Another year has come and gone. 2018 seemed to go faster than any other year in my life. Yet, it wasn’t the life shift from North Carolina to Louisiana and learning a new role.
There is something intrinsically happening in our world.
As the world rapidly changes there is one tremendous shift that has often gone unnoticed.
We are now living in a post-church world. I do not make that statement to bludgeon our noses.
The hard reality is that for nearly 1,600 years, we have been living in Christendom, in which the Christian religion was a the centerpiece of society. This is no longer the case.
Most church historians agree Christendom began in the years following the Edict of Milan, 313 A.D., when the Roman emperor Constantine endorsed Christianity. From that moment, Western culture was influenced and shaped by the church.
Today, however, Christianity can no longer claim any dominance within the population.
We live in a time of religious plurality and competing worldviews.
According to a recent study, between 6,000 and 10,000 churches in the U.S. are dying each year. That’s a rate of 100-200 churches per week. This is met by the decline of those who identify as Christian from 78.4 percent in 2007 and to 70.6 percent in 2014.
And yet, at the same time spirituality in America has never been higher. This is a multi-billion dollar industry with books, apps, videos, retreat centers, gurus, fitness classes, and group therapy sessions.
However, the more spiritual are not only divorcing the church, but are moving on without looking back.
Many churches are stuck at a crossroads between what once was and what is yet to be.
Embracing this reality can often lead to fear, anxiety, and disillusion. All such things cause us to work out of a scarcity.
Yet, we serve the God of the Universe and follow the One who is transforming this world into something new. So what if we work out of an abundance instead of a scarcity, then there are a lot of positives here…
First, we must remember that the church has experienced this before in the first couple centuries of its experience.
Second, the Spirit of God is leading the church to get off its all too often apathetic and entitled rear-ends to actually discern what creative and innovative ways we can reengage the world around us with authentic and relevant expressions of the love of God. This is exciting. We don’t know what exactly is going to happen next, but we do know the Spirit will lead us into the unfamiliar.
To prepare our hearts for the Spirit’s leading, we are starting a new series from the Book of Nehemiah. Much like the central figure of this book, we too are discovering a new chapter of our lives together as a faith community. The series will kick off on January 6 and carry us through the beginning of March.