WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH?
GEORGE METHODIST CHURCH
With Peter Veysie
Sunday 5th July 2020
Col 1:15 -28
The Supremacy of the Son of God
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all
creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and
on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers
or authorities; all things have been created through him and for
him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And
he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the
firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have
the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell
in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether
things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his
blood, shed on the cross.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your
minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled
you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in
his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you
continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from
the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard
and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and
of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
Paul’s Labour for the Church
Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh
what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of
his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the
commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its
fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and
generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them
God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious
riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone
with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in
Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ
so powerfully works in me.
Derived probably from the Greek kuriakon (i.e., “the Lord’s house”),
which was used by ancient authors for the place of worship.
In the New Testament it is the translation of the Greek word ecclesia,
which is synonymous with the Hebrew kahal of the Old Testament,
both words meaning simply an assembly, the character of which can
only be known from the connection in which the word is found. There is
no clear instance of its being used for a place of meeting or of worship,
although in post-apostolic times it early received this meaning. Nor is
this word ever used to denote the inhabitants of a country united in the
same profession, as when we say the “Church of England,” the “Church
of Scotland,” etc.
We find the word ecclesia used in the following senses in the New
Testament: (1.) It is translated “assembly” in the ordinary classical sense
(Acts 19:32, 39, 41).
(2.) It denotes the whole body of the redeemed, all those whom the
Father has given to Christ, the invisible catholic church(Eph 5:23, 25,
27, 29; Heb 12:23).
(3.) A few Christians associated together in observing the ordinances of
the gospel are an ecclesia (Rom 16:5 Col 4:15).
(4.) All the Christians in a particular city, whether they assembled
together in one place or in several places for religious worship, were an
ecclesia. Thus all the disciples in Antioch, forming several
congregations, were one church (Acts 13:1; so also we read of the
“church of God at Corinth” (1 Cor 1:2, “the church at Jerusalem” (Acts
8:1, “the church of Ephesus” (Rev 2:1, etc.
(5.) The whole body of professing Christians throughout the world (1
Cor 15:9 Gal 1:13; Matt 16:18) are the church of Christ.
The church’s future is dependant on the following:
- CHRIST CENTRED vs 15 -18 as we explore this scripture today
we see Paul making it very clear to the Colossians that the Son
Jesus is the image of the invisible and supreme over the church. We
need to be careful not to move into places of supremacy above
Christ. Keep him at the centre of your life and your church life. It’s
so easy to get distracted with this !!! Vs 15 -18
- HOLY SPIRIT FILLED -WITNESS TO THE TRUTH vs 19 It is God
who fills all things with His fullness and we need to be filled daily with
His fullness by the power of the Holy Spirit. Daily devotions,prayer and
connections online is so important especially in this time. To be filled up
with Him means that we will be filled to overflowing so that what comes
out of us as the church is a blessings.
- UNITED LIVE THE ALTERNATIVE vs 20
One thing I am realising more and more is that during this crisis the
Lord is bringing about unity. We need to be together and understand
that the heart of the Lord is for unity. So many divisions exist around
doctrine and belief and it’s time to focus on the main things that hold us
together and less on the divisive and I could name a few. Vs 20
- RECONCILING/RESTORING BINDING THE BROKEN HEARTED
vs 21 -22
Paul says that we have been given the ministry of reconciliation as ones
who were once alienated but now are reconciled with Christ and each
other. Vs 21 -22. In 2 Corinthians 5:18 it’s clear that this is the ministry
of the church. If we have a future we need to be really involved in this
work which is in desperate need of revival.
- COMMITTED vs 23 -27
Continue in your faith
Be established and firm
Do not move from the hope
Keep to the gospel.especially vs 25 -27
- HEART – REPLACE EVIL WITH GOOD vs 28 -29
Proclaim – speak it out
Admonish – bring correction
Teach with wisdom
Present everyone fully mature in Christ
Do it with lots of energy. With all the energy Christ so powerfully works
What is the future of the church ?
POSTS BY CAREY NIEUWHOF
Every generation experiences change.
But sometimes you sense you’re in the midst of truly radical change, the kind that happens
only every few centuries. Increasingly, I think we’re in such a moment now.
Those of us in in Western culture who are over age 30 were born into a culture that could
conceivably still be called Christian. Now, as David Kinnaman at the Barna Group has
shown, even in America, people who are churchless (having no church affiliation) will soon
eclipse the churched.
In addition, 48% of Millennials (born between 1984-2002) can be called post-Christian in
their beliefs, thinking and worldview.
I think the change we’re seeing around us might one day be viewed on the same level as
what happened to the church after Constantine’s conversion or after the invention of the
printing press. Whatever the change looks like when it’s done, it will register as a seismic
shift from what we’ve known.
So what will the future church be like? And how should you and I respond.
Okay, before we get going, a few things.
I realize making predictions can be a dangerous thing. Maybe even a bit ridiculous . But I
want to offer a few thoughts because I’m passionate about the mission of the church.
So, borne out of a love for the gathered church, I offer a few thoughts. Consider it thinking
in pencil, not ink.
While no one’s really sure of what’s ahead, talking about it at least allows us to position our
churches for impact in a changing world.
