I expend a lot of energy pondering the 21st Century Church and what we could be. But Brilliant Colleague has the right idea. What if we tried to imagine what will become of the Church for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren?
I participated in a discussion yesterday about how theological institutions might make shifts to better address the spiritual needs of future generations. And here’s what ideas popped into my head:
- The spiritual will effectively partner with the sacred, making the lines between them blurrier. Ministry will be integral in businesses, schools and other institutions. But it will probably not be called “ministry.”
- Spiritual competency will be an expected part of human development. (Note: I have no idea what this might look like. And by “competency” I don’t mean that spiritual depth is something we achieve – but then I’m a fan of Reformed Christian theology.)
- Christians will have dramatically altered our expectations about what’s necessary to be a church. We will have long cast aside those things – from real estate to programming – that do not bring the reign of God (although we liked them very much for generations.)
- Theological words and their definitions will have changed. Just as “charity” (19th Century) became “love” decades later in Scripture, imagine changes in church vernacular: “worship service” becoming “community gathering” or “equipping the saints” becoming “training and deploying the faith community.” Not as catchy, but someone will create better terms.
- Interfaith relationships will be strong and united against fundamentalism of every kind.
Can we begin to imagine what the Church will be like in 100 years? I actually don’t know that we can.
Jesus will always have a Church and we do not get to control what the Church will look like. Our job – today and generations from now – is to commit to discernment, study, and prayer. We have only a shadow of an idea of what we could be and do, by grace.
Image source. When do we get our hoverboards? We were promised hoverboards.