Have Churches Forgotten How to Reproduce? -- Outreach Magazine
My friends at Outreach Magazine are dipping into the vault for articles on their website. An article recently posted was one I penned back in 2010. I like to think of it as an "oldie-but-goodie." Here is a short excerpt. You can read the full article here.
[The church] is God's agent of change for the hopeless. It is how He delivers transformation to a hurting world. Through the church, God unfurls the banner of mercy and announces the kingdom of grace. He has assembled the church to tell and model the most important issue in life--how to spend all of eternity with God Himself.
God has chosen the church to make known His multifaceted wisdom to all in authority (Eph. 3:10). Whether a power in the heavenly realm or an authority on the earth, the church is where God rolls out His message. It is used by God to speak to the weak and the strong, the poor and the rich, the hopeful and the hopeless.
We believe in the church not only because of what we have seen, but because of what Christ can do next. He constantly amazes us at how lives are changed through the church.
Despite strange weather patterns, global terrorism and the spectre of an economic crash, I'm actually optimistic about where we're headed in 2012. Through my research and travels, I've noticed these emerging trends--some negative, some positive--that will shape our future:
1. Record numbers of Christians will be martyrs.
2. The Asian church will take the lead in missionary ventures.
3. The Arab Spring will thaw resistance to the gospel.
4. North America increasingly will be viewed as a needy mission field.
5. The debate over approving homosexuality will take center stage.
6. America will experience a church-growth renaissance.
7. The economic downturn in the U.S. will actually be good for the church.
8. Look for a radical reformation to occur in charismatic/Pentecostal churches.
9. Denominations will be redefined.
10. Many megachurches will stop trying to grow bigger and will instead branch out.
11. Disasters will continue, but Christians will often be the first responders.
12. Expect a supernatural surprise.