading this, I’m truly concerned and dismayed about the present day Church. I am not a trendy “40 something” so perhaps I’m missing something here, but when I refer back to the Word, it has a lot to say about Shepherds. They bear a huge responsibility and they will always be necessary to seek, gather, feed, bring rest, heal, and cleanse the Church (Ezekiel 11-16.) Only some have this gifting and calling (Ephesians 4:11.) Also, let’s not forget 1 Corinthians 3:18-20. To adapt to a Worldview is simply foolishness with God. May the Church gather, be shepherded, be preached to and taught, glean, love one another, take care of eachother, and recognize that we have an enemy who sits everywhere, and, if we’re not alert, he’s going to devour an unprepared Church that is busy seeking trendy World models while Christ comes back for His uncomtaminated Bride. (1John 2:28-29, 3:1-3.)

    • Judy H on March 23, 2019 at 5:43 am

      Yes…Hebrews 10:25 King James Version (KJV)
      25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

  25. gary on November 10, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    How confidant are you that Jesus is going to come back?

    • Annie Bananie on September 5, 2019 at 9:20 am

      very confidant gareeee

    • Ugo on December 7, 2019 at 3:56 pm

      Very confident Sir. He said so and He never lies!!!

  26. Don Jones on October 23, 2018 at 7:21 am

    I’ve been mulling this over in my mind for awhile regarding is watching a service online the same as being “in church.” Perhaps it has been mentioned above in the comments (did read through them quickly but didn’t see it). I think it is important to define what “church is” to answer that question. In the analogy of purchasing at either Sears or Amazon isn’t the same as “doing church.” The goal of purchasing is to make a purchase, so it doesn’t make any difference whether it is Sears or Amazon. But “doing church” is much more than just than listening to music and a message. Many Bible students find Acts 2:42 to be an example of “doing church” together. Teaching one can get via digital — not really possible to do true “fellowship” or the breaking of bread (many understand this to be communion – though if it sharing a meal together after worship), corporate prayer is not possible “online.” Hospitality and the challenge of Hebrews not to forsake meeting together to challenge one another to love and good deeds is really not possible outside of gathering together corporately. One can’t see someone sitting by themselves who needs to be encouraged, or notice that another is burdened. Sure technology is a great aid for those who are house bound, sick, working and are not able to attend the service. But “online church” is really not church as the New Testament identifies the corporate side of the church body life. Online might be an aid to helping someone come through the front door of the church in person. So a service made available “online” can be an aid, but given the totality of what the church is to be, I don’t think it can substitute for the corporate worship experience that Jesus designed for the body of Christ. So music and message online can be edifying, but it is not true, Biblical church in my judgment. Thanks for listening.

  27. Jerry Wamsley on October 9, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Miss Ella, you are not alone in your thinking. The book of Acts displays the building blocks of the first Church. It would be of great difficulty to Shepherd a Scattered Flock. Many twenty-first century ideas are a great blessing to a Church ministry, but they should never supercede Scriptural guidelines or examples.

  28. Raynard on September 20, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    I really enjoyed this article! I work with a company that helps churches and would love to have a convo with you about what we do for them.

  29. Ella Salamat on August 26, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    There is so much lost in my opinion when people are able to isolate themselves due to belonging to an online church. Much of the growth a Christian undergoes is due to their participation in a church community, rubbing elbows, dealing with conflict, finding their gifts and experiencing their fellow church members support the development of them. The list can go on and on for why belonging to a physical church community is so important. It saddens me that this trend toward what seems like a disconnected and yet “convenient” church experience online is moving with such momentum. Societally, we are already suffering from loneliness and isolation. I can’t help but feel like this stunts the growth of new Christians and gives more opportunities for isolation within the church as a whole. The mature Christians / elders cannot serve a community they never see and we are to gather together to worship for a reason. I think it is one more way we do things our way rather than how God intended.

    • Jerry Wamsley on October 9, 2018 at 11:27 am

      Miss Ella, you are not alone in your thinking. The book of Acts displays the building blocks of the first Church. It would be of great difficulty to Shepherd a Scattered Flock. Many twenty-first century ideas are a great blessing to a Church ministry, but they should never supercede Scriptural guidelines or examples.

    • Donna on October 19, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      I have to agree with this comment.

    • Mark on October 30, 2018 at 1:16 pm

      That works provided the people are wanted. I saw too often that people, including me, weren’t wanted. We could not break into the clique. We could not get face time with the higher ups. It is forced isolation. Yes, it is harder to serve people who you don’t see. It is not impossible, but it is not easy.

    • Brittany on November 24, 2018 at 9:44 pm

      I also agree with this and Marilyn.
      It really saddens me. I’ve seen so many people fall away
      From Christianity because of how churches are forming
      To the world. Another thing is the gospel has been so diluted
      That it’s hard to know what is real and what is not.
      Big respected mega churches in the U.S.
      Supporting the one world peace movement. They are endorsing books that support missiology. They have
      An attitude of self happiness like the new age religion and
      They have brought political correctness into these churches.
      Since when did Jesus walk on egg shells for the society
      Around Him? Since when was He more concerned with money
      And numbers? Was He lead by the world or by the Spirit?
      As a 32 year old Christian I feel a longing in this new age
      For some clarity,connection with brother and sisters in Christ.
      I want to go to a church that is concerned with what is going on in their congregation and not worried about their appearance on TV.

  30. Chuck on July 15, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    I would start by asking that question more clearly. I would consider what it is i’d like to do something about, and what the cultural backdrop of that something. That’s a biggie that many overlook in the day of one size fits all ministry. I’ll gladly respond further.

