It’s been undeniable that the church has been changing in the last fifty years. penticostal and charismatic churches have continued to grow while the mainstream churches have battled with ageing congregations and dwindling numbers world wide.
Churches have changed. There’s been the introduction of amplified music and, heaven forbid, DRUMS but the change has been what was needed to bring the younger demographic running to the churches in droves. A church service became a high tech theater production with tv screens colored lights and pa systems suitable for a Stones concert.
Then something started to happen. People started to look for something more. It was easy to get lost in the large congregation. Turning up at church satisfied the mental and moral obligation but inside hearts were craving relationships with people who shared like minds.
Introduce… the home church. A place where people could meet in small numbers and although it was formatted like the larger meetings there was an opportunity to talk and build relationships to some degree. Normally the format followed a church service with some worship, a Bible study and a discussion followed by a time of fellowship. But something else was happening.
For a number of years there has been a slow but undeniable trend appearing where people just don’t go to church at all. People are finding that they have a deep relationship with God in their own lives and want to work it out in their own way. They don’t want to be told when to sit and when to stand or what they will study tonight but rather want to walk the walk and talk the talk at their own pace.
Others of like mind are sought out and informal meetings happen over barbeques and coffees, at lunches and other gatherings that have started to mimic the pattern of the new testament church in the book of Acts. These people don’t compromise. The are walking their faith walk at their own pace and they are seriously real about who they are and where they are with their God. There is an inherent part of them that is displayed to all. An inherent Christian… Something intrinsically different. You can tell that they are a believer by what they say and do, not just on Sundays but every day of their lives.
Books have started to document the trend. People like George Barna in “Revolution” and Jake Coleson in “So you don’t want to go to church anymore” have identified the movement and tried to define what’s happening and while they have grasped a part of it, this wave is still building momentum.
So where will it end? That question I cannot answer, but I know I’m enjoying the ride.