Last week the first five relational shifts the post-pandemic church will need to make were introduced. This week we continue those relational shifts with the next five from the forthcoming book, Being the Church in the Post-Pandemic World.
- Shift from judgemental to open ears and open hearts
- Shift from monocultural to multicultural and multigenerational
- Shift from pastor expected to disciple responsible relationships
- Shift from church-centric to community-centric
- Shift from curriculum-driven to intentional discipleship pathway
Shift 6 – Open hearts, eyes, ears, and minds
One of the top reasons most people of the Generations Y & Z want nothing to do with the church is because they deem the church to be judgmental and hypocritical. And many times, unfortunately they are right! If we are going to become disciple makers, we will need to open up our hearts, mind, eyes, and ears in a new way. We will need to ask more questions than we answer and show up with a sense of authentic curiosity for people and their story.
Shift 7 – Multi
Many of our churches are monocultural (i.e., middle class white folks with an average age of about 65). The typical congregation looks, thinks, acts, spends, believes, and does life pretty similarly. In contrast, this is not an accurate reflection of culture especially in larger communities. My friend and colleague, Paul Nixon, wrote a book I highly recommend called Multi. In this book, he shared how churches will need to think about being multi in many different facets: Multi: cultural, ethnic, site, lingual, narrative, liturgical, theological, generational, and economic.
Shift 8 – Disciples as Disciple Makers
Churches have by and large come to expect pastors to do it all and when the church can afford staff, we hire staff to do our ministry for us. We have become a pastor-centered church. The more denominations expected pastors to be professionally trained and navigate the tangled sea of the hoops for ordination, the more a congregation became pastor dependent and pastor-driven. Laity no longer felt equipped for ministry. As a result, we were no longer a laity-led movement with an occasional circuit rider preacher, but instead we have become pastor-centric.
Shift 9 – Community Centric
Rather than thinking the community should have a heart for the church, a vital post-pandemic church will instead see the church as part of the community – a vital thread in the patchwork quilt of the town. Most often a church that closes its doors has become invisible to the community long before it actually closes. The church was no longer woven into the community or a vital part of the heartbeat of the community and therefore the church was no longer relevant or needed in the community.
Shift 10 – Intentional Faith Development
Many churches have gotten into the routine of seeing discipleship as something we learn – discipleship means head knowledge. Yet in his fullest expression, discipleship is growing more Christ-like in our doing, saying, being, thinking, and becoming. When we limit discipleship to whatever the latest curriculum is, we have limited both the understanding and the development of being a disciple.
If you missed last week’s relational shifts, be sure to go back and catch up. Next week, we will complete the three-part relational shift series. Don’t miss it!