  31. Alex van Donkersgoed on June 16, 2018 at 8:10 pm


    I read this article when it was first published early this year. And I read it again when it rolled across my facebook page while attending the Canadian Church Leaders Conference.

    I love reading your work. But I do make one change. Everywhere you put Church I replace it with Christian School since that is the realm of ministry I have been called to.

    This article especially spoke to me as I looked at how the Christian Education movement in Ontario has been moving.

    Thank you for all you do.

  32. Andrew Lau on May 23, 2018 at 3:24 am

    Hi Carey! Thanks for the post. I have a question regarding Point 5. Does trend 5 also imply there is an increasingly clearer preaching-teaching divide? If so, does it also hint at the general perception of preaching equals inspiring and teaching equals boring and dry, which hardly reflects how the Gospel writers painted Jesus’ preaching and teaching ministry, not forgetting the Great Commission he gave, which puts preaching and teaching and disciple-making on the same scale?

  33. Nelson Muller on May 5, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    Get a legal credit here

    • Nelson Muller on May 5, 2018 at 2:44 pm


  34. Aaron on April 13, 2018 at 10:03 am

    I just listened to Kent Dobson on a podcast where he talked about the loss of Elders in our communities – the loss of the older wisdom as a sage to young people’s vision. There is a large generation gap between older and younger leaders. As a 40 year old who is driving tech and communications for churches, I see them win when an older leader equips the vision of the younger leaders and steers them through politics with her/his wisdom rather than trying to box the younger ideas into church tradition.

    This, I believe, is what is happening with the growth of the “team” idea. You see an older leader surrounded by younger leaders. This takes great humility and leadership by the older leader.

  35. rjceilings on April 11, 2018 at 4:31 am

    Great post , really useful , keep sharing

  36. Sandra G on February 28, 2018 at 1:18 am

    Calling out to God about the complacency in our churches, this is what I feel God is saying, “Turn off all the microphones and silence the instruments. I want to hear my people. They are what matters and I want to hear their imperfect voices raised in praise to Me. Why do you drown them out, when they are the most important sound to me?”
    “I want my people to grow in their spiritual gifts on My day, in My house, with My people. My Word tells you what My spiritual gifts are, but you find it safer to speak and exhort, and nothing gets done in My house on My day. The shepherds should be facilitating the growth of each of the Spiritual Gifts I have told you about. Practice it in My house, so each of my people is more equipped to go out into the world during the week to make a difference.”
    “I want My people to build community in My house, on My day. The shepherd should create questions and discussions about Me and My Kingdom. Put together groups that are so excited to meet on My day that they will also initiate times to meet during the week. Create relationships on My day. There are so many ways to do it, and you need to make the effort.”

    • john on June 17, 2018 at 8:47 am


    • Deb S on August 1, 2018 at 10:49 pm

      i agree that we need it all. and especially teaching straight from the bible. Not omitting a word. We need relationships. Digital is great as well. We need to reach everyone .

    • Donna on October 19, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      I believe you are right. The microphone and music can distract from what God is really trying to speak to us. Grew up in a church with lots of hype and music and found it created ADHD in the church! Lol but for real!

    • Shirla on January 31, 2019 at 1:03 pm

      I hear you! Sounds just like what God would say!

  37. Tom on February 16, 2018 at 11:19 am

    Wow. I guess I’m the only one who here that recalls the commandment to remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy. Oh, I forgot. That’s a Hebrew thing and no longer relevant because the world is now conducting business 24/7 so we all need to adapt or die. Worship on Sunday was instituted because daily living required all ones focus during the week so the Father in His wisdom, knew we needed a day to more deeply contemplate and honor Him. And give ourselves some rest. I guess that prescription should be thrown out the window in the modern age we live in.

    Or the fact that sociologists show that the more digital communications we enable, the more isolated we become. So there’s no need for Christian fellowship. Those guys and gals are all phonies anyways. We should all prefer to have a singular me only relationship with God and never worry about having a relationship with other believers and non believers.

    Sorry to be so sarcastic here but please indulge me a bit because I obviously just don’t “get it”yet. I do agree that the church should be digitally enabled and relevant all week long and not just on Sundays. Podcasts and digital downloads are a good things who can’t or won’t attend or for those of us caught up in and who can afford a middle class and higher lifestyle with all of our packed schedules and techno toys. But that’s not mission to me. The Great Commission tells us to reach out to the greater masses of unchurched, unrepentant, unaware, improvershed, struggling and desperately disadvantaged mass of humanity, both local and across the globe with the message of grace and redemption and the service of assistance, charity and compassion. Celebrating Gods glory and goodness constantly but also setting aside a period for COMMUNAL heartfelt worship AND fellowship.

    Sorry if that interferes with ones busy digital lifestyle that is driven principally by the demand for personal convenience and is just too busy or bored to set aside a specific time of day once a week to worship their Savior with fellow believers.

    I believe that following Jesus and being his disciple means spending your hours, days a d weeks serving others first and practicing Christian discipleship which develops into a continual relationship with your Savior. If that only happens to you on Sunday mornings, maybe you should look within instead of blaming the church you’d really rather not be wasting your time attending.

    • Curtiss Hartley on March 30, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      Perhaps you missed the point, or only skimmed the blog? The author points out throughout the desire and need for connection and fellowship in this digitally connected generation. Rather than a call to be a digital church, Nieuwhof asks the church to be more expansive — instead of exclusively seeing only the physically present as their only realm of spiritual influence.

      • john on June 17, 2018 at 8:59 am


      • Konie on January 15, 2020 at 9:25 am

        Yessssss!!! Thank you Curtiss for bringing us back on point.

