I saw a post on Instagram by one of my mentors and dear friend, Joey Bonfacio where he was touring the Facebook Asia Headquarters in Singapore. It was a video of looking at a huge interactive screen where you see billions of users that are active in real time. After the caption, he placed a hashtag that caught my attention that said #TheWorldHasChanged.
It has indeed changed through the years, decades and centuries. People don’t want TV much these days. It has been replaced by YouTube, Netflix, and other online streaming services. Newspapers have drastically thinned out for people get their news online and even through Twitter. Retail shops have declined in sales for people just buy online these days. (You may add the changes that you see in the comments section below.)
“Over the last five decades or so, we have seen a world unfold that is unlike any we could have imagined, and for which no one could have completely prepared us,” says Neil Cole.
But even in the church world, things are changing.
According to Thom Rainer, researcher and president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, there are eight major changes in the past ten years.
1. TODAY: Smaller worship gatherings.
TEN YEARS AGO: Larger worship gatherings.
– Thousands upon thousands as compared to a comparatively smaller number.
2. TODAY: Smaller church facilities.
TEN YEARS AGO: Larger church facilities.
– Arenas, stadiums, and coliseums as compared to smaller function halls.
3. TODAY: First priority staff person hired: children’s minister
TEN YEARS AGO: First priority staff person hired: worship leader
4. TODAY: Ministry degree optional for church staff members
TEN YEARS AGO: Ministry degree strongly preferred for church staff
5. TODAY: Emphasis on congregational singing
TEN YEARS AGO: Emphasis on performance singing
6. TODAY: Community focus
TEN YEARS AGO: Community myopia
– churches need to reach their “Jerusalem” as they also reach their “Judea, Samaria and the rest of the world.”
7. TODAY: Vital importance of groups
TEN YEARS AGO: Marginal importance of groups
8. TODAY: Church leaders are continuous learners
TEN YEARS AGO: Church leaders “degree and done.”
“In today’s ever-changing world, leaders of healthy churches have intentionally established a discipline of continuous learning.” – Thom Rainer
But some things have not changed – the message (the gospel), the messenger (us), the Mover (the Holy Spirit).
Lord help us to be like the men of Issachar who understood the times and knew what Israel had to do. (1 Chronicles 12:32)
Help us, Lord, to hear what the Spirit is saying and keep in step with Him that we may continue to reach many with the gospel for the glory of God.