Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Prophecy for 2008

I woke up at 7.45am this morning, weird but okay.

I lay in bed for 5 minutes and thought about all the programmes I have watched that give their predictions for 2008, the year ahead.

Then I had a strong sense that I should predict the year ahead!!!

Here’s a prophecy for 2008 and beyond,

Some of it is just common sense and an observation of what I see in but maybe some more of it is from God:

I see an increasing number of people who were generation X types, they are now slightly older, maybe got a house, a partner, a mortgage, children, stable jobs, pets and futures.

These are the guys that in the next 10 years will hit their late 30s and early 40’s, maybe it could be broader age range than that.

Discontent

Here’s what has happened the question of “there has to be more?” is getting louder and for this generation they need an answer. Most are committed into main stream church some are not, but they all want an answer. They have suckled at the cow of middle class life and dare I say middle class Christianity and are starting to find it a little wanting. Increasingly challenged by issues such as materialism, image etc.. realising that buying new furniture and plasma screens does not bring happiness and actually starting to feel a little sickened by there own excesses they are starting to ask questions they are being confronted with their futures and wondering if this is really what they want to give themselves to. Many are starting to find it they are finding it voiced in books they have seen and heard of small community initiatives, where people handle their finance differently and the way they engage with the world differently. Many will be drawn to this … others are drawn to embed themselves deeper in the mainstream to build and shore up what already exists this is okay. Neither way is wrong. These older Gen X’ers are being drawn to a different expression of church life and Christian life than the one they are living right now.

Loyalty

Here’s a thing that will happen this year: loyalty will be tested, there are groups out there who stand on the edge of doing new things, but in all honesty they are just tinkering or dreaming.

False loyalty holds them back. They are loyal but not necessarily to the Lordship and call of Christ but to their existing leadership structures, to their existing programmes and to their leaders.

Loyalty is good but it is time for objects of this loyalty to release and recognise that new untamed initiatives are not a challenge to loyalty but the wind of God blowing and creating a new thing.

There is coming a tension within the mainstream churches as these new communities are birthed, this can be avoided and in many cases will be.

Sundays

People will stop showing up on Sunday mornings, they will start to seriously question what the church spends its time, energy and money on. In fact people already have and they will start to re-orientate how they spend their own time money and energy within church. The mistake of the mainstream church would be to relegate these people to the minority or call them rebellious, because in the next decade they will be the majority and they are in many cases intelligent people making well thought out choices. To brand them as rebellious would be to make the mistake of our forefathers.

Tithing

Money will be an issue, people will start to view the church as a broad world wide body that is involved in many wonderful and challenging initiatives in this global village we live in, tithes will start to be directed at this worldwide church but not necessarily the home or local church.

Tipping Point

I believe that from 2008 onwards we will hit what Malcolm Gladwell calls a Tipping Point, there will be lines drawn in the sand that will have practical outworking relating to them. It is time for the dreamers to get practical with their dreams. This seems so natural we have been hearing whispers from God for years on this, from house groups to cell groups to the effectiveness of alpha, small communities work. They increasingly will need more freedom and room to express themselves fully.

There will be geographical communities, communal household communities even communities focussed on specific people groups. Groups will buy house in run down estates and go for it, others will buy farms groups will move to other parts of the world. This has all been happening for years we all know of this kind of stuff but what I am saying is that a Tipping Point is coming. This will move beyond the edges. The secret and challenge will be for larger churches to support and release these new communities, the church that pulls it off will see phenomenal kingdom growth of new births and very little transfer growth.

The tithes may go down but our imprint on the lost in our local communities will go up.

A Time of Decision

Bottom line, this will be a year of decisions being made, money put where mouths are, people getting on changing the way they live for the advancement of the kingdom.

I could be wrong and also you may think I am stating the obvious. Maybe I should whack in some Bible verses or say things like “ I was woken in the night” or “I felt in my spirit” to give this more credence. But trust me this is an observational, Spirit inspired piece written at 8.30 am January 1st 2008.

19 comments:

lisa said...

I love that you didn't self-validate by putting in the "I felt in my spirit" etc. These are good and encouraging words, Brian.

lisa, in Tanzania

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year!

I always enjoy reading your blog. This year as an experiment I plan to select and read/comment on 10 specific blogs consistently rather than the scattergun approach I have had up to now. There are so many good blogs that it is hard to choose from! You are one of my chosen 10 (arn't you lucky! I look foward to your blog this year!

Rodney

Mel Wiggins said...

Inspirational stuff Brian...I need to be a part of this prophecy, and I think that may just be the call on this post...for each reader to find their place within it and run with it.

Mark Robins said...

I don't think people will stop showing up on Sundays!

gaylafriend said...

good stuff. very good stuff.

r a l f said...

that's powerful. thank you..

Mark (from Guernsey) said...

Thanks Brian that just hits the spot!

