Archivos de la categoría ‘3DM Discipulado’


By Ruth Malhotra , CP Guest Contributor

francis chan

(Photo: Passion 2013 Conferences)
Francis Chan, best-selling author of Crazy Love and Erasing Hell, speaks to some 60,000 students at the Passion 2013 conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013.

ATLANTA – Francis Chan, best-selling author of Crazy Love and Erasing Hell, founding pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, Calif., and founder of Eternity Bible College, spoke to the 60,000+ attendees at the Passion 2013 Conference this past week with a message focused on the importance of making disciples and the reality that God is always faithful and trustworthy even when people are not.

“I want the joy of knowing that I am doing something with my life, the joy of battle,” Chan said on Wednesday night. “It has been a rough year for me and I’m actually grateful for that. I come out of it and say it was a great year. It was difficult, but God has done amazing things, and man, was it good.”

Evangelism and discipleship were key themes throughout Chan’s message. “If you really want to experience God, go and make disciples,” he told the students, admitting that he has sometimes been cowardly in starting spiritual conversations with strangers. “One of my biggest fears – maybe my biggest weakness as a Christian – is that I have a hard time going up to a stranger and talking to them about Jesus.”

But as Chan started witnessing more boldly and intentionally, “amazing things began to happen,” he shared, likening his journey to that of the Apostle Paul in Acts 16. “I began to experience God more than ever before. I’ve seen more answers to prayer, more supernatural things happen in my life.”

Chan’s desire to cultivate boldness in discipleship led him and his wife, Lisa, to start a church planting movement in the inner city of San Francisco. “We have church on Sunday afternoons, which consists of me speaking for 5-10 minutes, us singing for 5-10 minutes, then everyone going out for two hours and witnessing in lower income neighborhoods. After that we come back and share with each other what happened and how the experience was,” Chan described, adding that he is also working to launch a nationwide discipleship movement.

The California pastor emphasized the essential role of the Holy Spirit in empowering believers, quoting from Acts 1:8, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,” and telling attendees that they must always rely on God’s power to accomplish great things. “For those of you who say, ‘I don’t experience God,’ my question for you is, ‘Are you out there making disciples?'”

A common pitfall in the lives of believers is a lack of trust in God, something that often stems from broken human relationships, Chan said.

“Every year in my life I trust fewer and fewer people,” he acknowledged, holding up his Bible. “It’s been a crazy journey, but every year I am more and more sure about the words in this Book. God’s promises – everything He has written in this Book – can absolutely be trusted.”

Chan quoted several scripture verses from the Old and New Testaments to demonstrate God’s pattern of faithfulness across generations. “If you are faithless, God remains faithful because He can’t stop being who He is,” Chan explained, saying that God never breaks His promises and always remains true to His attributes. “There is such a beautiful picture of this in scripture, and my favorite is from the book of Hosea, where God wanted Hosea to marry a whore so he could show Israel what it was like to be married to her,” said Chan. “That was all a picture of what God does. He wants to buy us back, regardless of what we have done.”

Chan warned against selective focus on scriptures based on personal expediency and expressed the need to balance God’s love with His wrath, lamenting the fact that many Christians ignore certain parts of the Bible due to the way they were raised by their parents or their faith tradition. “Some of you trust God’s promises of blessing, but you don’t trust His threats of punishment,” he said. “So often in our culture, we say we’ll do something then we back off. But you can lean upon God’s Word; if He promises something, He will come through.”

Chloe Lorence, 18, of Fairfax, Va., who is currently a homeschooled senior, reflected that several examples from Chan’s message resonated with her. “He seems to understand what it’s like to struggle as a person, especially when it comes to trusting other people and projecting that on God.” Lorence said, “The way the speakers open up about their own trials and joys really makes Passion attractive, and it’s unlike any other Christian gathering I’ve ever experienced.”

http://www.christianpost.com


Carlos Scott

Nuestra vocación: semejantes a Jesús

 Designó a doce, a quienes nombró apóstoles, para que lo acompañaran y para enviarlos a predicar y ejercer autoridad para expulsar demonios ” Mr. 3:14-15

 

 Jesús ejemplificó lo que es el discipulado cristiano. Marcos registra el primer elemento en esta preparación: Jesús, tomando la iniciativa, llamó a sus discípulos para que “estuviesen con él”  (Mr. 3:14 R-V).

