The numbers are staggering.
- 5%-10% of the population are actively engaged in church in our country. (With some geographical variations)
- The United States population continues to grow, the U.S. Census bureau estimates that we’ll have 392 million by 2050. (Currently 307 million)
- There seems to be an deepening inverse relationship between the amount of money spent on “church stuff” (staff, buildings, programs, etc.) and the amount of people who are active.
- There are now so many megachurches that we need to differentiate between the mega (under 10,000) and others gigachurches. (10,000+) At the same time, these big organizations are difficult to navigate, don’t work for everyone, and are by definition not on the cutting edge.
- Our nation continues to become more ethnically diverse. Our churches? Not so much.
- More and more people are moving to urban centers. The mega and gigachurch movement typically does best in the suburbs. It’s cost prohibitive to build a 10,000 seat auditorium in an urban center.
- Meanwhile, a church planting movement continues to explode in suburbs and urban contexts, starting churches of all shapes, sizes, and denominations. (Some prioritize youth ministry, but most seem to emphasize their worship service and children’s ministry, youth ministry is a necessary afterthought.)
- Adolescent culture continues to evolve, devolve, morph, repeat and fragment. One size doesn’t fit all more now than ever. More and more there are children growing up today who not only don’t go to church, but their parents have never attended church, nor their grandparents.
All of this to say one thing: We, the church in America, need to keep innovating just to survive!
None of the items are “bad” except the first item. We are reaching a decreasing amount of people while our population explodes.
All of these things are cries for new ideas, new innovation, and new adaptations.
Why? Because we know the church is Jesus’ chosen vehicle to carry His message of redemption, restoration, forgiveness of sins, and promise of eternal life to the population.
No excuses. Get to it.
- If you know Christ you are on the team. (1 Corinthians 12 implies that we are handicapped without you.) No other prerequisite is required. Soft innovation typically comes from front-line workers. Hard innovation typically comes from complete outsiders.
- It starts with ethnography. You need to know who your people are, what their needs are, etc.
- It continues with prayerful ideation and research to test your concept. Don’t go it alone, you’ll never make it.
- It’s empowered/driven by success stories and a healthy dose of “we’re out to stick it to the man.“
- It’s sustained by good people doing it for the right reasons.
The time is now. Today is the day.
What are you waiting for?