Discontinuity and Hope by Lyle E. Schaller

By Lyle E. Schaller

Swap: Is great thing, or a nasty factor? That relies, says Lyle E. Schaller, in your point of view and values. Any given swap will be threatening if your whole values are wedded to the way in which issues are actually, in the event you can in basic terms view the longer term throughout the lens of the previous. Or it may be interesting, in case your perspective is aimed at the hot chances that would come up from this modification. via numerous examples of large-scale, discontinuous swap that experience happened over the past ten to thirty years, Schaller prepares church leaders to orient themselves to the hot demanding situations and possibilities for ministry that might consequence from the speeded up transition happening round us.

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That is achieved by focusing on a precisely and narrowly defined potential future constituency. A second and far more common example is the shrinking and aging congregation founded before 1960 that is now served by a sixty-year-old pastor who is counting the days until retirement. Many of the members also are counting because they are confident that if the successor is a thirty-five-year-old, handsome, extroverted, attractive, articulate, deeply committed, gifted, personable, and high-energy father with a beautiful wife and two adorable children, a flood of young families will fill the pews and classrooms.

The alternative is to reverse that pattern. The best way to do that, if you believe that is the direction the Lord wants us to go, is to gather a couple of dozen of our key leaders together in a weekly Bible study group. Together we can discern the New Testament model for a worshiping community. That would give us direction in our planning for a new day. What do you think we should do? " For many people a bigger surprise came when they saw the large numbers of well-educated and financially successful adults who were appearing as enthusiastic volunteer leaders in rapidly growing and relatively new congregations that usually are on the conservative half of the theological spectrum and are either (a) affiliated with a religious movement that came into existence after 1829 or (b) carry no denominational label.

For a few of us, the emergence of these teaching churches, each with a constituency that includes participants from a score or more of denominations plus others from independent congregations, simply verifies the contention that resources for congregations should be tailored to local needs rather than to fit a particular denominational tradition or dream. Others point to the crowds of participants at the events offered by the teaching churches as the number one evidence of the success of the ecumenical movement.

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