My most popular post so far seems to have been the “POST-Postmodernism and the Hybrid Church.” I feel that I have to revisit my last post on what I am calling the “hybrid church” and define what I mean by “post-postmodernism.” I have no intention of doing a “for or against” on the emergent church with the many books out there. Listen please, I am talking here about how we do church. Methods can change, while our mission and theology remain constant. I believe the multi-site church and multi-venue church is somewhat of a hybrid between several things. (Multi-site is a church with more than one geographical location while the multi-venue church is one that has multiple expressions of worship under one roof.) Hybrid is another way of saying “both and” which is the point I was intending to make with the first post. So, you have both young and old, traditions and new expressions, small and big, and so forth. You get the picture, I think. Imagine a church that has the resources of a megachurch but where your name is known? That is what I think is the hybrid between big and small that really is the wave of the future. You can have a service of 1,000 and a place of worship in another town with only 75 people and they can be one church. Franchise efficiency and boutique ministry can co-exist.
The second idea is that we are in a “post-postmodern” mindset. The newness, hipness and promise of the postmodern or emergent church really is wearing off and the realization is that the movement has been in some ways a reaction to the way church was being done–a good reaction for the most part, I think. My point is that we have to go beyond creating ministry out of a negative reaction to the way church was done and begin to think about the now as well as what is beyond us. So, we live in a post-Christian era. But, we are actually in the most spiritually awakened time in recent memory. The problem that the postmodern/emergent movement has identified is that “organized” church does not resonate with this opportunity and the numbers speak this as well as the anecdotes. Here is a quote from the Barna Group article Rapid Increase in Alternative Forms of The Church Are Changing the Religious Landscape.
The findings from several Barna Group surveys conducted during the past twelve months reveal the characteristics of this emerging population of people who want more of God in their life and have had to leave a congregational form of the local church to satisfy that need.
But, we still need to be organized and intentional if we are to have something that can be duplicated and passed on. How we do this will be both low-tech and cyber-driven. There will be more workplace ministry and you will more and more connect to a congregation via streamed worship services and resources from the web.
The journey into this future is still murky. Some have tried to put theological constraints on things that are simply methods or ways that we do church. What is clear is that we have to be missional and flexible. To be a bit postmodern, there are a lot of questions still being asked and ones that we do not even know to ask that are yet to be discovered.