Mega churches and House Churches
According to George Barna, the future of the church will move in two directions: Mega churchs and house churchs. It was very encouraging for me to hear that house churches will be developing among Christians, and yet, I think I have overlooked the real beauty of the mega church set-up. What the mega church lacks in intimacy, it makes up for in quality. It does a good job at providing a extravagent gathering place for Christians, which really the church is should use such gatherings for anyway. On the other hand, while the house church really lacks any quality external veneer, it extends a deeply warm and inviting atmosphere of peace and rest. In this place, Christians can actually share their hearts, worship long hours, and engage in hearty, unconventional discussions on the Kingdom, relationships, freedom, and God. These two settings are wisely predicted as the future of God’s Kingdom on Earth.
Up, In, and Out
While looking to God is the greatest joy and necessity of every Christian, It is important to remember that God wants us also to love each other, as well as His creations outside the Family of God. I will be among the first to say though, that traditional methods of outreach and evangelism are not always openly accepted. If put on too hard, dispite the good manners of people politely keeping quiet, their hearts have dismissed or rejected your message. People are looking for hope, peace, freedom, and love. What they don’t want is oppression. Religion has a long history of oppression and skeletons in the closet. What if Christians, after first engaging with God naturally and without regard for any religious duty, loved each other, and developed a community that appealed to anyone, Christians or non-Christians alike? We are living in reality, God created us, Christ set us free, and now the Holy Spirit leads us into new vista’s of revelation daily. Religion and it’s legalistic duties can quickly get in the way of freedom.
Hot and Cold Cultures
It is evident to me having grown up in the cold culture state of Washington that people seem to be abit more intentional about submitting to the time. While I appreciate a balanced schedule, time should not control us, and if time is chocking life out of people, then It means its to be harnessed. Hot cultures like the South in the U.S., Latino nations, and many African nations are reported to experience “happier lifestyle”. While happiness is superficial and unpredictable on it’s own, it is certainly worth observing the smile on someone’s face even though they have not found life everlasting. I find it very ironic that there are many non-Christians out there with more fulfilling lives out there then Christians. If relationship is a key part of life, time should not be so constricting that it brings the volume of stress to people that can lead to things like aggressive outbursts or even car wrecks.
Native desires of People
Under the presupposition I hold that God created everything and everyone, I believe He put desires and intrinsic expectations in us that are looked for. Intimacy is a very interesting element. It can be seen in a mulitude of places. New venues for people to interact with one another are showing up, such as Facebook, World of Warcraft, Xbox Live, as well as more conventional locations life coffee lounges and pastry bars. I find myself wanting to go to Starbucks often just because I love the atmosphere. I don’t necessarily love their coffee, but I like the background nice of commotion from people. I have been called a “weak extravert” – I think it fits. The other element of quality cannot be dismissed. I, like many of my generation, love movies, and I want to be “wow’d” by them. Predictablity kind of kills the experience sometimes (though not always). Christians should be intentional about what they are spending there leisure time doing. “For freedom sake Christ has set us free” says the passage in Galatians 5:1. Preference can be a tramendously releasing consideration, while the uniquely-tuned conscience of a person will keep them safe while not keep them from the full life God wants them to live in.
We live in an age where technological advancements are happening at their own exponentially-increasing pace. I think it is a little bit silly that technology has to advance this quick, but then I realize that what the average consumer see’s on the market is the result of professions finding a need for the greater specialisation being made available. Technology advances as people find a use for it. Ideas (or revelations) bring new direction for the tools available to us. I believe God gives ideas of new inventions and development to people without them realizing it, only for those tools to eventually be utilized indirectly for conventional evangelism (airplanes). But what if Christians stepped up to the development table, and presented something to the world directly that would positively influence people, wheather or not conventional evangelical methods are taking advantage of it. I am of the persuastion that people would not go on living without hope, and thus, optimistic innovations (possibly new mediums of communicating with friends and family) is a powerful thing.
This new generation has seen more development of content on the screen then factories of the past have creating new equipment. The practical application of Ipads, tablets, Kindle’s and smart phones of reach audiences that computer nerds of earlier generations could have ever imagined. There are apps for staying fit, cooking recipes, keeping up-to-date on sports teams, and nearly anything else one can imagine. I don’t thing God has overlooked technology, and I think He has plans and strategies to use it without forcing it to fit into more traditional methods of church interaction. On the otherhand, I have seen cgi-heavy sermon introduction videos that entice my eyes more then my heart. It is an easy thing to try to impress a big audience with computer-generated imagry, and deposit a Christian theme into it. But there must be a balance, because a beautiful medium delivering weak content will be kept for long, while a terrible medium with solid content may not always be able to hold the attention of audiences. The Holy Spirit must be leading the special effects, just like everything else, but I think He gives us a lot of freedom to deliver a solid message, and sometimes it doesn’t have to look asthetically perfect to penetrate our hearts and minds.
Watching and Working
While Christians are certainly awaiting the promised return of their King, It is not license to pull our focus away from the world and time we are in presently. God wants us living in freedom today, not just in an eventual eternity. As one Pillar song title reads, “Eternity starts now”, we should be showing the world what freedom really looks like, and plunge forward with the dreams deep in our hearts. Evangelism is a generally-defined term of spreading Truth. We bare witness of the truth everything we hear from God – and God continues to share new revelations with us daily…