Pastor Jeff Knott of Grace Church in Port Hope, Ontario speaks in Part One of “Deep Roots, Wild Branches”:
What is the future of this church?
We are living in a time described as post-christendom or post-christian. Post means after or means it faded out. This is the era of the great decline.
Most people are de-churched or no-church.
The next generation does not know what God has done here.
It seems like in Canada an entire generation has come along that neither knows the Lord or what He has done here.
We are living in a post-everything kind of age.
There are six areas of incredible change according to Michael Beck:
- The economy has changed. Globalization, automation, foreign competition, we live in a post-industrial digital age. That means for us as a church the middle class that prospered this nation is getting smaller.
- The family has changed.
- Religion has changed. Most churches are declining. People today are spiritual but not religious. People are hungry for spiritual connection, but they’re just not looking for it in an institutional church.
- Technology has changed. We have the first generation of digital natives. They use social media as a medium for every communication – work, everything is in this digital space. Society today is tech-driven and is knowledge-based.
- Neighbourhoods are different. There is no expectation to get to know your neighbour. We are becoming a network society.
- The church has changed. The Protestant and Catholic churches were the chaplains to our country. Do we have a situation anymore where we have lots of Christians who need lots of care from lots of shepherds? No, we don’t.
The landscape has changed so much that it’s not this place of Christendom anymore, it looks more like a mission field.
The church finds itself in a different age.
Here’s the hope – Jesus is Lord of the jungle and Jesus is Lord of the desert. So wherever we find ourselves, Jesus is Lord and He has a part for us to play.
There are three paths to revitalization:
- Re-engineering the church. The church focuses on the church and we try to be the best we can be. It’s sort of like rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.
- Revival – praying and believing that the Holy Spirit will come and animate His people. Has revival come to the church in Canada?
- Re-missioning – finding our purpose and direction in Christ’s call to make disciples.
It’s not that God’s not working here, it’s just that people aren’t here, they’re out there. What are we doing in our neighbourhoods and our networks?
What can we do today to plot a different course in this desert?