I enjoy reading Carey Nieuwhof’s articles. He’s pretty spot on when it comes to changes in the church. He wrote a piece on the 5 Disruptive Church Trends that will Rule in 2016.
He listed five trends that he believes will take shape over the course of the year. I can’t disagree with any of them. But they aren’t all that new either though. Maybe it’s the idea that these things have been coming and this is the year when they hit a tipping point.
At any rate, his list got me thinking about disruptions. I don’t like the word. I don’t have a positive view of it. Disruptions are things that interrupt something else. Disruptions are things that are meant to be fixed so we can get back to our normal, whatever normal happens to be at the time.
But what Nieuwhof describes aren’t disruptions at all, but rather new ways of doing church with no intent on going back to the old way. New ways that will become the norm for the foreseeable future. Until another new way breaks in and takes over.
Disruptions are scary because we feel the need to squash them in order to get back in control of what’s going on. New Ways are scary in the sense that everyone is clueless together for awhile.
Here’s a few new ways for church that I sincerely hope take hold in 2016.
- That the “worship wars” die. I hope they die quickly and without anyone even noticing so we don’t have to have a eulogy for them either. Maybe this can be the year that we recognize that we should worship in a way that fits the context of where we are and with who we are with. Whether that’s high church or low church or something else doesn’t matter. What matters is that worship becomes an authentic expression of the community gathered.
- That the Gospel message is heard by people beyond the 10-30 minutes they might hear it once a week in church, if they happen to be there and aren’t distracted. Pastors are up against seven days a week in which people hear all sorts of gospel messages – many of them false and destructive. We need more than 10 minutes once a week if we are going to get through to people.
- This is the year that “that’s the way we’ve always done it” and similar phrases die. Oh God I pray this happens. Things change. Needs change. Churches change. Just because something worked in the past does not guarantee that it will work in the present or the future.
What are the new ways that you hope will take shape in church in 2016?