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What will the church look like in the future?

Posted by on Aug 6, 2012 in blog links | 18 comments

What will the church look like in the future?

Randy at “Bible Study Geek” has written a very good post called “Demise and Rebirth.”

By the way, I love the title of his blog, “Bible Study Geek,” and I love that he includes the verb “grok” in the description, “Nerd Groks Word” (under the title of his blog). (HT: Robert A. Heinlein)

In this particular post, Randy foresees the demise of the modern church organizational structures. While I think the various organizations are going to hang around for awhile, I wanted to point you to his post because of the way the post ends:

What will the church look like in the future? Nothing like what you probably think of as church, that is certain.

  • Your church will be more like what you think of as a small group today.
  • Leadership structures will be flexible and dynamic.
  • Your church won’t own property.
  • No one in your church will be paid by the church.
  • Your church will demonstrate love for one another like you’ve never seen before.
  • Your church will be like your family instead of like your club.
  • You will be both a disciple and a mentor.

Randy’s “church of the future” sounds very familiar to me…


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 8-6-2012

    I’m in love with this. Seriously. Will it happen? I hope so. Will I do what I can to make it happen? Most definitely.

    I cannot abide in the cries for UNITY! while there are believers out there who refuse to desegregate for the sake of their labels and denominations. Give me simple ekklesia all day. Like Jesus wants.

  2. 8-6-2012

    Alan,I concur completely, and yes, it does sound extremely familiar.Thanks !

  3. 8-6-2012

    Praying to see that day!

  4. 8-6-2012

    Thanks everyone. One of the reasons that I shared this is that Randy’s description very much describes the church in my life (for the most part). I still know and interact with many brothers and sisters who are part of more organizational groups, but I’ve personally seen and lived what Randy describes.


  5. 8-6-2012

    Amen! And encouragement to my brother Donald…Jesus Himself is making it happen. Aren’t we blessed He invites us to “do all we can”? He will strip away the labels until there is nothing left behind them but what is clearly a field of tares. The time of awakening is here.

  6. 8-6-2012

    Let’s all pray that this happens today!

  7. 8-6-2012

    Have any of you experienced church in any of the ways that Randy described?


  8. 8-7-2012

    Have any of you experienced church in any of the ways that Randy described?

    Very much so, in a variety of ways. I may write something about this on my own blog soon. In the meantime see what you think of these posts…

  9. 8-7-2012


    Thanks for the links. I’ve been swamped with work lately, but I hope to be able to read them soon.


  10. 8-7-2012

    That’s the way we do it….mountain community …simple church!! It’s amazing!! NC

  11. 8-7-2012

    “But the evangelical church-growth mega-church seeker-sensitive monstrosity we have built is as good as dead already.”
    Randy’s post (which doesn’t apparently have any way to post comments) envisions a wholesale collapse of church organizations without very much data except wishful thinking…put it this way, if this was a formal debate on the proposition that the evangelical…church is as good as dead, there has not been enough evidence to convince the debate judges. Some churches having financial difficulties is not new, and the general decline in churches has not so much affected the more evangelical churches (so I’ve read, recently in the context of the Anglican church in the USA that abandoned most of the basic doctrines and alienated much of the membership).
    While the features of his NEW church are attractive, it is not clear that these are absent in all the present-day organization churches. Again, it feels like the opinions of someone who got thoroughly turned off by one of those “evangelical church-growth mega-church seeker-sensitive monstrosit[ies]” and has put most all the churches in the same category. I see no reason why the 7 items cannot characterize churches today…except, presumably, the lack of property and salary which do not IN THEMSELVES guarantee the presence of the other 5.

  12. 8-7-2012

    Mr. Schultz, I am in complete agreement with your comments. While this is an intriguing hypothesis, there were no real reasons given
    why he feels this way. The first question I have is, what societal changes will bring about this change? As we have seen in Eastern Europe at the end of the cold war, the pressures of communists governments ended up actually strengthing Christian churches and ended up being a big part of the fall of the iron curtain. Does Mr. Knox see an easing of socielal pressures on the church?

  13. 8-7-2012

    The idea that the organizational/institutional church (as we have known it) will not survive much longer is Randy’s… although I have read it from others as well, with evidence to back it up. Like I said in my response, I think it will hang on for a while. However, I do see more and more people recognizing and living Randy’s descriptions as “church.” In the past, I’ve been taught that this is a “small group” or “Bible study class” or “fellowship,” but couldn’t be the church without more formality, leadership, and organization. I think this mindset and way of life is changing among many followers of Jesus.