  38. C. D. on February 4, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    I honestly hope all of this does happen. As two Millennial Bible college kids, my husband and I have the same dread every Sunday — we were honestly relieved when the kids got the flu so we could all stay home.

    Reasons I (who love Jesus) hate church
    1. It’s three hours of bad dad-jokes while staring at the ceiling praying for death.

    2. I haven’t heard a teaching sermon with new material since 2008.

    3. Pastors are either fake nice or fake trolls — EVERYTHING feels calculated to get more bodies in the seats (and probably to qualify for that big building loan they never stop talking about).

    4. Service times are waaaay too early (8 and 10am), meaning we have to sacrifice either sleep or food in order to be there on time — but last waaaaay too long (ending at 11 and 1 respectively) so we either sleep or starve through it because distracting ourselves with a (silent) game on my phone is a big freaking no no but literally interrupting a sermon with rumblings (actually happenned .. it was mortifying).

    5. As soon as pastors know our background they unload some toxic ministry onto us and then we get to be in a pit of drama the last ministry leader left which is a terrible way to try and make friends at a church (Conversely, visiting your parents church makes this 10x worse.) There were times in my life that I was a total mess and should NOT be leading any bible studies but do short staffed pastors listen? NOOOOOO.

    6. I don’t know anyone. Having people greet you is old-school. Most people don’t touch each other today and old people like to shake hands and kiss you. (I keep saying old people, but I mean those super Christianese people who are generally in their mid 40s or older). Why do I have to go to an occult themed bookshop just to play Settlers of Catan or Pandemic? Why can’t my church host that? Ah yes, “lack of interest.” No, the interest is there – what they mean is that it lacks their interest.

    What I wouldn’t give to find a Acts2 church. Why can’t we have service over dinner and have a group of old people who have been Christian for a century run it and speak instead of hiring young people who know less Bible than I do? I don’t want young and hip. I just want people to chill TF out and start being authentic. Where in the Bible does it say you need 5 praise songs and a hymn before God will let you start service? Where in the Bible does it say you need to pass the plate between worship and the sermon? Where in the Bible does it say people have to go to a separate building and all meet at the same exact time? I mean, for the love of God (and I mean that literally) Pastors actually need to consider that people literally have the world to choose from now. If they want to actually minister to people, they can’t occupy time and space like it’s a liberal rally location. They need to draw people organically: host a regular LAN party, have a regular “family dinner” once a week, open “youth group” up to those of us 18-30 that simply don’t have a home in any hutch because we don’t make enough yet to be on the tithing radar — or at a minimum, keep the kids you’ve invested in instead of throwing them to the wolves and praying they come back when they have kids and need three whole hours of monotone dad-jokes to pull their sanity back together.

    Also, sorry for the rant. I found your site as the first response when I googled “why do I hate going to church” and I guess got lost in the links.

    • Chuck on February 4, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      I am;so in love with this response!! I just am!! YESSSS!!! I scream with joy!!!
      C.D. I feel your pain!! As a non-Millenial (in my 50s) and as a long-term church goer, I FEEL IT! While I certainly haven’t given up on church, I know what you’re talking about with the bad dad-jokes, the superficial fakey-fake pseudo-hospitality stuff…the list goes on!!

      Followers of this thread, this is a CLASSIC example of what I was ranting about in my earlier post in January (on this thread). This wonderful person, right or wrong, flawed or perfect, WHATEVER your take on it is, is THE classic age-group and demographic that you unintentionally blow off when you war over silly things like tradition vs. forward thinking. When we get caught up in policy and procedure, we do irreparable collateral damage to PEOPLE.

      • Donna on October 19, 2018 at 2:27 pm

        Amen to all that!!!

      • Christa on December 2, 2018 at 1:08 pm

        “the superficial fakey-fake pseudo-hospitality stuff”: you nailed it. I, too, am in my fifties, an unmarried (actually biblically divorced) woman, and have been for twenty years. Even in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, I have come to appreciate, there is no place for an unmarried, middle-aged spinster. I no longer trust the sincerity of self-serving, supwrficial, insincere, do-good church types vying for their “hospitality” points–I felt like fresh meat thrown to the vultures, an object of charity for their own self-serving interest–no thanks. I’m better off atudying Scripture alone at home and listening to solid preaching over the Internet without having to fend off the insincere, disingenuous, self-serving vultures.

      • Konie on January 15, 2020 at 9:33 am

        Yes Chuck, yes. Thank you.

    • RTB on February 5, 2018 at 4:03 pm

      You make some really good comments, you need to clean up your online potty mouth a bit, but good comments! My impression (just that) is we all spend way too much time talking about what the church can do for us instead of what we can do for others in the church, and also for others outside of it. The difference between happiness and joy is the degree to which you do for others. Jesus went to synagogue, but he put the words into action the rest of each week. Inhale and suck the life out of something, or exhale and breathe life into it.

      • Rev. Tracey on May 18, 2018 at 1:07 am

        Stop and think. The minute you say (or type) “you need,” you are judging and trying to control. This is true in any context including ministry, business, or marriage. I had to learn not to ever use those words.

        I found C.D.’s post refreshing and authentic, and while a bit “spicy” not in the least bit offensive. After all, it’s where your mind takes you that matters, right? When I type OMG, what do you immediately think of? I think “Oh my goodness!” Then there’s WTF, or “Well that’s fine!” Sarcastic tone of course. (Sometimes I see Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, but that’s only when I’m flying!) If you see something different, perhaps it’s your mind that needs to be changed.

        Oh, and the OP (original post) was right on! The prayer of Jabez comes to mind. Thank you Carey.