Especially the loyalty thing - that chokes me - we know that I must "let go of my job" to release my time for what God is wanting to do with us - I resigned 3 times in 2007! The only thing that has kept me there is loyalty to my colleagues - who I love as friends and don't want all my crap work being dumped on to them. But I must not let this hold me back in 2008.

Also for Mark, our church is regarded as one of the most successful (i.e. biggest) in our island and people are already not turning up on Sunday mornings.

Thanks again Brian. As C S Lewis said: "we read to know we are not alone".

kiwipaddy said...

we've stopped showing up on sundays and croissant & coffee beat 1hr sermons any day (sunday or not!!).

Mark Robins said...

Hi Mark and kiwipaddy (and Brian),
Hmmm, I'm thinking this sounds like a revisiting of church deconstructionism? Sure, for some the Sunday coming together just doesn't work but for many it does work and is a valuable time. Presumably you'd like some sort of gathering but not what your places are doing right now?
What do you make of Hebrews 10:25 - "Let us not stop meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching."?

kiwipaddy said...

we meet with each other over our kitchen table, in coffee shops, in each others houses, online, offline ... the bible verse doesn't state 'meet together in an historical church building where you are not obliged to talk to one another but to sit and passively listen/observe etc a sermon'.

we encourage one another and build each other up ... not by empty sentiment but by practical outworking.

look not so much at the words written in the bible but more at the lives lived in it ... how many times do you read of Jesus' regular church attendance on a sunday morning? remember the engaging encounters on the beach, eating fish together with mates at sunrise? remember the wine shared at someone's wedding? remember random words of encouragement? remember a supper? why was that so significant?

perhaps alot of people do find sunday morning church works for them ... great! we don't. and neither do we love God less. if only Christians would leave the security of sunday morning church you would see real testament times ... encounter a mission-field like the one you read of in the Bible. we think Brian is spot-on in what he writes. it is so refreshing to not hear the usual language associated with prophesies and to simply hear wise, spirit-filled, prophetic words spoken with guts and with his heart on the line.

for those who want to continue with sunday morning church ... great, if it works for you.

for those who want to throw scripture at us ... great, if it works for you.

for those who think that sunday morning is the only true expression of church ... we hope you are let down gently because it isn't.

Kelly said...

Brian,
I was thrilled to have found your blog! I purchased your book, "Writing on the Wall"...and love it! Love the blog, too.

After reading this post, I could not help but think of what Oswald Chambers wrote in "My Utmost for His Highest"...."The life of Jesus Christ was an absolute failure from every standpoint except God's. But what seemed to be failure from man's standpoint was a triumph from god's standpoint, because God's purpose is never the same as man's purpose."

This year - at the age of 42 - I have decided to get bold in action...not just words! It's time to meet people in the margins of life...where they are...at all costs! I have been on staff at a mega church for 13 years and the past several years have been frustrating. I feel "boxed in"...stifled....often fearing that my co-workers will think I am too radical or just plain "out there". No more room for fear...there are too many people who desperately need to hear about Jesus....

Keep up the great posts....I will be checking in regularly!

Blessings!

Steve McCready said...

Possibly the most clarity I have had spoken into my life in years. I am one of them...stuck

Mark Robins said...

Hi kiwipaddy,
I think you miss my point - it can ALL be good! OF COURSE all the ways of interacting you describe are good! You express a lot of negativity re meetings as you define them - passivity, empty sentiment, claiming to be the only true expression? I agree that if this is your experience then that's not good, but it's for each of us to encourage each other in whatever expression of meeting together works best for us, isn't it? We have to accept that one person's redundancy can be another person's revelation.

The claim of exclusive true expression can go both ways :-)

kiwipaddy said...

Hi Mark,

I replied earlier this morning but maybe due to the fact that it was written on a Sunday morning when I should have been at church it was blipped in cyber world?!

I don't think I missed the point you were trying to make at all; I agree 'each to their own'. I have had both good and bad church experiences in Catholic, Anglican, Pentecostal & Evangelical circles. I was a member of an ecumenical community working for reconciliation in Ireland. I have been both a member of the congregation and a leader; a member of a worship band; deeply involved in church at many levels. And despite a range of mainly positive, but sometimes negative experiences, my journey has been to move away from Sunday morning church.

This move didn't come lightly and happened over many years. I appreciate and value the role church plays in many people's lives and can see and understand it's purpose and significance. The negativity you have picked up on was more in response to the way in which you used Hebrews to seemingly consolidate your perspective. Also, despite the emphasis on encouragement, the verse you used didn't encourage me in the slightest.

I think it would be a great shame if the discussion detracted from the clarity and beauty of Brian's words. Suffice to say that I found the original post really encouraging; it is spot-on in terms of where the church - as a people - are going.