Aquí se encuentra la característica básica de su modelo de discipulado: la relación interpersonal entre el maestro y su discípulo.  Compartía con sus discípulos no sólo sus ideas, sino también su persona, su carácter, su ser mismo . Revelaba su ternura, su preocupación por la gente, su identificación con los que sufren. Un mensaje de arrepentimiento, perdón y restauración: las buenas noticias, el evangelio (Mr. 1:14-15).

“Todo el que está bien formado será como su maestro” (Lc. 6:40 BJ). La meta del seguimiento de Jesús es ser como él. Compartir la vida con Jesús y acompañarle por todas partes apuntaban a la transformación del discípulo: la transformación de su carácter, sus valores, sus prioridades en la vida, su acercamiento a la gente.

Los nombró “apóstoles” (Mr. 3.14), personas enviadas para cumplir sus instrucciones, ser sus testigos y ser sus misioneros. Marcos resume las palabras de Jesús en pocas palabras: “…y para enviarlos…” (3.14). Ser “pescadores de hombres” (Mr. 1:17) ilustra bien la obra de Jesús acerca de involucrar a sus seguidores. El tiempo de aprendizaje en contacto íntimo con Jesús, por importante que fuera, no podía ser un fin en sí. “Como el Padre me envió a mí, así yo los envío a ustedes” (Jn. 20.21). “Salieron y exhortaban a la gente a que se arrepintiera”, expulsando demonios y sanando enfermos (Mr. 6:12-13). La misión que inició Jesús apela a la persona entera y se dirige a resolver necesidades en todas las áreas de su vida: su relación con Dios, su estado espiritual y psíquico, su bienestar físico. ”

 ¿QUE IMPLICA ESTE LLAMAMIENTO?
 El llamado es una invitación y lo nuestro debe ser una respuesta . Somos llamados a ser discípulos de Jesucristo, Mateo 11: 28-30, Efesios 4: 1-3.

•  1- Es un proceso que dura toda la vida , comienza, continua y no tiene fin. No dice: ¡ya llegue! Dura toda la vida y nadie puede decir ya me gradué.

•  2- Es un modo de vida . Un modo de pensar distinto. Es la mente de Cristo en contraposición con la mente del mundo secular sin Dios.

•  3- Es la calidad de la relación . Jesús y yo, con nosotros mismos y la relación con otros seres humanos.

•  4- Es la profundidad de la entrega y el compromiso bien pensado . Es profundo, no superficial. Afecta todo nuestro ser y distingue quien es discípulo de aquel que no lo es.

“Todos pueden entrar en la profundidad de este compromiso. No se necesita tener un título de grado, ser sabio, intelectual, culto, profesional, pastor o misionero. No hace diferencia entre pobres y ricos, joven o adulto, el que tiene mucha educación y el que no la tiene. Es una invitación abierta para todos y no excluye a nadie. Nunca se llega a ser demasiado viejo para comenzar el proceso. Dios sea alabado por todo esto.”

 Son pocos los que comienzan este proceso. Es una demanda grande. Es pensar diferente a la sociedad secular. Es el llamado a ver las cosas de una manera diferente; a la manera de Jesús . El Rey de Reyes y Señor de Señores se acerca y se abre hacia nosotros. Nos dice “yo te amo como un estudiante”, “ven y yo te voy a formar”, nos capacita y ser discípulo es el único requerimiento o respuesta. Cualquier persona en cualquier lugar puede entrar en la profundidad de este compromiso. Jesús nos invita a estar con él, andar con él y aprender de él. Es un requerimiento que debe durar toda la vida.

 El discipulado no es un medio para un fin. Es el objetivo final . Se basa en estar respondiendo cada día. Muchos son llamados, se hacen “cristianos” pero pocos califican como discípulos. Muchos comienzan y pocos siguen. Muchos responden pero son pocos los que aceptan las condiciones y experimentan poder. Un discípulo es una persona que da respuesta a ese llamado siguiendo a su maestro (Mateo 11:28). Es saber que hay futuro. Ser discípulo es confiar en Dios en toda situación por las perspectivas del futuro. Las cosas dependen de Él y no de nosotros. Un discípulo es alguien que conoce su identidad; nuestra historia puede cambiar.

 ¿Cuáles son algunas características de este discipulado?:

•  1-   Es alguien que acepta las condiciones o “el yugo” . “Carguen con mi yugo” (Mateo 11:29). El yugo implica estar unido a otro. La idea que se describe es aceptar “las condiciones”. No es una tontería. La tontería es rechazar las condiciones.