    • rich on October 31, 2018 at 1:51 pm

      This is a very late comment on your post and you may not ever read it but here goes. A the father of a millennial, I would urge you to start an immediate search for another church. If all the things you stated are really happening, you probably don’t need to be there. Next, I would urge you to search your heart – thoroughly. If you love Jesus, how can you hate the church? But it really sounds like you hate the way church is being “done”. So find one that caters to your “taste” and meets on your time schedule. While you are doing that, give thanks that Jesus didn’t say man that hill is to steep for me to climb or that cross is too heavy to carry – do you have trouble getting to work on time on Monday morning? I truly hope you find the Acts church you are looking for.

    • Konie on January 15, 2020 at 9:30 am

      Thank you C.D. for being honest. You shared great points and ideas. I’m not so young, have loved going to church 40 years and taught in church 30 years to the present but I feel you. I will always serve in the church bc I serve Jesus bc I love Him. And I don’t see a problem with getting His story out in countless ways nor does Sunday church need to stop. It’s both and.

    • Konie on January 15, 2020 at 9:40 am

      Thank you C.D. Great points and ideas. I’m a “veteran” in the church, and love both old and new ideas and ways to connect people to Jesus and His words.
      I was heard that people used to, and some still do, stand for hours in the heat or rain to hear the Word of God. No chairs, no roof, no a.c. But then technology…
      So, let’s be honest and say we all use technology be it t.v., newspaper, microwave or phone. God is above technology. Let’s get His Word out however. Whenever. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, strength, mind and soul. And love others as yourself. Do it on Sunday am or pm, and for sure M-F. Sat. too, ha!

    • Heather F on January 30, 2020 at 12:25 am

      Amen! You put my feelings into words. Thank you.

    • Char on February 12, 2021 at 8:24 pm

      I can so identify with your post. I am 67 and have spent a majority of my life in church. I grew up in a non-denominational church. As an adult I found many churches have “dead” messages that I believe I could have preached. They aren’t growing because, the message isn’t spirit filled. But let me respond.

      1. I was listening to a recommended to me minister. Before going to a church now I usually listen online so I don’t have to stare at the ceiling. Well, I counted how many jokes and stories he told (and he had an annoying, whiny voice). He had 9 jokes/stories within a 45 minute sermon.

      2. I agree. There is nothing inspiring about these sermons and your spirit is not feed.

      3. Again I agree. I am now beginning to wonder if these ministers couldn’t make it at a regular job so defaulted to one where you can get away with having a captive audience and unless you commit a sin can be there as long as you want. I am being facetious but you get the point.

      4. We have sufficient times in my current church.

      5. It is hard to find a good church that even has Sunday School for adults anymore. The one that did was so disorganized that I didn’t feel comfortable being in or other “clubs” in the church weren’t even meeting. I haven’t volunteered because I haven’t felt comfortable doing that or felt that the “prescribed” methodology would conflict with my desire to inspire. Many are really set in their ways and don’t like to look at the same material differently.

      6. I can really identify here. I have hoped to make friends at church. We talk, it sounds good, exchange numbers, then, nothing or the converse is that they harass you. Once I decided to get in touch, they didn’t even know who I was. The person whose company I did enjoy wouldn’t let me go home. I felt like a hostage. She then continued to call me daily and I tried to explain but she didn’t want to hear it. She is now not talking to me. Generally you never connect. Either I feel isolated or used.

      I was at an Acts 2 church for awhile. It was a charismatic church. If you didn’t get there early, you didn’t get a seat. It was the first time I heard real meat teaching and people loved it. They were not heavy into spiritual gifts but all was done according to the Word. You can tell when the message is Holy Spirit inspired.

      I like your ideas about the LAN party, dinner and open youth group. Why not make it for all members, regardless of age. I feel left out of most of these groups because I don’t have grandchildren to talk about (no regrets) and my husband works evenings and doesn’t attend church so I am pretty much on my own. I looked at the women’s meetings online and they are geared to the 18-30 group.

      Whether you agree in the gifts of the spirit or not. I dread thinking about going back to the old, dry, messages I was used to before attending a charismatic church which is why I view online for any that I might enjoy.

  39. RTB on January 31, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Wonderful article! There are so many perspectives to come at regarding this issue that it seems overwhelming, but it would be good to remember two things, can Jesus be found first and foremost in what we seek to learn about and do work for, and do we seek it via prayer and the guidance of the spirit? You’re dealing with physical people operating on spiritual issues, so the perspective has to be spiritual, not physical. Jesus was led by the spirit to be a doer, and the young people I know like to feel like they accomplish something valuable in return for their valuable time. D.L. Moody used to introduce himself by stating that he worked for the Lord Jesus Christ, ref. James 1:22. Great points one and all!

  40. Mary on January 21, 2018 at 8:04 am

    I am a believer of both. I’m 53. Jesus Christ did not have technology, but He reached many by the spirit; spirit of need. We are still spirits first born into sin. We didn’t need technology to reach out and reach many. We have Jesus Christ. We have a praying spirit, hope and faith. I rely on that as my “technology” given within me; nothing is new. Technology is a new fad, but the holy spirit isn’t. I also appreciate the traditional church where I assemble myself with other believers, study God’s word in detail and more specifically; analytically from “called” preachers & teachers. Technology is swift and fast, but God’s words is a process that works on the sin; the soul in time with a revelation. In time, He wash away the sin, and in turn He gets the worship, praise in washing us clean. We have to pray for our needs and purpose. It is He who assign the ministry, gifts and purpose. Pray about the will and desire of God.

