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The Church Today

Contemporary society finds itself in the midst of change and transition.  The reality of these changes has been made evident in numerous ways:  the magnitude of technological advancements, the pervasiveness of social media, a mistrust of centralized governments, economic instability, and the destruction of the environment. In his book The Third Wave, Alvin Toffler writes: “A new civilization is emerging in our lives…This new civilization brings with it new family styles; changed ways of working, loving, and living…Millions are already attuning their lives to the rhythms of tomorrow…The dawn of this new civilization is the single most explosive fact of our lifetimes.” 

Human society is currently experiencing such a paradigm shift.  The resulting turmoil has caused tremors in nearly every corner of human life—including the church.  Church leaders are discovering that things don’t work like they used to.  People don’t come to church for the same reasons they once did.  People don’t worship like they use to.  People don’t have the same loyalties, the same devotion, or the same sense of spirituality.  To address these changes, now and into the future, congregations need to approach worship, community building, and outreach, with a Spirit-led creativity. 

Worship, as a community act, must be revisioned as more than entertainment or the dispensing of blessings.  Rather, worship should be focused on the relationship between the people as they explore whether the church is heading in the right direction.  At its foundation, worship is the community’s expression of praise, prayer, and offering, as it responds to what God is doing within the church and world. 

God also calls the church to be a “body” which edifies its members—to care for and build up the community.   Church is built up as its people care for, challenge, and support one another, towards a mature faith.   Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit gifts all members with abilities, “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Thirdly, the mission of the church is directed toward expanding the reach of God’s Kingdom through mission and ministry.   The church cares for the sick, feeds the hungry, shelters the homeless, aids the poor, and cares for the sick and destitute, while at the same time being advocates for social change by prophetically addressing issues of unfairness and injustice that hold many in bondage.  

In addition to service, and social witness, the outreach mandate of the church also involves the task of evangelism.  The Great Commission should be central to the agenda of every church member.   Such evangelistic activities should be focused on grace.  Its proclamation should always points toward Jesus, showing that God (whom Jesus called Abba, or Papa) is loving, inclusive, and accepting.  The invitation is to enter into the intimacy of relationship with the Divine through simple faith. 

 

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