The church is beginning to shift – strap yourself in for the ride.

Countryside as Seen from a Moving Train

Something big is happening in the worldwide church. We seem to be gearing up for a tremendous shift which will impact the way we interact with the world and with each other. It’s already happening in countless churches who have bucked the status quo and no longer rely on a performance-driven model which positions 99% of God’s people as passive spectators and dependent consumers.

I was excited to read the promotional material for the church-planting conference, Exponential ’13, which is happening in America right now. Based on the theme Discipleshift, it’s about helping churches “make disciples who make disciples” by going through five major shifts;

From reaching to making

From teaching to modeling

From attending to participating

From connecting to transforming

From attracting to releasing

Yesterday’s church fed into a mindset which allowed the majority of people to sit passively, while the professionals did all the workTomorrow’s church needs to be set up very differently to create an environment where everyone is involved, everyone is active, everyone has a voice, a value and an impact. It’s a shift which requires more than tweaking our song choices and sermon themes – it requires a rethink of how we lead, how we learn, and how we live alongside one another.

The church worldwide is starting to shift. It may take time, but there are big signs and small signs that it’s already underway. Strap in and come for the ride!



9 thoughts on “The church is beginning to shift – strap yourself in for the ride.

    • Hi Russell,

      Thanks for your article – It’s a great discussion of the shift we are going through. I like that you’ve called it “the age of design”. Doug Pagitt calls it “the Inventive Age” in his books. Seth Godin has referred to it as “the Connection Revolution” – indicating the potentially enormous shift the Internet will have on all levels of society, on the scale of the Industrial Revolution. I’ve heard some people talk of “post-postmodernism” – but that’s way too awkward to catch on. I hope to hear a usable and widely accepted phrase to describe this very real and global shift affecting the church and the rest of the world.

      I like the way you’ve contrasted modernism with postmodernism and now this new era. It makes me think of Alvin Toffler’s quote about learning, unlearning and relearning. Perhaps modernism was about construction, postmodernism about deconstruction, and we’re now coming into an age of reconstruction.

      Keep on with the process of reconstructing. Blessings in your ministry,

      – Kathleen

  1. I think it’s funny that you said this…. because I just hung out with the leaders of our last “church” traditional….. and I was actually wondering if this was going to be the next “thing” going on….. and I see it is…. it must just be a big push in the church as business world right now……. because that is exactly what i am seeing leaders learning about & trying to shift toward.

    I am very thankful it is getting “cool” now to focus on discipleship. I am praying that it truly is the Lord’s Spirit at work and not simply another new trend of the business… I can’t judge it without knowing the hearts of those leading this movement.

    Please Lord help people surrender to you. YOU JESUS are the ANSWER. YOU JESUS build your Church. You – Jesus – make us fishers of men just like you said you would!!!! By simply living life with you daily, Lord…by surrendering more & more of our lives & agenda….you mold us…….. We can teach others how to follow you….. because we are following!!!! People learn how to follow… by watching others follow…..daily. Seeing it lived out!

    I pray that surrendering to Jesus would be the focus! I pray HE would be the focus! HE is the answer!

    Sorry – I know you know this…. I just had to get it out. I want surrendered hearts!! I want MY Heart to surrender more and more!! I want less of us and more of Him!

    • Hi Randi,

      I think you have a pioneer’s heart – filled with vision for what could lie ahead. The hard part of that is the frustration of not seeing things shift fast enough. The traditional church is going to take longer than we’d like to cross the gap – but we need to be encouraged by every little step in the right direction.


      – Kathleen

      • thank you for your encouragement!!! 🙂 YOU encourage me and the Lord encourages me that His will truly WILL BE accomplished!!! <3 and it's just true that things are never in my way or time….. but always in His way & His time. and that frustration is a cross we carry. <3

  2. I believe you are right in how things should go. I hope you are right in how things will go. I’d be interested to hear more examples that this is indeed happening.

    • Hi UncleE!

      I’ve got my optimist hat on – I’m willing to get excited about baby steps and slogans, and cross my fingers hoping that real change will eventually come. I know every church won’t “get it”, but there sure are a lot of frustrated people who do! I am genuinely excited that thinkers such as Deb & Alan Hirsch, Neil Cole, etc are being given a voice and platform to encourage conventional churches to shift their mindset. The optimist in me is hoping and trusting God will move in big and small ways in this time.

      Change takes a very long time to spread through the whole population. By the time the “early majority” are on board, the “innovators” are already on to something else – and they are 3 or 4 stages ahead by the time the “late majority” wake up and get moving. When you’re up the front and look behind, it can look like nobody has moved – don’t lose hope. Some of them have. 🙂


      – Kathleen

        • Yes, I follow them both on Twitter and read many of Felicity’s articles. I was chuffed to be asked to write a few articles for the new House2House Magazine website, which Felicity also writes for (as well as Neil Cole, Frank Viola, Alan Knox, Miguel Labrador, Jon Zens – ok, I’ll stop name-dropping now) – a huge honour for me!!! Of course, I haven’t met any of them in real life, except Alan Hirsch – my husband was a Forge intern studying under him while he was still in Australia.

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