Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Church, 25 Years From Now

Collide Magazine offers their thoughts on what the Church will look like in the next 25 years. By following certain media and technological trends, they posit their thoughts on the size of church communities, church networks and sermons, music, and the multimedia experience. Sometimes verging on the absurd, with androids and holographic projections, I think their insights offer an overly accommodationist approach to technology, in my opinion, loosing the meaning and purpose of the worship experience while simultaneously exacerbating our idolatrous supplication to technology. For example:
The Church in 2034 ministers to people who have mostly embraced the ubiquity of technology in their lives. As a result, the Church in 2034, for the most part, has done what it can to facilitate the kind of weekend multimedia experience that people expect. If electronic media is the language of culture, most churches in 2034 have few, if any, reservations about speaking that language in every aspect of church life.
Their conclusion (below) that the church will become a community focused group is aspirational and hopeful, but unless for a cataclysmic shift in mission, I don't think that current trends are leading in that direction, especially given the flight of the younger generations:
Christians in 2034 are beginning to associate the term “church” with a group of people more than a building or a weekend experience.
Christians of all shapes and sizes embody a renewed emphasis on deep connection with one another. The majority of the faithful appear to realize that resources, multimedia, and production are wonderful tools for weekend services but poor substitutes for authentic, missional community. In the Church of the future, this kind of community is increasingly facilitated and shaped by new technology ...
Overall, while this is an exercise in pure speculation, there is some value to it:
As we live in the here and now, I think we owe it to ourselves and the generations of Christians that will come after us to imagine the future. We must think carefully and critically, even if we can’t see the future clearly, and we must do our best to consider the long-term implications of the way we do church today for the sake of the church tomorrow.
I encourage you to read the article, but don't invest too much stock into their ideas.

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