•  2-   Es alguien que aprende.  “Aprendan de mí”, dice el Señor (Mateo 11:29). Es alguien que se somete a la enseñanza. En este aprendizaje el Señor nos enseña las cualidades o el modelo a seguir (Filipenses 2:5-8):
– Él fue un siervo por lo tanto me transformó en siervo. Es “servir” a otros hombres pero no dominarlos y controlarlos.
– Es tener unanimidad con los planes del Padre y que Dios sea exaltado en “todo”. Es vaciarse de uno mismo para estar presente ante otros. Rebajarnos, humillarnos, ser obedientes.
– Es alguien que sale buscando a la gente. Llama a otros para que conozcan al Señor.

•  3-   Es alguien que reacciona como Él . Ser mansos y humildes. “Yo soy apacible y humilde de corazón” (Mateo 11:29). No siempre lo somos.

•  4- Es alguien que experimenta poder . “Porque mi yugo es suave y mi carga es liviana” (Mateo 11:30). Cuando me doblego ante el maestro las condiciones se transforman en suaves y la carga es liviana. Somos llamados a experimentar el poder sobrenatural de Dios en nuestras vidas.

 Preguntas para la reflexión:
¿Qué entiendo por vocación y ocupación? ¿Qué es ser discípulo?
¿Cuál es nuestra respuesta a la voluntad del Padre?
¿Cómo esta nuestra relación con Jesucristo y la comunidad del reino de Dios?
¿Cómo es nuestro seguimiento?
¿Seguidores de quién?

Autores: Carlos Scott
©Protestante Digital 2012

Creative Commons

How to Become a Student of Jesus

Publicado: septiembre 5, 2012 en 3DM Discipulado

by Ben Sternke on September 4, 2012

Post image for How to Become a Student of Jesus

In this “back to school” season I thought it would be appropriate to write for a bit on what it looks like to become a student of Jesus. Ultimately this is what it means to “follow” Jesus. We become his apprentices in kingdom living, as Dallas Willard puts it. We enroll in his school. Becoming a disciple of Jesus means that we sign up for his course of study.

What does that look like? How do we become students of Jesus? I believe one of the most prevalent hindrances to discipleship is simply the fact that people think that “following Jesus” is just another word for “regular church-goer” or “good person.” It’s worth being clear on what it actually means to become a student of Jesus. After all, Jesus himself made a clear distinction between those who were his disciples and those who just followed him around.

I am thinking specifically of a story in Luke 14:25-35 where Jesus makes several challenging statements to the “large crowds” that were following him. Three times he uses conditional phrases to illustrate what it means to be his disciple. Taking these three conditional statements at face value, it would seem that becoming a disciple of Jesus involves:

  1. Hating your biological family (v.26)
  2. Embracing a brutal instrument of torture and execution being used on you (v.27)
  3. Giving up everything you have (v.33)

What do these statements mean? Why is Jesus being so un-meek-and-mild here?

Jesus is simply telling the crowds, and us, what it looks like to enroll in his school of life in God’s kingdom. To get into a program of study at a university, you would need to fulfill a few pre-requisites, fill out an application, and pay a matriculation fee. In the same way, there are “pre-requisites” associated with becoming a disciple of Jesus. As Jesus himself said, calling him “Lord” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re actually a disciple.

A disciple of Jesus is simply someone who is with Jesus to learn from Jesus how to be like Jesus. It will involve loving Jesus and putting his teaching into practice. It will involve re-arranging your life and priorities so that you can do the things he said were best. And to enroll in this course of study, Jesus says you must…

1. Prioritize discipleship above everything else. Talking about hating your family is Jesus using hyperbole to make the point that being his disciple cannot be an “add-on” to your life. It must become your life. To be a disciple of Jesus means that you prioritize putting his teaching into practice above everything else in your life. Following Jesus needs to take precedence over what your parents want from you, even what your spouse wants from you, even what (pastors take note!) your congregation wants from you. To act otherwise simply means Jesus is not your Lord. Someone or something else is, and the discipling relationship simply won’t work. Jesus will just be giving you advice that you’ll eventually reject because it will conflict with whatever is actually most important to you.

