If you’ve lived through 9/11 and 2008 you know what I mean about strange times. And if you don’t, no need to read any further. You’ve got too much sand in your ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to us.
We’re living in a time of exaggerated contradictions.
At the very time many of today’s leading pundits are proclaiming the death of the institutional church we learn that more new churches are being planted each year (4,000) than are being closed (3500) and that 68% of them are still functioning four years later.
At the every time more and more publishers are showcasing books on non-institutional forms of church life, a book comes along like Viral Churches by Stetzer and Warren (to be released) showing us how to become part of a reproductive church planting movement.
At the very time more and more books and blogs are being published about burned out pastors and declining churches my house is running over with books about thriving new ministries and excited pastors, and my time on the internet is filled with blogs from pastors transforming their cities, and in some cases the world, with the Good News.
At the very time when most denominations are streamlining to save costs and slashing budgets to survive, new parachurch groups focused on planting churches that plant churches are emerging every year with seemingly unlimited funds.
Something’s afoot, wouldn’t you say?
I still travel around a lot and when I’m not traveling I’m interviewing new leaders and reading dozens of books a month. I’m online literally every moment of the day even when writing. I shift through tons of information.
What has surprised me the most the last five years is the amount of positive chatter I run across by younger pastors, most of whom are planting new churches. I’ve never experienced such passion in my 50+ years of ministry. Their excitement is intense. Their calling is laser sharp. And none of them have given up on the institutional church. Maybe we shouldn’t either.