As we struggle with and explore what a 21stCentury church community looks like, it’s important to listen to what others might have to say. I recently ran across an article written by one of the church leadership folks I follow, Rev. Carey Nieuwhof (here’s a link to read it). I found it rather pertinent to what I see is one of the things that our church struggles with.
Here’s how he starts a recent blog post I read this week:
Church attendance is dying. Big time.
It’s not just reflected in the size of the decline, it’s reflected in the quality and nuances of those numbers.
At least two massive, seismic shifts are at work in our culture causing this. First, we’re moving from Christendom into a post-Christian, post-modern era literally in our lifetime.
Second, we’re in the midst of the biggest technological shift in human history. The digital disruption happening all around us. The digital disruption isn’t just coming. It’s here. And it’s changing attendance patterns at your church whether you recognize it or not.
Then Carey goes on to list three trends that highlight the future for churches:
1. THE FUTURE CHURCH MEETS ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, SOMETIMES
2. CONSUMERS ARE LEAVING…AND WON’T BE BACK
3. THE CONTRIBUTORS AND THE CURIOUS WILL STEP UP
Finally, Carey concludes with some words that has a lot to do with my role as your Stewardship team leader:
So where does this leave us?
Well, if you’re watching consumers slip out the back door…there’s no big worry. Sure, pray for them and wish them well, but you can’t build the future of the church on people who are in it for themselves.
So who’s left? Well, if you can get your contributors more engaged, serving, giving, inviting and in community, you can build out from there. In fact, at a certain point, the growth and life in the community will become contagious.
Fewer gimmicks, less inertia, and more passion about the mission is a great recipe for the future.
Letting consumers go while welcoming contributors and the curious is a great step in the right direction.
I’m looking to build a team of stewardship folks who want to explore new ways of engaging our contributors, so that we can reach out to the curious around us and find out the best ways for us to be an engaged 21stCentury church community. Pray about whether you might have the gifts and graces to be a vital part of our stewardship team and let me know of your interest. I really hope to get some momentum flowing this summer! Let me know.