Changes happens and much of it is out of control. We have to understand and adjust to the times like the Men of Issachar (1 Chron. 12.32). This chapter expresses a bunch of shifts in the church.
From Programs to Processes
There are many experts eager to transport their programs, but Stetzer has learned that things don’t work universally. Instead churches need to focus on eternal purposes, but be willing to put together organic processes that function together, much like the human body.
From Demographics to Discernment
The church is moving, and needs to move, from demographics on a spreadsheet to understanding their local communities and getting to know why people are not being reached, who haven’t responded. It is a matter of really knowing who people are, rather than what demographic studies say they should be like.
From Models to Missions
Instead of transplanting models from megachurches, the trend is becoming to approach our communities like missionaries. Some helpful diagnostic questions:
1. What style of worship/music will best help this group to worship in spirit and truth?
2. What evangelism methods should I use here to reach the most people without compromising the gospel?
3. What structure of church would best connect with this community?
4. How can this church be God’s missionary to this community?
There’s some things that won’t work in one community, but will thrive in another.
From Attractional to Incarnational
“Nonrelational evangelism” is now seen as a contradiction. This isn’t to say there is no need for attractional ministry, but the fact that it needs to be grounded in relationships. The attractional model has worked well, but now we need to go out and reach people by being incarnational. A model mentioned is small groups that are organized by area where the group would live out the gospel and transform their community.
From Uniformity to Diversity
Not all churches should be the same. There’s no need to talk other churches down, but to make sure we’re focused on the same thing: “to glorify God by being an indigenous expression of church life where they are” (p. 66).
From Professional to Passionate
Church planting and ministry used to be the realm of the seminary-trained, but not any longer. With house churches cropping up, it has become clear – and it is biblical – that “ordinary believers should be able to do the ordinary activity of planting and pastoring churches” (p. 67).
From Seating to Sending
Bigger isn’t better anymore. Now it is a matter of moving from “every member a minister to every member a missionary.” The movement is less on building big churches and more on transforming communities by planting new churches – that’s Stetzer’s passion.
From Decisions to Disciples
There shouldn’t be a disconnect between reaching people and building them up. Don’t separate from evangelism and discipleship. The Bible doesn’t. A disciple is someone committed to growth of the inner life and living missionally.
From Additional to Exponential
People like the idea of multiplication of disciples, but Stetzer notes, in North America, “there is not much addition going on, let alone multiplication” (p. 69). Stetzer beats the church planting drum again. They lose a chunk of people and try to birth churches that are “born pregnant,” eager to plant other churches. It gives God great opportunities to grow.
From Monuments to Movements
We tend to turn movements into monuments, but we need to be about God’s mission without waiting until our church is just a little bigger.
Breaking the Code
1. Identify specific areas listed in this chapter where you need to transition to a more missional approach.
2. Describe how these specific areas need to be transformed in your specific context.
3. What would your church look like if it was truly missional?