  14. 8-13-2012

    Just being prophetic. No big deal.

    Actually, I just mean it is dying and will become even more irrelevant than it already is. I suppose the institutions will exist physically for awhile yet. My prediction is based on the trajectory I have seen in my life time and extrapolation.

  15. 12-31-2012

    Interesting write-up and most probably true. And while I welcome the fact of the simplicity of the future church, I do not look forward to the reasons that will put the church in its new state.

    Most certainly this will come from a desire for deeper relationships, spiritual development and a closer walk with God. These are good. However, much of this (in my opinion) will come from the upcoming attacks on Christianity. The biggest growth in the early days of the church started in Jerusalem. It was a fantastic day for the church in that if grew exponentially. But that growth came through violent persecution.

    Let’s prepare for the “new” church….and for the upcoming persecution that will be associated with it.

  16. 7-18-2013

    We can usually tell a fruit by its root, and predicting the future of church, as nebulous a term as that is, might be more accurately guessed if we projected off the end of its long and slightly wobbly trajectory.
    I say wobbly because it seems that the Reformation fooled many into thinking there are two opposing camps, RC and the other being Protestant, not to forget the dozens of other non aligned breakaways.
    These have come to redefine good vs evil, to our great loss of spiritual eyesight. But let’s look at the root.
    I find RC and Protestant are two sides of the same coin, and that the Reformation was a knee jerk in the right direction but alas, only a knee jerk, and eventually, these two half brothers will re-unite officially.
    Roman Catholic and the big three Protestant camps of Lutheran, Calvinist and Anglican all share the same parentage. Roman Emperor Constantine birthed the original state approved model. Augustine and fellow theologians swaddled it into its teen years through the middle ages within the Holy Roman Empire, clothed in soft fluffy man pleasing heresy, and most of the Reformers discipled the beast into maturity, garbed in various vestments and diverse languages.
    But the DNA of all of them finds its source in man, not God.
    Today’s church looks like it’s a hybrid monstrosity of two species; Christ in-dwelled saints entangled with unregenerate members, both barely distinguishable from the other, both warring against each other as flesh wars against spirit.
    But cracks are appearing at the seams of this franken-body that tries to contain God and man.
    God’s Spirit can’t be contained, and He’s going to burst out in the fullness of time, and His blood bought children will follow Him.
    A clear separation is coming, and the masks will come off, revealing who is for Christ and who is not. The conflicts arising from man’s views of God that have been taking place in pockets of time and place through the ages is quickly coming to a full blown war.
    The war within the church has been between the flesh and Gods Spirit, as explained by Paul in the analogy of Hagar and Sarah, but has been cloaked behind doctrines and practices that pointed to a deeper rift. It’s been long and bloody, with villains and victims on both sides, but the final battle may prove to be one that drags the rest of the world onto the field because in the end, the only battle is between flesh and Spirit, among all races and creeds.

    I don’t think it’ll matter to us if form and formalism are maintained.
    I personally feel the quickening pulse of God throbbing in the churches veins, as He dresses for war with the real enemy, the dragon, Lucifer, who we are unaccustomed to facing.
    We’ve been hoodwinked for a millennium, fooled into chasing heretics in our own and each others camps, while the dragon has been coming around behind us unseen, even creeping into our homes and minds.
    The mixture of holy and profane must be separated, and we would do well to discuss this, teach and train our children for spiritual warfare, and preach by word and deed, the loving and just wrath of God, soon to be revealed from heaven.
    Or, we can continue to waste time on this hamster wheel, politely discussing minor differences and same-ness as the enemy of God prepares his army to consume as many unwitting victims as he can fit in his jaws.
    We MUST adopt a take no prisoners warlike mentality toward the enemy, and drop it toward all men. We must adopt a child like mentality toward God and a servant heart to men, if we are to be faithful and worthy of hearing Gods ‘well done’, and if we are to storm the gates of hell to release his victims.
    I could go on, but I know this is an uncomfortable topic for most Christians, so I’ll spare you all further angst.
    But, be prepared for what’s soon coming, unexpected, unannounced and very unwelcome by Gods people, who are largely unprepared.

  17. 7-18-2013

    Hey, I’m ALREADY in a church like this! I guess, the future is now.

  18. 7-18-2013

    Love this! Cannot wait until it is the norm.