2. Completely die to your old life. Carrying your cross doesn’t mean that we might have a hard time every once in awhile. A Roman cross was not a minor inconvenience, it was a brutal instrument of torture and execution. To carry your cross meant that you were walking to your own execution. It meant certain death. This means that discipleship to Jesus involves dying to our old life, dying to a life of trying to get what we want, dying to self-will. Being a student of Jesus means really putting an end to your old life, making a clean break from it. No holding on to a few elements of it “just in case it doesn’t work out.”

3. Give up everything you have. This is similar to #1 above. Becoming a student of Jesus means that he has say over your whole life, not just the “religious” part. There was once a rich young ruler who wanted to follow Jesus but in the end he couldn’t because he wasn’t willing to give up his wealth. He wanted to hang around Jesus, but couldn’t be his disciple because his real Lord was his wealth.

I’m sure this all seems like an unrealistically high bar to our comfortable, postmodern Western ears, but these were Jesus’ own words to the “large crowds” that were following him. He wanted them to be aware of what it actually meant to follow him as a disciple. Perhaps we need to hear them today as well, when it’s easy to be part of “large crowds” that think Jesus is a great guy that can help them with their struggles, but really need to understand what it looks like to become his student in kingdom living.

We owe it to ourselves and our congregations to be as clear as Jesus was on this.

http://bensternke.com/


by BEN STERNKE

Post image for Renaming, Rethinking, or Really Re-forming?Yesterday my brother Aaron (who leads a great worship band, btw)tweeted the following:

All our iPhones now say 4G. Not because they are faster, but because AT&T changed the name of their 3G network to 4G. Sermon illustration?

I have no idea if this is actually what AT&T did, but it struck me as a great parable for one way that we often try to take shortcuts in leadership: instead of doing the hard work of really building a culture of discipleship and mission, we just re-brand what we currently have.

 

RENAMING

The renaming shortcut is thinking that if we start using new nomenclature, people will “get it” and change will come. The word “missional” oftentimes gets used this way, when leaders add it to the language of their church without really taking the time to investigate the implications of its theology. Like renaming an existing 3G data network “4G” and expecting it to do the trick. Or renaming small groups “discipleship groups” and expecting disciples to come out of them.

Language does create culture, so it’s vitally important that we use language that creates a discipling culture, but it’s not enough to start talking differently. You also have to start living differently as a leader, because you reproduce who you are, not what you say. You can’t just tweak your lingo, freshen up the logo, and expect any real change to take place. Renaming isn’t enough.

RETHINKING

There’s another leadership shortcut we often try to take, I think: being content with rethinking stuff. At the Ecclesia National Gathering earlier this week, Don Coleman (a man I deeply admire) said this:

It’s easy for us to talk about doing something so much that we think we’re doing it.

(He also said, “If sitting in rows listening to someone talk could change the world, we would have done it by now,” and “You say ‘I go to a church that teaches the Bible.’ So what? Go to a church that lives the Bible.’” Which is why I like him so much.)

Coleman points out another leadership trap that we “missional church” folks are especially prone to: assuming that it’s enough to rethink things. It’s easy for us to assume that if we’ve gracefully teased out and deftly articulated our theology that we’ve really accomplished something. But it’s not enough to write a book or cleverly broadcast forgotten truths. We need to put this stuff into practice and see how it plays out in real life.

RE-FORMING

Beyond just renaming and rethinking, what we’re aiming for is re-forming our churches around discipleship and mission. This will involve the painful work of embracing brokenness and weakness so God’s power can flow through us. It will involve examining our lives and undergoing personal transformation before attempting organizational change. It will involve exploring the assumptions we’ve made and opening ourselves up to new ways of leading.

It will involve not being content with the shortcuts of renaming or rethinking things, but only with a genuine re-forming of structures and practices around discipleship to Jesus and mission in his name.


Mike Breen

Earlier this month, Mike Foster wrote an article entitled “Why I don’t believe in Christian Accountability” and it whipped around the web like you might expect. I’ve read it a few times now and I thought it was worthy enough to write a response because it’s such an important topic if we’re going to wrestle through the issues of discipleship mission. Now I don’t know Mike, but I have friends who do and really enjoy him and find him to be an incredibly kind, thoughtful and humble guy. After reading his post, I’m sure he is. To be fair to him, he does have some very compelling things to say in this post, but I think there are a few things he misses that are critical for us.

