We are seeing a large number of new alternatives to the traditional format of the local church. There are micro-models and macro-models (see the previous day’s blog). Will there be a macro-model, similar in magnitude to the congregational format of the local church, to replace that dominate but declining model? It does not seem likely. In fact, some extensions of the congregational model, such as the ‘emergent’ or ‘postmodern’ congregations, really are not new models but simply minor refinements of the reigning model.
Ultimately, we should expect to see believers choosing from a proliferation of options, weaving together a set of favoured alternatives into a unique tapestry that constitutes the personal ‘church’ of the individual.
While this patchwork of spiritual experiences and expressions will produce a seemingly incoherent and indecipherable religious landscape, it will also render people’s spiritual lives more exciting because they will be able to respond to immediate needs and possibilities. The fragmented nature of the new approach to spirituality, often lamented by analysts as an unfortunate consequence of our disjointed culture and spiritually illiterate population, will become the advantage that facilitates a deeper commitment to spiritual focus by millions of young people.
As for the revolution, it is composed of millions of people who have already embraced the freedom and excitement introduced through new macro- and micro-models. The central message of the current revolution rings out from these experiences: revolutionaries (true disciples of Jesus embracing change) will respond to the presence and principles of God whenever and wherever possible, without regard to historical or societal inhibitions. The standard that concerns revolutionaries is simple: does the mechanism provide a way of advancing my faith, without compromising Scripture or any of the passions of a true believer?
Next time we will look at the Leader of the revolution – Jesus the revolutionary.