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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.