Last time we saw that there are a number of tender we need to be aware of if the Church is to speak to the upcoming generations. We looked at several…
1> The Changing of the Guard
2> The Rise of a New View of Life
Let’s move on and look at a few more…
Trend #3: Dismissing the Irrelevant
One of the legacies of the baby Boomer generation is the unwillingness to put up with irrelevance. Boomers are also infamous for demanding excellence in everything they encounter. Entities that fail to live up to the standards set by this generation are quickly dismissed.
The post-Boomer crowd has mutated that perspective. Excellence is less meaningful to them because it sometimes reflects the slickness of exploitation and manipulation. The pet peeve of the younger generations is irrelevance – similar to the Baby Boomers. The younger generations quickly abandon anything that is not wholly germane to their personal passions.
They have significantly altered expectations and lifestyles through their demand that things foster shared experience and be ‘real,’ adventuresome, and memorable. They have little patience for anything based on tradition, customs, ease, or social acceptability. If they do not immediately sense the relevance of something, they dismiss it out of hand and move on to the next alternative.
Remember, in a culture where the individual is king and there are no absolute moral truths, exercising choice without limitations is a cherished right.
Trend #4: The Impact of Technology
Few of our daily experiences have remained outside the influence of the technologies introduced in the past 20 years. Communications, medicine, information dissemination and storage, education, farming, athletics, music and art – you name it and the chances are high that it has been seriously affected by technology in recent years. And that includes the faith dimension, too.
Among the most overt effects on church life have been applications such as the widespread embrace of large-screen projection systems for worship and teaching events; the use of video technology for multisite ministry; satellite delivery of ministry training; the ubiquity of religious conversation in the media (including the Internet); congregations’ reliance on Web sites for disseminating ministry information; the use of computers, the Internet, and e-mail for gathering facts that are woven into religious teaching; the enhanced visual design evident in church publications and presentations; and the superior musical experiences provided through the use of downloadable files and performances using “smart” instruments.
The implications of this advanced technology in relation to ministry include the reshaping of the marketplace, the reorientation of community into new forms and relationships, the expectation of finding ministry resources that respond directly to both the felt and real needs, a heightened awareness of global faith conditions and opportunities, and the desire to be a part of a worldwide Church with localized applications.
The Church in general needs to be aware of these and the other changes we will speak about in the next few blogs. But, more than aware of these changes, the Church must respond to them and alter the way we live as believers; the way we interact with the community and the world; and the ways in which we express the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Failure to recognize these changes and new trends will mean the demise of local churches and the decrease influence of the Church in general worldwide. We will be viewed as a dinosaur that is no longer relevant nor useful in our post-modern society and technological world.