The year 2000 seems like an eternity ago, but here we are already at 2010. And so much has changed, even (or especially) in the church world. Yesterday I reflected on four significant shifts that have taken place since the beginning of the last decade. Today I wrap it up with these...
2000: Leaders of fast-growing or high-impact churches tended to be huge, solo personalities. The staff surrounding these individuals never seemed to stay long--they would go someplace else where there was room for them also to lead. 2010: Although there are still plenty of examples of the solo-model, a study of many high-profile churches finds a team leadership model. Still with a lead pastor--others are encouraged and empowered to soar in their own leadership gifts.
2000: "Come to a service. Volunteer for a ministry. Help grow the church." None of that was bad, but it was very inward focused. The mindset was to make the church stronger and more feature-filled so that when our friends visit, it will be a great place for them to meet Christ. 2010: Added to that, there is a deep-felt sense that if we don't make a difference in the local community, then our Christianity is in question. More churches are becoming intentional about improving the statistics in their city on crime, education, poverty, hunger and violence.
2000: Nearly every church believed the philosophy of the parachurch missions agencies: "Pay, pray, and get out of the way!" They didn't want our involvement, just our money. We would spread our money to 13 different missionaries across the world and pat ourselves on the back because the global map looked great with all the pins and thread showing our impact. 2010: Some churches are beginning to move from the shot-gun approach to laser-focused missions. Some are beginning to see the value in deep, long-lasting, holistic, culture-changing, high-impact ministry in one location year after year after year.
2000: Every church was an island. You wouldn't think of working with another church across the state, and definitely not one down the street. 2010: Churches are beginning to realize we are all on the same team. Some of the turf-guarding and competitive bickering is decreasing. We are coming together for things like One Prayer and The Exponential Initiative. And we aren't worried about denominational labels or methodological leanings.
Some of these changes may seem more hopeful than real in your particular setting--but from where I sit, I'm seeing these changes. Some of them in isolated churches, and others are more wide-spread.
I could add more, but I'd rather hear your thoughts. What else do you see that has changed in the past ten years?