the weblog of Alan Knox

A 21st Century Church

Posted by on Sep 1, 2007 in blog links, community, definition, elders, fellowship, service | 6 comments

Dave Black has painted a beautiful picture of what a twenty-first century church could look like. Notice that in this image of the church, the biblical descriptions and prescriptions are taking into account and implemented. Here is his description:

What, then, might the renewed church of the twenty-first century look like? It will be a serving church. Its organizational structure will be simple, unencumbered by bureaucrats and bureaucracies. Its financial priorities will reflect a commitment to missions, local and global. Capital expenditures will be reduced and the savings earmarked for discipleship. Jobs that are currently salaried positions will be filled by volunteer help or eliminated. Denominations will make drastic reductions in funds spent on publications that are a waste of the church’s money (bulletins, Sunday School quarterlies – the Bible will be used instead – and glossy magazines). Church buildings will be used for primary and secondary Christian education. Believers will gladly work transdenominationally and cooperatively, especially at the local level. The church will proclaim the Good News of the Gospel as its first priority while not neglecting the cultural mandate. A full-fledged lay ministry will replace clericalism. Individual believers will be expected to assume specialized ministries according to their giftedness. Churches will provide regular lay training (with the seminaries assisting them) and build voluntary programs of education into their structures. Worship will no longer be confined to a single time or place. Preoccupation with church buildings will be seen for what it is – idolatry. The church will no longer cling to its prerogatives but take the form of a servant. It will refuse any longer to shun the secular. Trained pastors will become humble assistants to the “ministers” – every member. In this renewed church we will encounter disciples who take the going forth as seriously as they do the gathering. New members will be asked to specify a regular community involvement (neighborhood council, PTA, volunteer library staff, nursing home visitation, etc.) in addition to their commitment to a ministry in the church.

What do you think?


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  1. 9-1-2007

    What do I think?….
    I think I’d like to sign up right now!

    My friend just sent me a .pdf book on simple church/home church. I think he is headed in the right direction. It is very similar to many of the things noted in the post. I haven’t finished reading the information yet, but it is pretty good so far. It is by a dude named Robert Fitts and it is called THE CHURCH INTHE HOUSE: A return to simplicity. He is on the web too? Anyone heard of it?

  2. 9-2-2007


    I don’t think I’ve read that book. I hope you’ll review it for us.


  3. 9-3-2007

    I think Dave Black is headed in the direction I already see as a reality. Those in pastoral leadership that try to stand in the way of these trends will most likely find themselves in small
    “social club” churches that do not make much of an impact upon their world.

    Revolutionary1: I have a hard copy of that pdf file in Spanish.

  4. 9-3-2007

    i think as soon as we start making statements about what church should be we move in to church-idolatary, creating bluprints based on our own preferences that have more to do with the romantic quest for the perfect church then the messy, mixed of shapes, sizes and flavours that we have always had…

  5. 9-3-2007


    Thanks for the comment. It seems that Dave is simply pointing out how the church interacting with one another and with the world in the first century, and then projecting that into the 21st century. Thus, we should not look for a 1st century church – that would be impossible. However, the 21st century church should have the same characteristics as the 1st century church: love, service, sharing, caring, etc.


    Thanks for the comment. I appreciate the warning. We must always watch out for idolatry – whether the church, the Bible, or people – all of which can become objects of worship.


  6. 9-4-2007

    Sign me up.