The church is changing and people are crying out for something new. I believe something new will emerge from the ashes of the people burnt out by Pentecostalism (harsh but totally true…only people who don’t like Pentecostalism will build something new).
Here are some of my ponderings about some of the aspects I believe the new church (I am calling it “the social church” for lack of a better name) will have.
I share this because I believe I have SOME insight and SOME of the answers as to what is coming but I need other people to fill in the other pieces of the puzzle. I share my puzzle pieces in the hopes that someone can put them together with their puzzle pieces to form a full picture.
I won’t comment on some of the beliefs and doctrine the new social church may hold, I rather want to comment on the potential structure of what is coming.
Lean Business Model
Church as it currently stands requires a lot of resources to keep running. Building costs and staff probably forming the majority of its costs.
Churches require tithes and masses of volunteers to keep the doors open and to keep growing and reaching people. They are using a lot of resources (money and people).
The social church will work under a leaner business model. Little or no staff and little or no building overheads.
The social church will leverage technology and better structure to impact more people with less resources.
Specialising Entities (Not an all-in-one “church”)
I see the church currently performing 3 main services
- Teaching people about the word of God (I put salvations into this pile “salvation comes by hearing…”)
- Facilitating group worship
- Connecting christians to each other
In my opinion these 3 facets (along with others not listed) will separate.
Rather than ONE church providing everything single entities will rise up and serve just one need.
Worship leaders will come together and run a worship nights without preaching and without pastors who manage the connecting of the people.
Podcasts and small groups could easily teach people about the word of God without having a musical worship element.
So rather than ONE church doing everything there will be MULTIPLE entities who combined provide everything thing Christians (and soon to be christians) need.
Connecting People To People Not To “The Church”
For the entirety of history the best way to connect people to each other was to get them all in one place at the same time. This requires you to connect people to a “church”, get them to keep coming so then they can meet people and form friendships.
Social media and the internet has changed this.
Don’t hear me wrong online relationships CANNOT replace in person relationships. More and more we are seeing people using the internet to meet with like minded people IN PERSON.
So people still want to meet other people in person. That hasn’t change.
However, you no longer need a large group of people of all walks of life to meet in the same place in the hopes that like minded people will find each other.
This means that the role of the pastor will change from personally meeting with people and ensuring they keep coming “back to church” to analysing people (in person and online) and attempting to connecting them with people who are like them.
So rather than trying to get people to keep “coming back to church” we will instead work to connect people to each other. No church gathering or entity required. If we can get 2 guys who love World Of Warcraft and who also love God to meet each other for coffee on a Tuesday without attending a meeting they won’t enjoy…then all the better.
Currently the church asks for tithes and offerings. 10% of what you earn plus whatever else you want to offer to God.
“Give it to us and trust us to distribute it.”
Many people no longer trust the church to do the right thing and the church entity is resource hungry by nature (we discussed this briefly in lean business model).
So rather than offerings of a potentially unlimited amount we will see the emergence of offering targets.
These will work much like kickstarter campaigns.
For example: “I need $5,000 to buy sound gear and hire a venue for a worship night”
Another example: “We need $300 to hire a venue for a Tuesday night to have a prayer gathering”
Anther example: “We need $1,000 to do a print run and pamphlet drop in our local area”
Another example: “We need $2,000 to create and deliver 100 hampers to needed families this Christmas”
Once the target is reach 1 of 3 things will likely happen:
1) No more donations will be accepted
2) Excessive donations will go straight to a cause determined by the entity (eg. World Vision).
3) Excessive donations will go towards next event or to making the event better
(Potentially) No Visible Leader
Recently an amazing thing happened.
Hong Kong protested. So they government shut down the internet to stop protestors communicating their cause.
Using just the local bluetooth in their phones (local range 10-20 metres) the masses of people were able to set up their own network where protestors could chat and communicate with each other.
There was no visible leader in the setup and running of this ad-hoc network, however there was undoubtably a leader or a team of people ultimately behind this.
However, the key is they were unseen. They didn’t need to be seen for the network to work. Individuals were communicating with each other which was the whole goal.
I don’t know how this will relate to the social church but I have a gut feeling that it will be less a mini-dictatorship (as churches currently are) top-down approach and more a hidden body facilitating peer to peer discussions.
More to come
This concludes my musings for now. As I learn more I will refine this post and add new aspect to it.