Churches Are Joining The Innovation Revolution
The move to online outreach, community and discipleship during the pandemic was an obvious shift for many churches, but other innovations are also breaking out across the Church world…
I know of new types of relationship and collaborations with organisations nearby and far afield, as online connection removes geographical boundaries. There are new online training schools emerging, business ventures that are creating bridges into communities, evangelistic tools (The famed Alpha Course has THRIVED online during the Pandemic, with some churches starting courses daily!). Off-line, fresh political roles are evolving, new global networks opening up, some work places might soon feel more like church spaces, and new church models are arising that don’t look anything like church as we’ve known it!
Many leaders are radically rethinking church itself. Some that have busied themselves with an over emphasis on Sunday services, to the point where the focus on prayer and mission has been lost, are even considering meeting only once a month for a traditional Sunday service, in order to give more time to deeper encounters in the place of prayer, and greater influence in the realms of Kingdom come. Some are feeling they simply have to find ways to give greater emphasis to mission and community engagement.
Some are dropping Sunday services in favour of other time slots to meet in order to reach specific new communities. You are never going to reach a clubbing young society with your 9am Sunday service… time to rethink our time slots!
Others are considering venturing into new types of multi-site church. Perhaps not the mega church model of the U.S. but rather a missional creative model that fits unique local demographics and geography. If this interests you, grab my book “The Multi-site Church Adventure” (1) for inspiration, we have been exploring this for a few years!
Some are considering micro-churches in homes, broadcast services to home groups, and even “Watch Party” churches inspired by the Facebook tool, allowing groups to join a service together, online.
Others are investigating entirely new forms of “internet Church membership” where people can become church members from across a vast geographical area, sometimes in addition to an existing membership of a church where they live, or even instead of, due to their remote location.
Some of these internet-based believers are in quiet evangelical churches, and deeply respect and love the sense of family found there, but equally desire a more Spirit-filled experience, and so are twinning an online membership to a distant Spirit-filled church, alongside their local church affiliation.
Churches open to innovation for Kingdom purposes will begin to accommodate this more and more, and see it as a way for us to be further “One” in Him, without any sense of competition. We are going to find churches that allow access to resources and connection, without demanding classic membership increasingly arise. There will be people who seem to belong to several churches, with completely blurred lines of membership, but that are far from the “spiritual gypsy” that church leaders used to fear.
Perhaps we are finally becoming one team, one Church, working together like never before? Will it be abused and go wrong at times? Of course! It always has. But for many, the tidal wave of innovation about to crash upon the Church will require a radical rethink of some of our baseless fears, our long-held practices, or even our theology.
To some this new, innovative unity will be as radical as the Reformation.
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