When in a state of frustration or even despair, many peopleâand Christians are no exceptionâwant to turn the clock back to a better or more comfortable time, when things werenât so out of control. But we all know we can never go back. Instead of yearning and complaining, we need a vision to move forward.
I looked at the trends that are carrying us forward into the future that we can only expect will increase:
- Technology. The capabilities and speed of technology will only increase, and more rapidly every year. AI and algorithms will increasingly run our society and make our decisions.
- Secularization. The forces of secularism are growing and are cumulative. Itâs like a snowball rolling downhill.
- Towards socialism and away from democracy. There is an increasing number of socialists in government, and the electorate seems to favor their ideology. And once socialists gain power, they game the system so that they never lose power.
- Globalization. Looking at economics, trade, climate, and technology as global resources demanding a global effort will increase in the coming decades.
- Totalitarianism. The idea of government of the people, by the people, and for the people has seen better days. Now the tendency is executive orders with legislative and judiciary rubber stamping. Once this kind of power is gained, it is rarely released.
- False information. The grass roots nature of the Internet gives a tremendous equality to each contributorâs voice. We are learning that the âgrassâ is full of liars. As people get more divided and conflict grows, so will the misinformation used to gain an informational power advantage.
- Hostility toward Christianity. Secularization, socialism, and false information are all to the detriment of the truth. Christians are increasingly seen as hate groups, bigoted, supremacist, and deplorable. We can easily see in what direction these lines will trend.
There are many others, but these will do for now. Given these realities, my vision for the Church of the future is:
- Iâm convinced we will see a large-scale desertion of the institutional Church and buildings (begun by this pandemic), and the preponderance of small discipling communities. The effective church of the future will be the home church, not what weâve been used to our whole lives.
- Intense Bible study. With the Bible under such steady attack from the secular and atheist community, not to mention LGBTQ+ individuals and groups, Christians will either desert the Bible or learn it. We are seeing many âChristiansâ desert the authority of Scripture for a more culturally relevant, tolerant, compatible with social justice version of religious platitudes. The future of the real Church, however, will be a different kind of dedicated Bible study. We will see the remnant Church invest in Bible study while the apostate âChurchâ distorts and ignores it.
- A new model of evangelism. The old ways were good for their time but are not good for our time. Culture has changed too much for our standard approaches to evangelism to work. The truth hasnât changed, but the culture surely has. New âharvestingâ techniques are needed. The Church of the future will adapt to a hostile culture that is ignorant of what the Bible really teaches.
- A common identity as a remnant. The âBody of Christâ (traditional Christianity, which is now fairly secular) is ridiculously and irredeemably divided right now. The real church of the futureâthe faithful remnantâwill bond together in a truer and more authentic unity, and possibly even re-label what we call ourselves to distance ourselves from traditional labels that are now distorted and misleading.
The true Church is far from done. As a matter of fact, the true Church will NEVER be done until Jesus comes again. Maranatha.