10 years ago today I published an article on Soularize that suggested the church still had a long way to go before it was hitting its target but that there were early signs that prove hopeful and promising. Reading the article [Postmodern Church: Are We There Yet?] again today, it seems a lot of those first-fruits are more visible and integral to how we do church today.
10 Years! This was a long time before CouchSurfing.org appeared and became a vehicle for young pilgrims to cruise the planet, and before my term “deep ecclesiology ” found its way into books, and before the new monastic orders were considered normal inside the Protestant denominations.
Here are 10 quotes I picked out of the article that strike me as relevant to the new churches and missional social enterprises being launched by the next generation.
1. Church needs to be missionary as well as missional. We need to act our our “being sent” by actually going out to THEIR HOUSE and bringing church with us as we go.
2. Modernity divided church into CHURCH (the ecclesiastic) and PARACHURCH (the seminaries, missions, youth ministries, etc). What we are seeing now is intentional communities and travelling teams that not only support the church – THEY ARE CHURCH
3. Pilgrimage is becoming the way of missions for postmodern young people . . . There are pligrim points of interest and learning, and available couches in the homes of believers around the world for a new generation of couch-surfing apostles and prophets.
4. The eucharist becomes the central point of the service.
5. The [church] stages are shrinking because believers are no longer under compulsion to perform the gospel. The community of God becomes a better apologetic for God than the stage ever was. . . . The stage also shrinks because multi-media happens in multi- spaces, on multi-walls, in multi-rooms, by multi-people. Entryways, hallways and sidewalks become stages for art and expression.
6. One of the happy remarriages is church and business . . . the businesses also formed the platform for their ministry outside their church and their country
7. . . churches will increasingly include the monastic model as well as the ecclesiastic
8. If the house churches are structured around hospitality, conversational evangelism, interactive teaching and relationships of trust, then there is no doubt that women will play a major role.
9. . . the integration of young and old, children speaking into the movement and the older teaching the younger. The modern world saw church get sliced and diced into sub-groups and more sub-groups of sub-groups that ministered to sub-groups. The postmodern world is a good opportunity to integrate the ages, as well as letting people minister as a family rather than an individual.
10. Many of these [unchurched] believers are finding ways to connect and share life with each other. These connection points and celebration events look like house churches but they are different. Whatever they are, they are part of the postmodern church landscape.
Btw, I am writing this from a contemporary monastery started by young people who were Baptists. At least they were ten years ago. Lots of couch-surfing pilgrims coming through. Who woulda thought???
Also, ten years ago I used VJ software to present this talk rather than powerpoint, a practice that I kept up during the noughties and one that Len Sweet would suggest 5 years later. Good on ya, Len!
Related: My predictions for this decade