If Christianity is declining in influence, which it arguably is in Canada, the larger question is – will it become extinct?
It’s been engaging to watch the response to Monday’s blog post (lots of off line dialogue and some great stuff on my Facebook page – love to hear more!). But here’s the bottom line. The church won’t die. And here’s why. It’s Christ’s church, not ours. Jesus has far more invested in it than we do and we have been promised in scripture that even the gates of hell won’t prevail against it.
But here’s what’s equally true.
While the church itself won’t die, yours might.
While the church will always exist, God might simply choose not to use you to lead it.
This has happened more than a few times before. Witness the 19th century church buildings that used to house thousands of worshippers that are now museums or community theaters. The church itself didn’t die – but their church did. And that will happen again.
I’m with 2500 church leaders at the Drive Conference today. This weekend I’ll be with hundreds of church leaders in Canada and a month from now with 5000 leaders at Orange. And every weekend I’m home at Connexus where we are seeing 68% of our growth come from people who didn’t previously attend church. The church is not dead. You can actually see the church that will be taking shape in front of our eyes today.
Here are some marks of the kind of churches I believe will survive in Canada and the US well into the 22nd century:
They will be Christ-centered.
The truth of scripture will be evident in the lives its members live daily not just in the notes they take on Sunday.
They will use the culture to reach the culture – their music, style of communication and approach will make it easy for a completely unchurched person to access everything and begin following Christ.
They will lead people into authentic community.
They will exist not for themselves, but for the people who aren’t there yet.
They will think more about outsiders than insiders.
They will drop a posture of arrogance and think of others as better than themselves.
They will be relentlessly committed to sharing the unchanging truth of God with an ever-changing culture.
They will be far more selfless than the last generation of Christians
When you have people living this way, the church won’t die. I believe it will flourish.
Those of some of my thoughts about the church that will be here decades from now. What would you add? What do you see?