“The (church planting) movement will discover that many church plants are reproducing outdated models of what is already not working. As the culture slips into the post-Christian mindset of Europe, much of what we do will no longer work and will be as useful as an eight-track tape. Some of our box church plants will be known as ‘the last of the dinosaurs’ or ‘erected monuments to a dying form of Christianity.’
Church planting is thriving, and therefore Christianity is no longer in decline. What is in decline, however, is the type of church that is ineffective in this brave new world. Churches that are attractional don’t pull in Europe. They are viewed with suspicion by those who understand the sheer amount of money being collected annually. They suspect that these churches are money-making machines, rife with corruption. As the culture shifts away from trusting the church, smaller communities that place more emphasis on personal spirituality, experiencing God and providing community will be better received.” (Peyton Jones – Outreach Magazine, January/February 2015, page 62)
As we have been discussing – there is a new wineskin needed today in the world. At one time I would have said that it was needed only in the west. But, because it is the west that has influenced the world “for Jesus” and spread it’s marketable self-centred gospel that’s not a gospel … and, with it, the organizational and structural forms that produce this western brand of ‘church’ … I would now say that almost all nations need to look at that is happening in the Kingdom and examine the wineskins they are using – and the ones they are transplanting as they plant churches. I believe we have a worldwide problem as the western church has reproduced what they have. It is no longer working. It is no longer business as usual. It is no longer relevant. Many will stay with the old wineskins and the old wine. But, for those who want to move forward with the Lord and continue their journey of faith; for those wanting to impact their neighbourhood and world – new wineskins will be needed. And, they just might look different in each and every neighbourhood and nation. The “MacDonald’s Franchise” box churches no longer work – if they ever did.
So, each location and each group of disciples of Jesus will need to pray and discover for themselves the steps they need to take locally, nationally, and internationally as they find a form that allows the life of God to grow and reproduce. No longer will we erect monuments to a dying form of Christianity or preach and export a gospel that is North American and not biblical.
I up for nit – I hope you are to. In fact, I’m already on this journey of discovery.