As we continue to look at the Church that Jesus is building and the current call to be ‘revolutionaries’ we need to understand that change is happening. There are major changes in our world, the society (cultural group) we live in, and in the Church in general. We are in the midst of a series of spiritual transitions. Change is a natural, positive, and irreplaceable part of growth as well as necessary to enable us to continue to exist.
Leaders often remind us that what got us where we are is not the same stuff that will get us where we want to go, so we must change. Psychologists remind us that repeating the same behaviours merely generates the same outcomes, and therefore precludes rather than produces positive change. In other words, to grow we must purposefully alter our routines and approaches. And the Bible is equally clear in telling us that God did not send Jesus to die so we might be comfortable and complacent, but so we might die to self, pick up our cross, and follow the way of the Master. This involves constant change.
The spiritual revolution that is gathering momentum and influence in many nations provides evidence of sweeping changes that are taking place today. Some of the most important trends that are reshaping our society relate to the shift in worldview, lifestyle, and expectations that characterize our younger generations – the Baby Busters, the Mosaics, the Xennals (Gen X), Millennials, Generation Y (Gen Next), iGen (Gen Z), Gen Alpha. In fact, researchers have determined seven particular trends in these generations that are leading to the new church that will facilitate the moral and spiritual revolution that millions of us have been praying for over the past several decades. (see chart below…)
|The Lost Generation
The Generation of 1914
|The Interbellum Generation||1901||1913||105||117|
|The Greatest Generation||1910||1924||94||108|
|The Silent Generation||1925||1945||73||93|
|Baby Boomer Generation||1946||1964||54||72|
|Generation X (Baby Bust)||1965||1979||39||53|
Generation Y, Gen Next
|iGen / Gen Z||1995||2012||6||23|
(*age if still alive today)
These seven trends ….
Trend #1: The Changing of the Guard
The two generations that contain people in their forties, fifties, sixties, and seventies – the Baby Boomers and the Builders – are slowly and painstakingly losing their grip on power in society. It is the two younger generations (and soon the even younger ones) – the Baby Busters and the Mosaics – who inject energy into the economy, social institutions, and even the Church because they understand and embrace constant change and innovation. Over the coming decades, increasing numbers of these younger adults will ascend to positions of power and influence. In fact, we are already seeing this change moving forward rapidly.
As a result of the passing of the torch, Busters and Mosaics are altering the ways in which people relate to each other, the types of outcomes deemed desirable, the procedures used to achieve meaningful results, the values and beliefs that underlie critical decisions, and the role of technology in our lives. These same transitions are radically affecting how people perceive and practice the Christian faith.
Trend #2: The Rise of a New View of Life
Most developed countries are now what is called a ‘postmodern’ society. Postmodernism claims that are no moral absolutes – that is, truth is whatever you believe it to be. That kind of thinking suggests that good citizenship requires tolerance of all points of view and behavioural preferences. The postmodern philosophy also proclaims that the most important element in life in your relationships; that the processes you engage in are more significant than the product of those procedures, which is a ‘means justify the ends’ perspective; and that the most appropriate route to influence is through dialogue, not monologue or the imposition of one’s beliefs or approaches upon others.
The shift into a live-and-let-live philosophy affects every dimension of our lives, including the ways in which we understand and practice Christianity. Obviously, some of the central elements of this spreading philosophy and way of life – such as its rejection of absolute moral truth – are at odds with being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Other core principles, such as the emphasis on relationships, are consistent with the teaching os the Lord. The threat to the Church lies in the fact that surprisingly few believers are sufficiently reflective about the implications of this shift to critically assess its pros and cons – to know when it is important to take a stand against the encroachment of unbiblical principles.
Regretfully, as well, a large number of Christians are not even aware that there is a change in the way people are viewing life. They are not aware that they are now living in and relating to a ‘postmodern’ society. Thus, they are still using old thinking and old ways to reach people and are not yet recognizing that they are failing miserable in the attempt.