  41. Josh Richter on January 20, 2018 at 11:23 am

    “Preaching leads people to say ‘That’s right. I need to change.’ Teaching can lead people to say ‘He’s right. That’s a good point.’ ”
    I think the need for both could be illustrated this way: Preaching leads people to say ‘That’s right. I need to change.” Teaching can lead people to say “He’s right. That’s a good way to make the change.”

    • Chuck on January 20, 2018 at 11:53 am

      And small groups, or other strong relationship /community based activities can lead to “Okay, so how can we help each other to EFFECT those changes? How can we actually DO what Scripture taught us to change? How can we apply what the preacher preached or the teacher taught? This is the HUGEST piece that I think a lot of the community-resistant generations absolutely miss.

    • Craig on February 18, 2018 at 12:01 am

      Carey’s making a great point here, by I think he’s also perpetuating a common misunderstanding: This is NOT the difference between “teaching” and “preaching”. In the New Testament, teaching is explaining God’s words (the Scriptures) and God’s ways. The audience is believers. The goals are faithfulness, godliness, obedience, etc. Meanwhile, “preaching” is proclamation of gospel content — toward unbelievers. The goals are repentance, faith, belief in Jesus, i.e. salvation.

      So, the distinction Carey is making could be better described as “informational teaching” vs. “inspirational teaching.” But, if he’s referring to edifying believers at church, he’s still in the realm of “Teaching”.

  42. Ben DiStefano on January 16, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Great article Carey. The church team I joined recently — right at the time we saw each other at the Back 40 Conference in Indiana, PA — is full in on everything you shared here. We are seeing these things happen in our little corner of NW Pennsylvania. We are multi-site (3 locations) and have been for about 10 years. In the fall of 2017, we launched an on-line campus that is truly interactive (worship, communion, chat rooms, etc.) and we’ve seen a great response. I think we even have some international viewers. We’ve seen people come back to faith in Christ and the church and find faith for the first time. On a practical side, one of our physical campuses had a mechanical failure this weekend and the building was closed, but no problem because we re-routed our people to both a different physical campus or the online campus. Both saw an increase as people didn’t check out they just changed plans. Great stuff. Thanks for the wisdom and encouragement.

  43. Justina on January 7, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    I definitely agree that people in the world don’t just come into a church these days their opinions of church have been defined a lot by social media. If there is a way forward that can include more people I think it is worth further consideration. I value community that being part of a church entails greatly it has changed my life. I am of the strong opnion in God’s word where it states don’t forsake the meeting together of believers knowing I have another family I meet with my church family on Sundays has been a tremendous place for me to be healed and grow alongside others in their faith journey. An Internet despite all its mod cons can’t provide that intimate fellowship

  44. Mike Amos on January 5, 2018 at 4:55 pm


    Great article! Thanks for getting us thinking about the challenges of this new year. I have been scouring the internet for ideas on engaging our online folks. We run around 300 every Sunday at church and have anywhere from 600 to 1,300 views on our fb live broadcasts. We have to figure out how to engage these folks in a real and viable way. Thanks for your information and your help!

  45. Jerry Sweat on January 4, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Carey, not so much an additional trend comment but I wanted to express appreciation! I always love your insights and have learned so much from you over these past few years. I listen to all your podcasts and read all your blogs! Thanks so much for continuing to challenge the church to move forward in the ways in which we engage with our culture and the rapidly changing context of the twenty first century while remaining faithful to our mission! You are making a huge difference for the Kingdom of God!

    • john on June 17, 2018 at 9:35 am

      NELLIE’. thank you. JESUS , money and the poor don’t mix. and in this world of people . IF JESUS had the money the world has today. he would sort it out to every one to make to have every one make it to the great big building. L.O.L. i think thats why Jesus gave us a right to be with him alone. JESUS AND MONEY.

    • Konie on January 15, 2020 at 9:44 am

      Yes Jerry! Nice post.

  46. Nellie on January 4, 2018 at 10:29 am

    Ironic that many of the “positive” responses are based on experience and ” hanging with the culture” apart from the true message of Jesus Christ. Some are now readily accepting traditional, or old, ways as out of date and saying today the generation is “seeking His presence,” as if the older generation did not have this desire.
    All here is allowing many professing Christians to nonchalantly connect thru social media atmosphere, just like world today. Are we not to be separate from the world and it’s influence?
    Preaching and teaching must be synonymous, it can’t be one without the other. All I see is life groups where ppl now follow study guides; this generation knows nothing of teaching and creating their own to fit the needs of the group. Just charge $$ to the group, and leave those who can’t afford it.
    The Church may be “growing,” all many are doing is reshuffling the disgruntled to find a church that will keep their ego under wraps and their sin unchecked. Humanism and pragmatism galore, masqueraded under Scripture and weak worship songs that speak to us more than praising Him.
    This shows more satisfaction in numbers more than holiness and repentant hearts.

    • Tamika on January 10, 2018 at 9:17 am

      I believe this article is spot on and I’m thankful my local church is has been in line with preaching the Gospel of Christ and meeting the needs of people. Of course preaching and teaching must be synonymous, the author is not saying it doesn’t have to be or that one takes precedence over the other.
      You don’t change the message you change the method with the needs of the people, that’s all this article is saying. Due to changing our methods to minister to people we have seen significant growth (spiritual) among all members. It’s not about numbers at all but truly meeting people where they are and fostering spiritual growth.

      • Friendly Neighborhood Troll on March 19, 2018 at 4:26 pm

        Numbers = people. So, yes, it is all about the numbers.

