Here’s the Question:
From your perspective professionally and your position (of great privilege!) as a grandparent, will the followers of Jesus meet in a place called “church” when your grandchildren are grown? I’m sitting with how much time and effort is focused on (to) “keep” in the church….families, young people…and I really think it’s from an orientation towards self-preservation. I feel pretty solidly there is a need to prepare them to go! I don’t know what that looks like to those of us who are still in the building.
Here’s My Response:
A. Continuing decline – current trendlines continue
B. Conservative resurgence – a warrior fundamentalism predominates
C. Pregnancy – Christianity-as-it-is giving birth to Christianity-the-next-generation.
Then I say our job is not to predict which is most likely and prepare to adapt to it, but rather to determine which is most needed and dedicate our energies to making it so. In that spirit, I think the pregnancy option will both celebrate and affirm the value of our existing structures (buildings, denominations, agencies, etc.) and welcome innovative new structures. I think we will take your implied question – “How can we prepare people to go and live a regenerative life of love in our world in the Spirit of Christ?” – and make that the primary question … not “how can we keep people coming to our buildings or contributing to our budgets,” and not “how can we preserve the religious industrial complex we have created.”