As the mission field changes, churches will change.
I frequently get asked about the future of outreach. Let me be honest, and perhaps you already know this: outreach will not get any easier.
Let me share at least three reasons why I believe this is the case.
First, our culture will continue to experience a decrease in nominal Christianity and an increase in “Nones.” More people will leave the Christian identification and cease to identify as Christian. This will be connected with more skepticism towards Christianity and the institutional Church.
Second, our culture will continue to be dominated by secular people, both in worldview and in numbers. Many who hold a secular worldview in the halls of power—media, entertainment, academia—will attempt to marginalize those who practice a robust Christian faith that disagrees with them on controversial issues.
Third, our culture will continue to experience a rise in religious pluralism, where Christianity will increasingly become one voice among a sea of competing voices (and narratives). The continued rise of pluralism will give credence to individual autonomy and relativism, where truth for one person isn’t seen as truth for another.
Given that all of these elements are present now means that we are in the “present future.” So, the future of outreach is now. But what will be the most effective forms of outreach? I believe churches that make the following three shifts will be more effective at outreach in an increasingly skeptical, secular, and pluralistic culture.
1. Churches that shift from a temple mindset to a network mindset will be more effective at evangelism.
Many have bought into the assumption that evangelism takes place at church, not through the church. As a result, church people are …
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