Is the current model of Church broken?

Recently a good friend of mine challenged me and asked, “Do you think the Church is broken?”

My immediate response was “Yes”, but it became apparent in the following conversation that you need to be really careful with your definition of what you mean when you say ‘Church’!

Do you mean the function of the Church and the way it presents itself to the world, or do you mean the body and bride of Christ?

If you are talking about the latter, I would categorically say no! The body of Christ is strong, and making huge strides to continue in its mission to spread the Gospel and to live out the message of Jesus.

If you are talking about the former, I would have to say yes… but with a caveat. Let me explain.

Any product, service, thinking or ideal tends to follow a simple bell curve. Something can gain huge favour and popularity only to fade out over time. The bible even talks about this when Gamaliel talks to the Sanhedren in Acts 5:34–39.

The standard s-curve of development/growth

This is also true for the models of Church that have existed. They have gained popularity over time and then equally lost their way as new thinking and new pressures are exerted upon it.

Like product development in a business, the trick to remaining relevant is to be adaptable and adjust to what the customer needs. Before I get shouted at, I know the Church is not a business product. But this is about human behaviour rather than what is on offer.

It is no surprise to me that the Church of England’s model of Church is seeing a huge decline in attendance, and the more modern Evangelical approach is the norm. However, my challenge is not whether this model is going to be relevant or not to today’s millennials, or Generation Ms, but rather whether the model is going to be fit for purpose for their children, and their children’s children.

The message of Christ is timeless and will always be relevant, but how people get access to that message in a relevant and life changing way needs to change. We need to start thinking about it today, not when it is already too late.

So, is Church broken? No, not yet. But if we don’t start thinking now about the future, it soon will be.

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