Fifty Years from Now, Will We Still Be Doing This?

image1On this day after Thanksgiving, I’m reading a book called Quitting Church by Julia Duin, Religion Editor for the Washington Times.  Here’s what the book jacket says:

Recent studes show that churches across the country are seeing once-faithful members disappear from their midst.  Why are so many Christians remaining committed to the faith yet dissatisfied with and disconnected from the established church?

Religion reporter Julia Duin has collected the research and added insights from her own interviews with disillusioned followers and visits to numerous churches.  She reveals and explores a number of crucial factors underlying this shift, including irrelevant teaching, the neglect of singles, the marginalization of women, and a lack of authentic spiritual power.  She also delves into trends such as house churches and postmodern or emergent congregations.  Her careful analysis and thoughtful reflection will help church leaders examine how they can better serve those in their congregations and communities who are struggling to find a spiritual home.

So, here’s the question I’ve been asking friends, colleagues, and church members for the past few weeks:  Fifty years from now, will we still be getting up on Sunday mornings, knotting our neckties, getting into our cars, and driving to some central location to sit in a pew, say our prayers, sing some hymns, and hear a sermon, or will church either a) evolve into something else or b) disappear altogether?

I’d be interested to hear your responses, especially if you think church will evolve into something else.  What will it evolve into, and how can we anticipate that and get there ahead of the curve?  You can either vote by clicking one of the boxes on the poll below, or share your thoughts by clicking on the word “comments” just beneath that.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving—I’d be grateful.



4 thoughts on “Fifty Years from Now, Will We Still Be Doing This?

  1. Hi Everbody

    MMM. Jim I just can’t put my figer on it. I see a part of the church becomeing a big show. A enteranment that get people happly. OOO no I should say the holy spirit on high. Nice but something I wood go week by week.

    Make week by week not the same. Make it holy that I can run out saying out loud I want my church back. A church where the member has a 59 min service and run out to do ? I found a church. A church where my space and other space. A place to seat before worship on my notebook before worship and Sunday School the right teacher.

    Don’t forget some people work so hard they have not time for anything to do to play hard. also

    Alot of family stop going. When the family see it they also don’t go.

    I pray that to local church never goes away.

    Happy Holiday everybody
    Will Short

  2. I see a progression continuing much like the last 50 years.
    A church of any denomination will fade and act moribund
    after a few factors combine for any location : average member age too high, too few children added from young couples, to much attention on social and political problems
    without remembering the Saviour who can fix problems,
    pastors who hang on to the job without courage and charisma, local neighborhood changes without expansion
    into the electronic “neighborhood”, and too many “feel good” messages that ignore the truth.
    The churches that are growing this decade and will
    continue to, have a constant evangelcal message, have a
    pastor that continually reminds members to share the
    Gospel according to each person’s gifts, try new ministries
    as ideas are shared among other successful congregations,
    may try alternate campuses, will promote small group
    meetings and must broadcast activities via TV and the Internet.

  3. I find your question compelling, and feel that there are some good and interesting conversations going on about what exactly church will “look like” in 50 years (or less). Some of what is going on in the “emerging church” is disjointed and hard for me to connect with, but I think that folks such as Brian McClaren, Tony Jones, and others such as Diana Butler Bass are beginning to push those of us in the “mainline” denominations to rethink what we’re doing.

    Thanks for this post, and I have enjoyed getting to know you and your thinking through this blog.

    In Christ’s Peace,

    Peter Carey+

  4. for the record,,,I pray 50 years from now we are , doing more than just the christian normalcy,, I pray we are as one has said about me,, bringing the church to the neighborhoods ..and To the lost everywhere ..and really being the body that is apart of Gods perfect plan..
    Yet i also pray we still have the same devotional traditions that we have today..As radical as i am,,, i know I must tone down at times in order to be apart of God’s perfect plan..and help keep the harmony and balance,,around our church body that brings the spirit of comfort and peace

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