Isn't it interesting that people often ask 'what church do you go to?' instead of 'what community are you a part of?' ... the labels we attach to ourselves should be incidental to our core being as Christians, which shouldn't be limited to where we worship or how we worship but based on who we worship and why.

Karen's Korner said...

Enjoyed the post and the comments. I'm a bit older than the Gen X people you're talking about, but a lot of this makes sense to me. The questioning etc. It is always good to question. Theology is knowledge of God - that should always be changing/increasing/deepening, right? Of course there are fundamental truths, but so much of what we see in the established church today has very little to do with Christianity and a lot more to do with culture, tradition, 'that's the way we've always done it'.
Why am I still part of an established church? Partly because my husband and daughter still enjoy it. Partly because it's where I see family. Partly because moving away is more risky. Hmm. Not very convincing reasons!

Mark Robins said...

Hi kiwipaddy, good to hear from you again, I am enjoying this discussion :-) I apologise if the Hebrews quote was clumsy, I didn't intend it to be. Your experience is extensive, more extensive than mine. The verse, in itself, is not necessarily a source of encouragement, rather it implies encouragement springing from meeting together. After your experiences in church meetings you are not, on the whole, encouraged, whereas I am. I wish you nothing bu t God's blessing in whatever form that may take. I completely agree that fundamentally it comes down to who we worship and why. But, "how" will always be a source of, hopefully, helpful discussion!
Mark

kiwipaddy said...

Hi Mark,

I agree (believe it or not!). And I wish I was more encouraged by the Sunday morning sessions ... I guess when I walk out onto the steps of the church and see the gulf that unchurched people would have to cross over it is the most discouraging aspect: we often expect the non-believer to walk through our doors and yet are not willing to cross over our own comfort zone - myself included - to enter their world.

With regards to the journey away from church ... I never really understood it myself until I read Alan Jamieson's Journeying in Faith ... would highly recommend it as a read from both a personal and theological perspective. It was the only text that I came across that validated the journey away from church and thus made it possible to re-engage with church, just not as I had done before.

Like you, I enjoy the banter ... and it is goodwilled despite the negativity I radiate (pollute the blogsphere with!). And many blessings in return!

stephenoschristos said...

Hey my Brother!

I have been sitting here in London England seeing in the Word, getting revelations in the morning just like you, reading Kelly Varner's book the '12 deadly sins', an expose of all the 'traditions of men' & 'leven' that has crept into the Body of Christ in the last 2,000 years, AGAIN! The lack of the standard of Love the Lord asks us to walk in among those of us who call ourselves 'Christian'. The habit of using the under the law of Moses tithe law to get money out of the Lord's sheep to prop up buildings before His people. On & on. I have others I know who feel this enormous pull out of compromise with the world system 'in it but not of it' to 'cross over' into the real 'Spirit & Truth' Church = Ecclesia = 'called out Ones' but until I read your blog I felt in such a minority. I cannot explain the comfort it has brought me. thought I was losing it. Your right on the button my Brother. The Lord Bless you, your the real thing!

Stephen Morgan
Westminster - London
http://www.hegai.org/meet_us.html

Stephanos Christos said...

Aplogies for length. Last preach, promise!

Mark, the Lord has always been trying since Peter & Paul to get us out of our carnal soul/psuche/psychological/analitical mind realm & into our spirit/pnoomah/hearts. Can you do this for your Brother Kiwipaddy? It will immensly please the Lord more. Right or righteous? The Lord is saying in this day as He was teaching Peter, 'lay down your life for your brother, that includes methods & opinions of man in favour of love & unity in the Body. 'Agape' him not 'psuche' him to death! In love I ask, please drop it.

Fellowship/Worship/learning among the Jews (Jesus/Yeshua's Our Messiah's people) was always home, meal table - centric. Hence the feasts the Lord set up BY LAW. They met in their homes & all the men only went to presnt themselves before the Lord at the temple 3 times a year or to present a sacrifice etc. Father's pattern has always been a home, patriarch [father], an elder inheriting son, a family & a meal table.

The 'captivity/dispersion' of God's chosen people & the destruction of the earthly temple 'type' made after the heavenly pattern, brought about through Israel's sin, caused an unatural situation & it was decided by the Jewish elders AS A TEMPORARY STAND IN to build what is now known as the synagog trans 'assembly' house, which they then retained as a 'tradition of men'. God didn't asked us to gather into & finance a public building run by men. He would have told us.

It was then 'mixed' further into the architectural style of the pagan sun god mythra's temples, a sacred priest preciding from a high alter with a sun on it, via the Roman Emporor Constantine, (the crucifix was a symbol of mythra, hence the shape of the temple & the sacrifice of people on it & why the sun darkened when Christ was crucified}.

Jesus is cleansing the foundations of all leven & rebuilding the Father's house as it should be :-)

Acts 7:49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
Mark 26:61 - Luke 12:18