This Fall, the small church I’ve served as pastor merged with a larger-but-not-huge congregation. Now I’m “one of” the pastors of a medium size church!
This continues to be an exciting and challenging season. We’re trying to figure out “the new normal” as a new congregation, trying to live into best of who we are collectively, and committing to living in love when we encounter differences and strangeness with one another.
One of the opportunities this merger affords, is the opportunity to get beyond “what we’ve always done” as the church and think about “what could be.” Possibility!
As the parent of kids age 14 and 16, I often wonder what “church” will look like for them when they’re my age. Will there be institutional church? Will there be denominations? What will the “lines” and “borders” of particular affiliations look like? Will there be paid full time pastors? Will they be valued for theological / biblical education? What will theological / scriptural engagement look like?
Will we have a “main event” on Sunday mornings – with large group worship where most of the people are acquaintances but a few are close friends (people we could call “brothers” and “sisters” without being hyperbolically metaphorical)? Will lots of songs led by a band and a twentysomething speech called a “sermon” continue to be the mainstay? What will sacraments look like? Will there be communal meals? Will people take on an agenda for social engagement?
I recently listened to a podcast about the development of open source software. No one controls it in terms of licensing. Everyone develops from wherever they are at.
Collaboration makes for great innovation. It also means there is no “prescribed” end point or destination. The journey of creation goes where it goes and the developers are along for the ride.
What do you think “church” will look like in 10, 20, 50 years? Is “open source church” possible / desirable?