In essence, this is the crux of his argument:

  • Christian accountability doesn’t work and is mostly toxic for those who participate.
  • It doesn’t work because of lack of grace, bad environments where we are held accountable, we often lie if we want to escape being held accountable (“gaming the system”) and often hurts more people than it helps.
  • Therefore, we should get rid of the whole notion of Christian accountability.

Now before you think he’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater (which is how I perceived on my first read), he then advocates for a “different” thing:

  • Instead of “accountability”, let’s be “advocates”, people who are fellow supporters and intercessors. He believes a new word is needed.
  • These “advocates” should demonstrate radical grace, focus on what people are saying yes to (and not just what they are saying no to), prioritize people and not organizations.
  • Lastly, have different environments where people and groups have different levels of access for you to be honest, rather than restricting it to one group and have a “First Call” where there is at least one person who has 100% access to the whole of your life.

First things first, it becomes pretty clear that Mike Foster believes in accountability, he just doesn’t like the word because of the way people abuse it. In the same way that people don’t like to be called Christians and instead call themselves “Christ Followers,” his proposal is probably close to the way that most people would ideally see Christian accountability happening.

What I’d like to do is perhaps push his thought a bit further and add a bit of nuance.

You see, the way that Mike seems to describe the purpose of accountability or advocacy (and the way most people seem to) seems to be making sure you are doing certain things and not doing other things. And there is something I think he taps into. Many Christians approach this life as if there is a giant check-list in the sky of do’s and don’ts. Now to be sure, there are things that we can say are “Godly” and things that aren’t, and we should walk the way of the straight and narrow, but what I’m concerned with is the process of doing so.

The way I hear people talk about it, faith is mostly about doing the right things, as if it’s all about behavior modification, or as Dallas Willard calls it, “sin management.”

But clearly this isn’t the way Jesus thinks about it.

He says, “Most people think about the outside of the cup or dish, but the inside is filthy. I’m telling you to worry about the inside first.” His position seemed to be if you attended to the inside, the outside would certainly follow suit. Over and over again in the Sermon on the Mount, he seems to be saying,

“Guys, I’m talking about a new reality! It used to be about just following the rules. But the problem with that is it never got to the heart of things. The issue isn’t murder or lying or adultery. Don’t do those things, but seriously, what are your motivations? What’s causing your heart to take you to these places? I’m telling you that if you even entertain the thought of adultery, you might as well be doing it. A sin is a sin is a sin. Let’s start working on the heart.”

It’s about a new reality for Jesus.

Now I’m not suggesting that we should ignore giant holes in our life like drug addiction, affairs, lying, etc and draw lines in the sand, but I am suggesting the more we focus on orienting the inner parts of our life towards God and his coming Kingdom, the more our behavior will reflect this change.

That’s why Jesus says in Mark 1:
The time has come. The Kingdom is near. Repent and Believe the Good News!

You Repent, then you Believe.

Repent is the word metanoia, which refers to an inner reality. It’s about changing your mind. It’s about re-orientation. It’s about coming to understand reality and setting ourselves to live in it. Seeing things differently.

Believe (often used for the word faith as well) is the word pisteuo, which speaks to a certainty that results in action. It’s not blind faith, it’s a bit like experienced knowledge. It’s saying, “I believe the sun will rise tomorrow so I’ll set my alarm.” The belief results in action. It’s that your actions tell everyone what you believe. It’s not blindly believing that God is good; it’s about knowing that God is good because you’ve seen and experienced his unending goodness and that changes the way you live.

The problem is that we’ve often reversed it and that’s what I read in Mike’s post. We make faith about an abstract reality, something we believe “out there” and repentance is something we “do.” We’ve flipped it!

Let’s take a common “accountability” example. For men, you often hear about them struggling with pornography and the usual accountability group or teaching goes something like this: “You struggle with porn? That’s wrong. You need to stop. Stop looking at it.” That’s what repentance looks like in this system. But that’s not how repentance is discussed in the Bible. The real question is WHY. Why can’t you stop looking at it? What inside of you that needs to be redeemed, is causing that behavior?  If we don’t address the inside, we end up with Jesus’ parable: A clean dish on the outside (well, at least most of the time) with something quite dirty on the inside.

But Jesus gives us a fantastic picture of how we should address this. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount he closes with the well-known parable of the wise and foolish builder. The foolish person isn’t the person who doesn’t hear what Jesus has to say; he’s the person who hears but doesn’t do anything with what he hears. Both the wise and the foolish man hear what Jesus says, but only one does something with it.

