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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Friday, September 23, 2011

Era(s)


There seems to be a pretty formidable connection between churches and the times in which they were born. I was struck by that observation recently while attending one of our congregations. As I sat in church, it occurred to me that I had been there for the dedication service of that congregation over 40 years ago. Upon that realization, I began to reflect on how much, and how little, had really changed. On the surface there are differences. The facility has been modernized and updated somewhat, there is a sound system and so on, but when it comes to the programs of the congregation and the expectations that surround those programs, things are more the same than they are different.

That observation is not intended as a criticism; I think it is pretty normal for almost all churches. I suspect a sociological study would show that churches started in the 1750s would maintain certain characteristics while those begun in the 1970s would have quite different ones. Churches seem to maintain a certain continuity with the era in which they were begun. As someone asked me recently, however, if we were starting this congregation today, would we do things the same way? The answer is, "Of course not!" We would not start a new church using the methods that were popular 40 years ago. We would look for methods that appealed to people in this post-modern age, or whatever the current era may eventually be called.

Examples of what a congregation or a ministry started in the 2nd decade of the 21st century might look like are already beginning to emerge. The new Barrie congregation is one of those as highlighted in the recent What’s the Good Word post Steam. Actually Steam is only one of Barrie’s activities that are different. You will probably read about more of them in the weeks to come, or you can follow them now on Facebook.

But there are other examples too. Some of these new Christian movements appear to have their genesis in Great Britain. Messy Church is an example of one such effort. The Messy Church movement is already beginning to appear in Canada, as is its cousin Fresh Expressions.

So here are a couple of questions to ponder. If you were starting a new congregation in 2011, what do you think that church would look like? What would its programming be? What would you do differently than you do today? For church planters of our era, these are the questions that really matter.

Posted by Carman

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