  47. Angela Craig on January 3, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    Thank you Carey, These are the exact reasons we started Pursuit Church Live (A Network Affiliated Church with AG as of Nov 2017). Our main campus is on Facebook with pop up communities around the globe. This is the first in the world as far as we know. Our focus is on the 60+ percent of people who cannot or will not attend a traditional church like you and I attend every Sunday. Jesus and the disciples went where the people are. PCL is doing the same.

    Being on social media gives us the opportunity to disciple everyday, not only on Sundays along with many other benifits you mention.

    It is out of the box and working.

    I appreciate your influence to create change. What we are doing at PCL is something all churches should be integrating into their plans for 2018.

  48. Glenn Davies on January 3, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Hey Carey,

    Love the thrust of what you’re saying here, just one push back. On #1 you say, “That’s a remnant from a day when everything was done on a set clock. You sat down Thursday night at 8 to watch your favorite show, because you didn’t want to miss it.”

    I know you know this but that is not why we gather on Sundays in one place together as a local church and that the real reason is still important. That said, thank you for helping us push forward with courage and boldness and not fear. Blessings man!

  49. Michael Davis on January 3, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    Sounds like something written by a night club owner trying to keep up with the
    latest trend. Disco out Zongo in! So redo the club to draw in the zongo crowd.

    Not one mention of some book of instruction…what was that book…oh yes! its called the Holy Bible. Not one mention of GOD I am your servant use me as YOU will to your great Glory. The only way such a thing will happen is by following GOD’S Most HOLY WORD. GOD does not share HIS Glory with anyone or anything. Least of which is the latest social trend.
    JESUS started HIS church with twelve uneducated men. Not one gave one thought to the latest social trend! They did not even allow themselves to become involved with the Jewish religious system. Which interestingly was very busy accepting the latest socially accepted values of the day. They simply preached CHRIST and CHRIST alone was the answer to mans one and only problem. SIN! Without that one and only message then the church stops being a church and becomes a religious club. Always looking for a better business model. But, of course never finding one. The church is dying because it has lost the message of the Bible. Without that message the church will become what it is fast becoming. A social chasing religious club.

    • Alex on January 3, 2018 at 7:57 pm

      THE church is NOT dying. Your specific congregation…. judging (yes, judging) by your comment – quite possibly is…. Christ was (and is) always on the move, and so is His Spirit in His Church. Follow or don’t – the choice is yours (always has been)

      • Michael Davis on January 4, 2018 at 7:17 am

        Sorry to disappoint you my friend, I am not a pastor. I have been called to the work of a Evangelist. Thus, i see far more of the “church” system then a local pastor. The church is indeed dying in its original commission. There is a Hell. It is a horrible place and a lost soul will spend eternity there. I have not heard a message on Hell in years. Plenty of messages on GOD wants you to be rich, feel good about oneself. But, not one word about SIN. How it is destroying lives, families. marriages and society. The modern ever changing (some) spirit led church has as much POSITIVE influence on society as CNN! There is only ONE morally positive organization on the face of this earth…the church! When the church loses that one and only message then the society the church was charged to constrain from sin. Will then become one with the now “cold” church and sink to and exceed the level of immortality we find this once great GOD blessed nation in. In ten years , or less. The majority of southern Baptist church will begin to accept “married????” homosexuals because some “spirit’ is always moving and chasing society. If we don’t accept society latest “fad.’ we will fold. With that lack of logic one has to wonder what “spirit” was leading a Billie Sunday, or Edward Hills, and other unnamed hero’s of Heaven who through preaching JESUS lead this great nation to the highest it once achieved. A honest theological interpretation of history will teach much about GOD’S plans for mankind. Not one has a thing to do with chasing society and its latest fads. Amen!

        • Ben DiStefano on January 16, 2018 at 9:58 am

          “A honest theological interpretation of history …” Kind of like the Old Testament men of Issachar, who God specifically recognized as men who understood their culture and came up with strategies to engage it and were called to lead people in that way. Hmmm.

          “And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.” 1 Chronicles 12:32 KJV

          • Michael Davis on January 16, 2018 at 3:50 pm


        • Carson on April 27, 2018 at 12:17 am

          God bless you sir. You are 1
          BILLION PERCENT correct

    • Elizabeth Faulkner on June 23, 2019 at 11:45 pm

      Hello Michael. We are the church, the body of Christ, started by Paul, our apostle. Jesus was sent not but for the lost sheep of Israel. They didn’t understand the cross and they certainly didn’t glory in the cross. Our salvation is not found in confessing our sins, being water baptized, ect., but by believing in the finished cross work (the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord as found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4 written by Paul as it was given to him by our Lord. Paul also tells us we will be judged according to his gospel. This is a no-works gospel, unlike that given to Israel. Interesting that the go-to salvation scripture, John 3:16 was written before the cross when Jesus followers didn’t understand anything about it. Grace and Peace. Liz

  50. Mike on January 3, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Carey, great post. I look forward to how you continue to break this down in the future. One thing for leaders to consider is their own community and if resources are limited what they need to provide most – the digital immanence, or the analog community. I think this is where small churches need to leverage the available quality material of others that already have a digital presence while pursuing excellence in local relationship and discipleship.

    One thing to improve: grammar/spelling check.

  51. John Finochio on January 2, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    This is an accurate evaluation of trends that have been already occurring and increasing in the church for the last five years or so. The question that every church needs to ask is what if any of these do we need to adopt, which of these can we do effectively with the resources of people and finances we have and where do we start. Knowing that many churches have limited resources it might be wise to start with those that are easiest to implement. Having said that I think the salient point made in this article is #6. Because Christianity is designed to be lived out in community our gatherings must offer something that cannot be obtained as a downloadable resource and therein is the tension you’ve described. The culture has unquestionably trended toward the downloadable resource but the church must offer a compelling ‘koinonia’, ‘Presence’ and ‘ministry’ experience that keeps people wanting to come back through our doors! Great article!

