»The Church does not have a mission – The Mission has a Church.« – David Bosch
Eph 1:22-23 Message
At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body,
IN which he speaks and acts,
BY which he fills everything with his presence
The Church is the ‘Ekklesia’. We need to understand its context and implications for today’s Church. Jesus is typically quoted to say in Matt 16:18, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it”
This is significant because ‘Ekklesia’ was a concept predating Jesus’ birth by hundreds of years. It originated in Greece as a governing assembly, but it was perfected by the Roman Empire. When Rome would conquer a territory, they would establish permanent influence by sending out what they called an ‘Ekklesia’ – a small number of upstanding Roman citizens, who would move in with the locals, orientating and acculturating them in the language and lifestyle of Rome, until everyone walked and talked like a Roman. It’s striking that in Matthew 16:18, Jesus did NOT say, “Synagogue” or “Temple”, He said “I will build my ‘Ekklesia’ – a small number of fully devoted followers who will infiltrate the culture around them for Christ. ‘Ekklesia’ in a 21st Century expression, is where we pursue “ministry” to focus on operating as a spiritual network of influence throughout an entire city, taking Faith, Hope and Love to our communities. The Church becomes a family on mission.
Seven possible shifts that churches will need to make Tony Morgan – Unstuck
There are two types of church leaders right now. One type of church leader is just waiting for things to go back to normal so that we can get back to doing church the way we’ve always done church. The question they’re asking: “When do you think we’ll be able to reopen our churches?”
The second type of church leader is not so concerned about when we might return to normal, because they realize what we’ve experienced…and will continue to experience for many months…is going to force the church to change. “Normal” isn’t coming back.
The question they’re instead asking is this: “How must the church change for a new normal?”
So what does this new normal look like?
We highlight seven possible shifts that churches will need to make as a result of this crisis:
- Shift from analog to digital.
This one is obvious. However, what may not be obvious is that digital is not going away after the virus is wiped out. Digital is here to stay. And, churches need to shift to making this a primary platform for everything they do rather than just a stream of their Sunday services.
- Shift from teaching to equipping.
We need to help people move from consuming teaching content to engaging a personal, spiritual journey to follow and become disciples who #Know God #Love People #Impact their World. City Changers
- Shift from gathering to connecting.
Even before this crisis, people had less and less time to gather at the church. Churches were not winning by adding more and more events to their calendars. Weeks and months of social distancing will make people more aware than ever that it’s not good to be alone.
- Shift from inputs to outcomes.
Churches will shift from using resources on programs to gather and pacify consumers, and give more effort to equip and mobilize people into taking faith hope and love to our communities.
- Shift from spending to generosity.
Declining churches have 35% more paid staff than growing churches. With less giving, this crisis is going to force churches to reduce expenditures for staff and facilities which should free up resources to address spiritual, social and systemic needs in the communities.
- Shift from complexity to simplicity.
Keeping people busy in church activities doesn’t produce disciples. Complexity is one of the most obvious signs that a church has begun to experience decline on the church life cycle.
- Shift from counting attendees (and now viewers) to engagement.
We can easily shift from thinking attendance was the win, to thinking the number of people who view our online services is the win. Making disciples of Jesus is the win. Counting online attendance is not the win – making disciples, City Changers, is the win.
OUR MEASUREMENTS – P.R.E.A.C.H
P – PROCLAMING – The proclamation of the gospel of the good news:
R – RESTORING – The caring for people in their time of need:
E – EMPOWERING – The developing of people to become City Changers:
A – AFFECTING – The affecting of our communities with Faith Love and Hope:
C – CONNECTING – The relationship with other kingdom agencies:
H – HOW?
1.DIGITIZING – How do we approach the online space; Globally / Nationally / Zones / Local
- GATHERINGS – How do we engage; Social Distancing / Prayer / Sacraments
- WORSHIP – How do we create online connection; Prayer / Songs / Other
- TEAMS – How do we; Structure / Appoint / Meet / Report
- RESOURCES – How do we secure funding; Communication / Giving Options / Nurturing