What’s Next? The 21st Century Church

One of the largest growing demographics in the faith world is people who check the box for “none” on surveys of religious affiliation. A 2015 Pew Research Center poll reported that 34 to 36 percent of millennials, those born after 1980, are nones.

(ABOVE: Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church’s bi-annual speaker series featured the Rev. Rodger Nishioka, who talked about the future of Christianity. Courtesy photos)

So, what does that mean for the church?

Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church recently hosted the Rev. Rodger Nishioka to speak about the changing landscape for faith in this day and age. Nishioka taught at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta for 15 years, educating pastors to teach and lead in the church’s educational ministry, specializing in particular on youth and young adult ministry.

Nishioka said one of the most critical things churches need to do to retain members is emphasized on a “warm environment.”

Here are six changes he suggested:

1. From Tribal Education to Immigrant Education
If the Starbucks corporation can teach the world that a “medium” is actually called a “grande,” then the church can teach the world what incarnation is.

2. From Mission Out There to Mission Right Here
The Church should become more involved with helping the surrounding community: If the Church has no impact in the community, no one will miss it when it’s gone.

3. From Reason Filled Spirituality to Mystery Filled Spirituality
The “awe” and “wonder” of spirituality are hugely attractive for young people. People are looking for ways to discover things, such as mystery, in their faith.

4. From High Tech to High Touch
With the rise of a tech-forward world, people are attached to homemade things like church food to feel a personal connection.

5. From Attractional Ministry to Invitational Ministry
While it might take longer, the nature of personal invitations to church and church events will keep people coming.

6. From Discipleship to Apostleship
Focusing on apostleship, meaning that members of the church must believe they were sent on a specific mission.

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