10 PREDICTIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE CHURCH
So what’s likely for the future church? Here are 10 things I see.
- THE POTENTIAL TO GAIN IS STILL GREATER THAN THE POTENTIAL TO LOSE
Every time there is a change in history, there’s potential to gain and potential to lose.
I believe the potential to gain is greater than the potential to lose. Why?
As despairing or as cynical as some might be (sometimes understandably) over the
church’s future, we have to remind ourselves that the church was Jesus’ idea, not ours.
It will survive our missteps and whatever cultural trends happen around us. We certainly
don’t always get things right, but Christ has an incredible history of pulling together
Christians in every generation to share his love for a broken world.
- CHURCHES THAT LOVE THEIR MODEL MORE THAN THE MISSION WILL DIE
That said, many individual congregations and some entire denominations won’t make it.
The difference will be between those who cling to the mission and those who cling to the
When the car was invented, it quickly took over from the horse and buggy. Horse and
buggy manufacturers were relegated to boutique status and many went under, but human
transportation actually exploded. Suddenly average people could travel at a level they
never could before.
The mission is travel. The model is a buggy, or car, or motorcycle, or jet.
Look at the changes in the publishing, music and even photography industry in the last few
See a trend? The mission is reading. It’s music. It’s photography. The model always
shifts….moving from things like 8 tracks, cassettes and CDs to MP3s and now streaming
audio and video.
- THE GATHERED CHURCH IS HERE TO STAY
Read the comments on this blog or any other church leader blog and you would think that
some Christians believe the best thing to do is to give up on Christian gatherings of any
This is naive.
While some will leave, it does not change the fact that the church has always gathered
because the church is inherently communal. Additionally, what we can do gathered
together far surpasses what we can do alone. Which is why there will always be an
organized church of some form.
- CONSUMER CHRISTIANITY WILL DIE AND A MORE SELFLESS DISCIPLESHIP
Consumer Christianity asks What can I get from God? It asks, What’s in it for me?
That leads us to evaluate our church, our faith, our experience and each other according
to our preferences and whims. In many respects, even many critics of the church who
have left have done so under the pull of consumer Christianity because ‘nothing’ meets
All of this is antithetical to the Gospel, which calls us to die to ourselves—to lose ourselves
for the sake of Christ.
- SUNDAYS WILL BECOME MORE ABOUT WHAT WE GIVE THAN WHAT WE GET
The death of consumer Christianity will change our gatherings.
Our gatherings will become less about us and more about Jesus and the world he loves.
Rather than a gathering of the already-convinced, the churches that remain will be
decidedly outsider-focused. And word will be supplemented with deeds.
In the future church, being right will be less important than doing right. Sure, that involves
social justice and meeting physical needs, but it also involves treating people with
kindness, compassion in every day life and attending to their spiritual well being.
- ATTENDANCE WILL NO LONGER DRIVE ENGAGEMENT; ENGAGEMENT WILL
Currently, many churches try to get people to attend, hoping it drives engagement.
In the future, that will flip. The engaged will attend, in large measure because only the
engaged will remain.
If you really think about this…engagement driving attendance is exactly what has fuelled
the church at its best moments throughout history. It’s an exciting shift.
- SIMPLIFIED MINISTRIES WILL COMPLEMENT PEOPLE’S LIVES, NOT COMPETE
WITH PEOPLE’S LIVES
For years, the assumption has been that the more a church grew, the more activity it would
The challenge, of course, is that church can easily end up burning people out. In some
cases, people end up with no life except church life. Some churches offer so many
programs for families that families don’t even have a chance to be families.
- ONLINE CHURCH WILL SUPPLEMENT THE JOURNEY BUT NOT BECOME THE
There’s a big discussion right now around online church. I think in certain niches online
church might become the church for some who simply have no other access to church.
But there is something about human relationship that requires presence. Because the
church at its fullest will always gather, online church will supplement the journey. I believe
that online relationships are real relationships, but they are not the greatest relationships
people can have.
- ONLINE CHURCH WILL BECOME MORE OF A FRONT DOOR THAN A BACK DOOR
There’s no question that today online church has become a back door for Christians who
are done with attending church.
While online church is an amazing supplement for people who can’t get to a service, it’s
still an off ramp for Christian whose commitment to faith is perhaps less than it might have
been at an earlier point.
- GATHERINGS WILL BE SMALLER AND LARGER AT THE SAME TIME
While many might think the mega-church is dead, it’s not. And while others think megachurches are awful, there’s nothing inherently bad about them. Size is somewhat irrelevant
to a church’s effectiveness.
There are bad mega-churches and bad small churches. And there are wonderfully
effective mega-churches and wonderfully effective small churches.
We will likely see large churches get larger. Multisite will continue to explode, as churches
that are effective expand their mission.
At the same time, churches will also establish smaller, more intimate gatherings as
millennials and others seek tighter connections and groups. Paradoxically, future large
churches will likely become large not because they necessarily gather thousands in one
space, but because they gather thousands through dozens of smaller gatherings under
some form of shared leadership. Some of those gatherings might be as simple as at a
coffee shop or even home venues under a simple structure.
We will see the emergence of bigger churches and smaller churches at the same time as
the gathered church continues to change.