    • Chuck on January 4, 2018 at 10:39 am

      I feel the need to tweak this response just a tad. Even though I agree with a lot of John F. Iabove) has said here, I would say that this comment is just acknowledging something that’s been “going on” for a few decades now. I got into my first real small group experience with authentic community back in the mid-80s when I was an undergraduate. I was part of small group ministry all through the 90’s and 2000’s. While John’s premise is spot-on (re: Community and such), it demonstrates part of what I think Carey is trying to get at: the Church at large is finally starting to take notice only recently. That “taking notice” needs to pick up and act more effectively to include those that are just now figuring this out. Sometimes, that involves helping someone from a more old-school background experience, say, a small group, or a house church, or whatever your “modern” venue might be, and see that it’s not such a bad thing after all. This is one way to take notice. Any others out there?

  52. Dennis on January 2, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Thank you for this – it’s very helpful.
    My observation is that nothing was mentioned in regards to children and ministry. My thought is that the church really needs to do an over the top job of providing a children’s ministry experience that simply can’t be replaced with a video or live feed at home. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t think live feed from a grade 1 class into a home will have the same impact as if that child were present in room.
    I love offering live feed into homes and believe it is so helpful in many ways – both to the believer and those we are seeking to reach. But I have a huge value on the attendance of children at our church.
    What are your thoughts in this regard?
    As well, could you comment on what you did to increase the viewership of your live feed ? Thanks.

    • Jacqueline on January 3, 2018 at 5:25 am


    • Rick in Canada, eh? on January 4, 2018 at 6:26 pm

      Hi Dennis.

      I don’t think there is one answer to your question about engaging young people in the life of faith, other than to engage them! I think virtually every point Carey makes is completely relevant to ministry with young people. If anything they are probably further down these roads than some of our leaders, and much further than many of our seniors.

      (Note – When I say “further down these roads,” I do not mean more advanced or more progressive or leading the way. I mean they are already at the point of being digital people living in a virtual world which is completely real for them. And this means that the aches of living virtually are theirs as well, probably mores than some of us older types. They’ve never known anything different. It’s the water in which they are already swimming.)

      I think the real question is how will we, as leaders, and as leaders of leaders, respond to these trends as we see them operating in our various contexts. And, as usual, the first step is awareness of some of the issues.


    • Ken on February 12, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      While I feel like there is a lot of carryover from this article into children’s ministry, I don’t think Carey was suggesting all of these points are the same for adult services and children’s programming. There are a lot of great blogs more focused on that area by people who lead those programs, while Carey focuses on broader church leadership, because that is what he does. I think the big difference between adult services and children’s services is that adults can stream a service at home and attend a community group and get close to the same experience. For a lot of children’s ministry the message is mixed in with their version of a small group, so just a streaming service might equate to watching Veggie Tales (not hating on Bob or Larry).

      But perhaps there is a benefit to finding a way to introduce online elements for the days that don’t start with “Sun”. Maybe even something simple like hosting a video of a skit done on the previous Sunday with follow up questions for parents to ask their kids to give some middle of the week reinforcement to the concepts discussed on Sunday. Just a thought off the top of my head, but the point is it is worth pondering over. I think the Orange philosophy handles #1 and #7 very well as it makes small group leaders the real heroes and empowers them to partner with parents.

      To actually answer one of your questions, my thoughts on live feeds and children attending a physical church is a both and situation. For me it’s the same thing with pop up churches. I believe there is a huge benefit to a consistent Sunday service, but we can also do more to reach our communities and make it easy for non-believers to interact with God.

      Jesus completely shook up the traditional ministry model, and I think that gives us permission to do the same. As long as His teachings stay at the center, I believe God enjoys watching our creativity in bringing His Word to the world.

  53. Jim Van Leeuwen on January 2, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Carey, is there any easy way to get the posts from here in a printer-friendly format? I’d love to share this in a non-digital way to certain people. Just wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing something.

  54. David. Daniels on January 2, 2018 at 12:29 am

    I like your thinking! Most churches is where to go to get a shot of Religion so they don’t get the Real thing! We have made the Church a physical box where people go at an event/performance on a certain day at a particular time! Church buildings and uses have been out of Business for years. No Secular business could afford to be in business as their building only being used for 3 or 4 hours a week.
    Jesus is our model of the shepherd of a church He is building! He never needed buildings, religious enterprises , but told people that if you follow me you will be Light , salt, be showing everyone Jesus’s love displayed on the cross in the market place. Maybe showing people how to BE the Church in the world would have the influence in the western World that our so called Church with all its Money don’t seem to be doing.
    Are we following the Jewish synagogue religion who has maybe numbered 18 million worldwide . They refused to let the Wineskins-traditions the flexiability for the New Wine / Jesus way.
    You leaders today are sharp, smart!
    We are getting close to the Rapture and we can’t afford to not do it the way Jesus wants to do it so none will never blame His Church to keep them from being a player in reaching His World!


  55. Jim Van Leeuwen on January 1, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Carey, I wish I could get you to speak to leadership at my church. We just started streaming in the last two years and because my church is so focused on having strong community, it’s been tentative to embrace an online campus. These are the things that could totally change that. I’ll be passing this along with prayers that these trends will play into our reality. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

  56. Aussie Dave on January 1, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Love this. Awesome stuff mate! I think you’re spot on with all of these. The church needs to be working towards omni-channel experiences in the same way Walmart, Starbucks and Home Depot.

