5 New Assumptions As I Step Further Into the 21st Century

Iasked you recently if it was time for you to take a fresh look at your assumptions. I really do believe we are irresponsible when we just continue down a well-worn pathexpecting to arrive at a new destination. And yet, that is what many of us do.

Because I am more and more convinced that we are now just a short step or two from a dramatically different and increasingly post-Christian era in the West, I wanted to give you a look at what I found when I re-examined my own assumptions.

Here are 5 of my new assumptions:

1. It will become increasingly harder to say “come with me to church” and increasingly easier to say “meet me at Starbucks (or the pub).” There are places in the world where this is already true and there are definitely cities in the U.S. where this is already true. The time may not have arrived in your community where it is true…but it will. We need to begin building a “meet me” philosophy of ministry.  

2. Every biblical reference or allusion is obscure to almost everyone. As messages and small group curriculum is developed, it must be understood that most of the people in the auditorium and most of the people in the living room have never heard the story we are telling. When we reference biblical concepts like communion or Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, we must never forget that what we take for granted is a complete mystery to many of the people in the room.  

3. Leader training will be accessed on a “need-to-know” basis and distributed on a ”just-in-time” basis. Gone are the days of advance training in preparation for an assignment. Now arriving are the days of leader training that takes advantage of 24/7 delivery made possible by the internet, and streaming content.

4. Leader development and encouragement will be decentralized. Churches everywhere are discovering that the pace of life is making centralized gatherings more difficult to demand and less productive to implement. Far easier to instill and more productive are decentralized gatherings at the local coffee shop or for that matter, in the living room or kitchen. 

5. The speed of change is accelerating. Gone are the days of change as something that will happen someday. Gone are the days when a change is followed by a decade or multiple decades of the status quo. Still, more often than not the pace of change on the outside is greater than the pace of change on the inside.  And that leads to a perilous disconnect. 

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Mark Howell
Mark Howell serves as Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV. He founded SmallGroupResources.net, offering consulting and coaching services to help churches across North America launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. He spent four years on the consulting staff at Lifetogether and often contributes to ministry periodicals such as the Pastor's Ministry Toolbox and ChurchCentral.com.