Thom S. Rainer on Seven Massive Changes the Church Must Respond To

Last week in my webinar about retirement paths for pastors and church staff, I shared about the current collision of two major forces in the church: the significant increase in those headed toward retirement, and massive changes we are seeing in local churches.

Had we talked about these massive changes 20-30 years ago, most people wouldn’t have given them much thought because the concepts were so foreign to how we “did church” a generation or two ago.

Today, these are not just understandable concepts. They are the norm. These seven massive changes are dramatically shaping our churches today.

  1. The Death of Cultural Christianity. When I pastored, there were several members who were not Christians yet were still members of the church. These unregenerate church members used their church affiliation for social status. Now, cultural Christianity is no longer the norm. Churches have seen the exit of 25% or more of their attendees simply because “going to church” is no longer seen as a requirement for social validation.
  2. The Multi Movement. Multi site. Multi venue. Multi service. There are now multiple multis. We have more service times, styles, and locations than ever before. Some of these additions have produced good results. Churches are more relevant to their communities, and we have experienced a more diverse expression of musical worship as well. But in some regards, the multi movement has produced what some refer to as an “ecclesiological buffet” for church goers to graze on.
  3. The Shift in Work Habits. If you were to survey your congregation on whether or not they are required to work regularly on Sundays, you’d probably be surprised at how many are forced to miss corporate worship due to work requirements. Because of this, more churches are exploring alternative worship days and times to reach those unable to make it on Sundays due to work. And while Saturday night services have been around for a few years, Tuesday night services are becoming more common among many churches.
  4. The Decline of Denominations. Denomination offices, especially Protestant ones, traditionally had a large influence in pastor and interim pastor placement. But as denominational funding and participation has declined, so has denominational influence. Now, churches have a much greater say in picking their leader than they have traditionally had in the past.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Thom S. Rainer