It’s not management of sin, it’s the development of wisdom. The whole of Matthew 7 is about accountability. If you’ve heard the word, you ought to do something about it.

I think it’s incredibly harmful to boil accountability down to a list of things we should/shouldn’t do. That’s behavior modification and sin management, not faith in our Lord Jesus! It should include questions of integrity and character, but it’s missing an important element, an element that Jesus introduces in this parable, the two fundamental questions of Christian Spirituality:

  • What is God saying to you right now?
  • What are you going to do about it?

It’s a posture of recognition that God is speaking to us, he’s inviting us more fully into his Kingdom every single day…and are we going to do anything with that?

  • Maybe God is saying he’s never been more proud of you. What should you do about that? How will life be different in the next week because he’s said that to you?
  • Maybe God is saying you to forgive your Father and now is the time. What should you do about it?
  • Maybe God is saying that job promotion isn’t right for you even though it’s more money. What are you going to do about it?
  • Maybe God has put a vision in your heart for your neighborhood. What are you going to do about it?

God is constantly speaking to us and is inviting us to himself and his unfolding Kingdom. His desire is that the words he speaks deep into us will change the way we see the world around us (Repentance) and result in us living differently (Belief).

What if much of the way we build our structures for accountability revolved around those questions? What if it revolved around the idea that God wasn’t always looking crossly at us, but was reaching out to us, inviting us into a different way of living? What if accountability was more about stepping into the Kingdom because God has spoken something fresh and new to us and we want to make sure we take those steps?

What if it was about the inside changing and then the outside following suit?

As I think about this, one thing comes to mind mind:

  • It would mean people would need to learn to hear God. Most people I meet really have very little idea how to listen to God, hear what he’s saying…much less respond to what he’s asking. But the word “disciple” means learner, in the original Greek. So that’s good news for us! It means we can learn to hear the voice of our Father, even if we are starting off at a place where we hear very little.

 

http://mikebreen.wordpress.com/

Lent teaching series is here!

Publicado: febrero 8, 2012 en 3DM Discipulado

Mike Breen
 

As promised, for all of you out there who observe the season of Lent (or would be interested in trying!) as we head into Easter, we have released a Lent teaching series  (Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, is February 22) that you can download and use in your church/ministry community. This picture is the series slide and the official name of the series is LIVE FAST (yes, a clever double entendre). You can download it from our Room1228 download portal by clicking here. See below for all that the download includes, but here’s the series intro video. Personally, I think the visual storytelling by Blake Berg is absolutely brilliant.

The teaching series will include:

  • Teaching notes
  • Series video
  • Background slides
  • Small Group discussion guides
  • Small Group leader guides
  • + a few more extras

You can download it from our Room1228 download portal by clicking here

http://mikebreen.wordpress.com


Mike Breen

If you’ll remember, a few weeks ago I posted a question asking what you thought the church would look like in the next decade. You can read the post here (we had a number of really good responses).

Recently, Sam Rainer and the Rainer Research Group released a futurist study on what they believe to be 10 unexpected trends in church-life by the year 2020. I’ve posted those trends and some of their thoughts with it.

When you read it, what do you think? What connects for you? What misses?

The heterogeneous church explodes
Perhaps the most important, this first trend involves not only pragmatic issues, but theological issues as well. As the younger generation ages, they will not be represented by the homogeneous unit principal that was championed in the early years of the church growth movement. Basically, this principal states that people desire to worship and serve in church with similar people, and the best way to reach people is with others who are similar.

Boomers began to change this thinking. Many sought diversity — they intentionally championed it. For many Millennials, diversity (or heterogeneity) is normal. In the future, homogenous units will still form — there’s a reason why people attend Star Trek conventions (though it is lost on me). People with common interests, characteristics, life stages and languages will still gravitate towards each other. The difference with the younger generation is that these divides will not be as distinct, specifically in ethnic terms. The United States will be minority white by 2042 — preschools much sooner, by 2021. The Millennial generation will gravitate towards heterogeneous churches because they represent what is normal in their generation.

The diverse church will explode in growth over the next 10 years. And instead of looking at this trend through the lens of pragmatic church growth practices, I believe it needs to be viewed as a picture of the Gospel. What man segregates, the Gospel unifies. Get on board with this trend not because it will grow your church, but rather because it was God’s plan for his church from the beginning.

