12. Fewer pastors and church members see their denomination as something worth fighting for – or over – anymore.
As I stated at the start of this article, there are two forms of the church that ultimately matter. The local church and the universal church.
Newer generations are taking this more to heart than the last few generations did. The generation that cared enough about denominationalism to fight about it is dying out. Literally.
To the extent that denominations are seen as supporting and enhancing local churches, they will thrive. To the extent they are not seen to be doing that, they will decline.
13. Survival depends on operational changes and theological stability.
Denominations that reinforce a strong biblical worldview while adopting new methods have the best chance of thriving. Those that undermine or under-emphasize those principles will wither and die.
So the good news for biblically-based denominations is that they can survive and thrive – even though they will look a lot different – without compromising their core theological values.
In fact, reinforcing biblical principles carries the side benefit of strengthening the denomination and the churches within it.
14. Denominations will look very different in a decade or two.
It’s very likely that some longstanding denominations will cease to exist in the next 10 to 20 years. And it’s an absolute certainty that those who survive will do so because they make some radical structural changes that will cause them to look and function very differently.
They say the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, and the second best time is today.
This is true of denominational change. Denominations that have already begun necessary changes have a chance of surviving. Those that don’t get serious about it now, won’t. And those that change what should never be changed – well that’s just poisoning the roots.
Thankfully, the future of the church doesn’t depend on any denomination, group, or theological tradition. It depends on one thing only. Jesus’ promise to build it.
And Jesus knows what he’s doing.
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