*This article was adapted from Hugh’s new book, BiVo: A Modern-Day Guide for Bi-Vocational Saints, Leveraging All of Life Into One Calling. CLICK HERE to get it.
For the free BiVO assessment go to www.missio.us
You may have noticed the world of ministry has changed because the world has changed. No need for statistics and long, drawn out ammo to persuade you. If you’ve been a concerned Christian or professional saint, you know things are shifting. Economically, the world is in turmoil and no one can balance a budget. Upward mobility is becoming a thing of the past, and those under the age of forty will most likely be the first generation to fail at outearning their parents.
The economics of the world are deeply affecting the economics of the church in more ways that just money. Because of the desperate focus on having or maintaining jobs, people move on average almost every five years to keep pace. In Denver alone, the average metro or suburban citizen moves every 18 months, and thus churches have to operate based on the probability of losing many of their congregational members every few years, just like a college ministry.
Ministry, therefore, may not be able to be based on sustainability, but rather on pure blind faithfulness to make disciples one by one.
As people lose their sense of stability, security and sustainability, their tendency is to move from generosity to scarcity—they simply won’t give like they used to. At present, the average Christian gives to the church at the exact percentage nonbelievers give to charities—just fewer than three percent.
Culturally, those under 40 have shifted in their value sets. Fifty years ago, one of the highest virtues was “loyalty,” and people would give faithfully to the church, trusting the institution and the leaders to use the money wisely.
And even if they didn’t agree with a building fund or focus for the corporate finances, they would continue to give simply because they trusted the spiritual hierarchy.
Today’s believers are not loyal or blindly trusting. One of their highest values is “meaning,” and they will only give to what they see is making a visible difference, or what they perceive will bring them meaning at a personal level. You may argue with this at a philosophical level, but you will not be able to fight it at the street level.
People, even those inside the church, are exhausted at giving to boxes or buildings whose influence is waning, and they simply won’t give to keep the lights on or pay the staff. They want to help real people with real needs.
These rough seas, brought about by the winds of global change, are going to keep blowing, and the collective unconscious and conscious atmosphere, values and ethos for practical living and kingdom building have been forever changed. Black and white is now grey.
Generosity, faithfulness, kingdom impact and God’s design for building His church are now vast question marks with unlimited opportunities. Those that navigate well will not only survive but thrive in this new world.