    • Scottish Dave on January 2, 2018 at 4:55 am

      Omni-Channel experiences – Aussie Dave – superb phrase !

      • Aussie Dave on January 2, 2018 at 4:38 pm

        Thanks! It’s not the future … it’s the present for the rest of the world. The church needs to catch up.

  57. Nweike on January 1, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    Thank you Carey for this wonderful article. I am already aware that there is need for catching up with the changing trends but not sure on how to adapt these suggestions in a local church in rural Nigeria.

    • Scott on January 1, 2018 at 8:50 pm

      Take/use the concepts, not the specifics/details?

  58. William on January 1, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks Carey. Decoding the city we live and serve means we should assess trends each year and make adjustments. This kind of list helps so many. Thanks for giving it thought and presenting it so well.

  59. PAHerrington on January 1, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Thank you Carey! These trends are a part of facing the brutal facts of doing ministry today! After 24 years in one SoCal church, I have seen lots of changes, but none like the last 2-3 years. You are spot on…keep the conversation coming. As an aging team, we long to stay relevant without losing our edge to speak truth in a transformative way.

    In your coming podcasts, I’d love to hear more creative ideas about getting the church beyond the weekend meeting and into the neighborhoods, sports fields, and coffee shops.

    • pastor Julius and Tabitha on January 7, 2019 at 6:28 am

      Hi servant of God, sister Heather, praise God? am happy really so much and be interest through your teachings that you keep on your webpage, through traditional church, kindly we request you to keep us in prayers to our church in Kenya and pray for the children in our church, also we invite you to come and visit us in our village commu ity plz to teach us your teachings also us to better about the kingdom of God, may God bless you hope to hear from you kindly,pastor Julius and Tabitha 254 731261745

  60. Heather on January 1, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    #5 occurred to me just this week. We attend a very traditional church with an older congregation and yesterday we visited our son’s church – one with just as strong doctrine, but is much more modern in presentation. I’ve seen for a long time the difference in worship – the traditional being more focused on the message of the lyrics and the modern wanting to experience God’s presence (neither of which I think are wrong, by the way, but they are very different animals), but I realized listening to a very good sermon, Biblically based, full of teaching, yet prodding the soul to reflection of one’s own faith and what that means in how we live. Again, both are perfectly valid, but there is definitely a difference in how those over 50 and those under 50 look at church. Thank you for your insights that help us all see these trends and how to address them! I am looking forward to this conversation continuing! (PS I am the Music Director at a very traditional church, working with our pastor toward change that will make us more accessible to today’s world.)

    • Chuck on January 1, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      See? THAT’S what I humbly think needs to start happening more! Right there. Traditional and modern need to meet and appreciate each other’s strengths and utility. Not try to run each other outta Dodge. I apologize if this is presumptuous for me to reply in this manner, but see my comment above. THIS is what I’m talking about! KUDOS!

      • Heather on January 1, 2018 at 1:27 pm

        Thanks, Chuck! Our seniors are so worried that they’ll be marginalized and ignored in favour of the modern, but what I think churches like ours are failing to do is to teach those older congregants how important they are to the young people! If the young can see the old willing to embrace more modern ways for their benefit, those young people will be so much more willing to learn to appreciate the traditional things and learn the value in that. It could be a win-win scenario, everyone learning from each other, if only we would all focus on giving to each other instead of holding so tightly to what we want. This struggle between generations/styles is far from new, but it is incredibly sad that it exists at all.

        • Chuck on January 4, 2018 at 10:42 am

          Heather. We should talk. Seriously. This is a HUGE conviction of mine.

  61. Kevin on January 1, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Great post Carey. I’m going to share this with my team. One of our biggest challenges is on the digital side. If you’re going to do it, I think it needs to be done well, or it can push people away instead of bringing them in. My question for you is, if you don’t have that skill-set in the church naturally, how do you go about finding people who can manage social media, or help with a live stream? It’s like a chicken and egg thing. You can’t attract the people without a good digital presence but you can’t have a good digital presence without the right people.

    Also, I took the High Impact Leader course and it was incredibly helpful. If anyone reading this hasn’t invested in it, do so. You will be more effective in 2018 as a result!

  62. Talmadge Hobbs on January 1, 2018 at 11:59 am

    This is a lot to digest, especially since I have moved from a struggling reStart in one city to a “thriving” jail population in our former hometown as chaplain. But I’ve also thought about this team concept, both within the jail itself and volunteers coming in to lead Bible studies. While I will recommend this article to others, I will take time to pray over and digest this to see how that applies to jail. Thanks for this more than I can say.

  63. Chuck on January 1, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Happy New Year, before I get started. To get right to my response… I see currently, and continuing, a battle between cultures past and present. Preachers vs. teachers (and not just in pulpit!) Team leads vs. “administrators”. Babysitting vs. actual engagement in the youth/children’s areas (call them whatever you like). There’s a “resistance” from the 80s and 90s mentalities (and before…) in how church is “done” and the mindsets of today’s church leaders. Find the secret sauce to make those two entities work TOGETHER, as opposed to resist each other, and you have healthier, more intergenerational community and a healthier church environment. Do I have the answer as to how to do that? That’s my current quest. And I may never find it. But I’m looking for it this year. Such is my first actual New Year’s Resolution.

    • John welburn on July 15, 2018 at 7:37 pm

      So what do you do over 1000, or 500 even

      • Senior Pastor G. Taylor on April 7, 2019 at 2:35 pm

        Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas told his congregants that he is God and that Osteen said that he will make their lives a new heaven if they worship and praise him. This trend is on the rise in America!

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