Church 2.0

 In Pastor Jeff's Blog

And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins. – Mark 2:22

Human beings are wired to seek identity, purpose, meaning and connection. The Christian tradition claims that these things are found in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That’s been true in my own experience, and that experience has been largely mediated through the Church.

But for an increasing number of people, especially young adults, that’s not the case. Not only is the fastest growing religion in American “none” but even those who identify as Christian are worshiping less often. For many, the Church is no longer seen as a reliable source of identity, purpose, meaning and connection. You’ll find some of the reasons here.

In the midst of all this change two things have not changed. Every human being is still seeking identity, purpose, meaning and connection. And God has not stopped seeking a relationship with all that God has created (Luke 15).

What needs to change is the way we express what it means to be Church. The Church expression that I grew up with still meets the needs of many, but I’m wondering how the Spirit might shape our imagination to envision Church differently. And I’m convinced that the Spirit will speak most clearly through those who are seeking identity, purpose, meaning and connection outside of today’s Church. The question is, are we willing to listen, learn and grow? Are we willing to allow the Spirit to shape us into a new wineskin, ready for the new wine of a new generation?

Chances are you know people who are no longer interested in Church, or perhaps they never were. Where are they finding identity, purpose, meaning and connection? Ask them. And really listen. Doing so reflects the heart of the One who is always seeking us. And then share what you learn in the comments section.

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

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