Church attendance continues to decline
People do not wake up one Sunday and decide to leave their church. They phase out; they begin by attending less frequently. This problem is pervasive throughout the North American church. While myriad individual, spiritual reasons exist why people attend less, decreasing frequency of attendance is the single biggest macro reason for overall church declines. For example, a church has 400 people that attend four out of four weeks. This attendance frequency equates to an average attendance of 400. But if this same church has 400 people that attend two out of four weeks, average attendance is cut in half to 200.

To reduce the problem of declining attendance frequency, church leaders will begin to track not only how many attend, but also how frequently they attend as well. I am not advocating legalistic superciliousness — that every time the church doors are open people must be there. But the family that once attended almost every week and now attends 10 times a year is gradually leaving the church.

The conservative drift draws more
While the overall attendance decline will hit churches of all types and denominations, growing churches will typically be the more theologically conservative congregations. The Millennials will either go to conservative churches, or they will not go at all.

Deep teaching gets more popular
Coupled with a theologically conservative drift, many growing churches will get deeper theologically and more popular. Many young adult dropouts left the church because they desired deeper teaching. The superficial anomalies will most likely still exist, but churches that challenge people to greater biblical depths will proliferate while others languish in their own shallowness.

Boomer ministries boom
Boomers will be a different type of senior. In fact, don’t call Boomers “seniors.” They are not part of their parents’ generation — they aren’t seniors. How senior adult ministry was done with the previous generation will not be as favorable with the Boomer generation. There is just as large a generation gap between the Boomers and the Greatest Generation as there is between Boomers and their children. Boomers don’t get on buses and visit places with their friends. If you’re wondering why your “senior” ministry keeps getting smaller and older, and no “fresh faces” are joining, it’s because Boomers don’t want to be lumped in with their parents.

Ministries to families grow
The largest generation is no longer the Boomers. The Millennials now lay claim to that title. According to LifeWay Research, the number one priority among the Millennial generation is family. Millennials desire to stay connected with not only their immediate family, but their extended family as well. Ministries to families have always been important but will increase as this youngest generation begins their own.

Staff positions evolve
For churches to remain healthy, staff structures will change between now and the next 10 years. As children’s ministries become more diverse, children’s ministers with experience in and a passion for diversity will become more important. As multi-site churches become more prevalent with more sites, administrators will need to become more skilled at managing a network of ministries. As churches refocus their programs and activities around a tight discipleship process, the old paradigm of hierarchical structures will fade as a plurality of local church leadership emerges.

The importance of the church building is renewed
The church is not a building, but a building is where the church meets. And buildings are the most expensive part of discipleship. In North America people go to buildings to do things — they go to the game in an arena, to the doctor at her office, to school in the classroom, and to the movie at the theater. Part of our culture is the expectation that things happen in buildings. This cultural expectation is true of the church — people go to church to be discipled.

Not all churches have buildings, nor am I advocating that they should. But church facilities are one of the most expensive and most critical tools church leaders use in shepherding God’s people. In short, buildings are important pieces in God’s mission of building his kingdom. Many building and design firms are becoming more intentional about creating space with the purpose of making disciples. In the next ten years, this focus will continue to grow. And churches will begin to view their buildings as part of their discipleship process.

Charismatic leadership becomes less prevalent
Charismatic leadership is based on the personality and charisma of a senior leader. Transformational leadership is based on the collective vision of an entire group. Both have their place, even in the church. A popular teacher should not lessen his or her charisma to detract followers. When the entire ministry structure is in place to elevate the leader, however, is when major problems arise.Charismatic teachers and leaders will always exist, but transformational leadership will become more popular in the coming decade.

Transformational leaders inspire people to reach for a common goal. They develop, train, and mentor future talent. They empower people to accomplish tasks. Creativity, transparency and authenticity are valued. Leaders and followers alike know what the goal is and how to achieve it. These leaders show everyone the big picture and why it’s important. The next 10 years will bring a fresh focus on local pastors leading local churches to become focused on a local mission.

Growth in video-venues slows down
The trend towards more transformational leadership will quell the popularity of video-venues in which a single teaching pastor is projected to multiple sites. The Internet and podcast boom brought with it a cultural wave of electronic teaching. While this trend has been positive — more sound teaching is readily available (for free) than ever before. Eventually, however, the wired generation will desire a more local, personal touch than the man-on-the-screen. By 2020, more campuses at multi-site churches will feature a campus pastor who teaches, and more people will seek out this type of local connection.