The Coming Revolution of the Church

Revolution Defined:
1) The completion of a course or cycle.
2) A sudden, radical, or complete change.

Both of these definitions apply to the future of the church.

As for #1 – It is my belief that there is a completion of sorts occuring within the American church today. There is a discontentment, disillusionment and dissatisfaction with the current course of our churches. The cycle of “church growth seminars”, meeting “felt needs”, marketing the church and “supermarket” church programs is coming to a close.

It is my firm conviction that the mega-church will see a decline within the next decade. Churches such as Saddleback, Willowcreek and others like it will level off or decline in numbers and significance. The “franchising” of these churches will also decline as churches seek to express themselves in more relevant ways that do not fit the 1980’s model of the mega-church.

Concepts that have sought to change the church, such as the current “emerging church” are nothing more than contemporary expressions of the the old paradigm. They are a start but often even these churches find themselves emulating ideals and programs (although more relevant) of the old models they despised.

As for #2 – We are on the eve of change. The discontented, disillusioned and dissatisfied are beginning to either demand change within their churches or are stepping out to discover new ways to express their faith. New phrases describing these individuals, such as de-churched or outchurched are beginning to immerge.

These individuals are banding together to radically alter the course of the church. They are not joining together in a building, conference or seminar, but through the internet via blogs and podcasts. They are inspiring hundreds and thousands of readers and listeners to change from the inside/out as individuals first and foremost – then move outward. Their call is not to seek to influence the church, but to influence the world by becoming living examples of Christ to those around them.

This is the church of the people, by the people and for the people. This is not the church of the paid professional (although they are welcome to join our crusade) but it is the church of everyday people who desire to love and serve God.

I am calling for the revolution to begin within each of us. If you are discontent, disillusioned or dissatisfied – join us. Join us and find freedom from the cage you currently call church. Discover with us a church that is not confined by walls or defined by progams or designed by men. It is being crafted and refined by hearts seeking to be and do all that God has created us to be and do.

We are the revolution. It begins with me and it begins with you!

20 thoughts on “The Coming Revolution of the Church”

  1. hey phil,sorry for not responding to you sooner. i gave up checking this this thread awhile ago but if you ever come by again, this is in fact steve’s blog and not mine. but i guess you already knew that by now 🙂in regards to your comments to me, no, i was not being sarcastic. i find that a lot of christians have a tendancy to spew out wonderful sounding christaneese statements like “passionately pursuing God” without having any idea what that really means to them. i just happen to be someone who really is intersted in knowing what it means to him.having said that, even if i were being sarcastic, so what. does that automatically mean he’s some kind of enemy of mine or that i have no love for him? geeze louise, grow up. if you’re the kind of guy that gets his toes stepped on by a bit of sarcasim or every little remark that isn’t laced in love, you had better get yourself a pair of steel tipped boots.btw, no offense taken even if you did intend it 🙂eddie

  2. Oh, and I’m totally in the 21st century btw:) I am a graphic designer and web developer. And I have seen counteless numbers of my peers living their lives stuck behind a computer instead of out giving their lives away for the sake of the gospel.

  3. <>As helpful as the internet is, it can never replace true Christian community and personal interaction with each other that leads us as Hebrews 3 says to encourage each other day after day. These people had to meet together, eat together, and do life together simply to stay faithful to Christ. <>no offense but you need to fast forward to the 21st century my friend. have you never heard of on-line dating or bulletin board meet-n-greets? i can’t speak for steve but i can assure you that most people use the internet as a jumping point to meet people face to face. whether you want to believe it or not, church is a scary place with lots of baggage that most people wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole even if they were interested in learning more about God. the internet, blogs, bulletin boards and podcasts like these allow people the opportunity to learn more about God and/or eventually connect with others in their immediate communtity from the privacy and comfort of their own home.personally, i believe the internet has been a Godsend for people like me… someone who believes in God but is ashamed of the church. i had always wanted to believe that there were others out there like me and now i’m starting to find that there are.by the way, thanks to this blog and podcast, i have had the opportunity to meet steve and, as luck would have it, he lives very near to me. contrary to what you were suggesting, we will be getting together for dinner in the near future 🙂eddiep.s. hey steve, i’ve had a conversation with a friend of mine a while back and the term we used to use was “neo-reformation”

  4. Hi Steve,Sorry about the anonymous thing, I just don’t feel much like signing up for something else.I read your intro, and long story short, I understand where you are in saying that the mega churches have run their course. But my issue comes when you say that your church is joining together through blogs and podcasts. That is not “real” community. It is a cyber community that is actually easier than dealing with people face to face. Our church in particular here in Texas is seeking to do what you are hitting at, not “online”, but in real, close, community. As helpful as the internet is, it can never replace true Christian community and personal interaction with each other that leads us as Hebrews 3 says to encourage each other day after day. These people had to meet together, eat together, and do life together simply to stay faithful to Christ. I appreciate the spirit of your blog – but don’t sacrifice true community for the old bathwater of stale church life.Bryan Deasehttp://www.rockwallchurch.org

  5. It’s still amazing to me that Eddie is not seeing his own arrogance in all of this. Again, just saying basically that I don’t know what I mean by passionately pursuing Christ. How do you know this? You don’t even know me. Or are you just “throwing me out with the bathwater?” Maybe you’ve met some people who don’t know what this means, but I see it is as loving God, loving people, caring for the poor, a great desire to see the nations come to Christ, and a love for fellow Christians which Jesus himself would testify about him. And this is not an all inclusive list. Come on man, let’s be real here. Don’t lump things togther that don’t belong.

  6. Ok, sorry to be hogging the blog here… but I just read the article, “CHURCH DETOX”. And although I don’t totally agree with staying away from church for a year – the point of this article is well taken. And if you visit our church web site – you’ll see that we say a lot of the same things. So we probably are not that different philisophically. All I’m saying is, don’t limit community to the internet. This guy did a great job of showing how living an authentically Christian life works.Bryanhttp://www.rockwallchurch.org

  7. eddie,that makes sense. thanks for the response. just so you know, i didnt think that you consider the guy an enemy or anything. i was just stressing the fact that Jesus said to love everyone, even enemies. the love thing is pretty important; it is central to Jesus’ teaching. i enjoyed the steel tipped boots bit. that made me laugh for days. thanks. seriously no offense intended. phil

  8. Hey this website is right on. I’ve never posted to a blog before, I hope I do things right. Keep up the good work, they are stupid church people, LOL, that makes me laugh!Kim

  9. i’m sorry to see you go so soon. i was really hoping you would define “passionately pursuing God” for me and in simple english.as far as throwing around labeles go, i will admit that i am stereotyping the “church” but as is the case in all stereotypes, they are rooted in truth. i will say again, from what “i” have seen over the years, the church has become a whore for self-centered and self-righteous jerks. you can choose to see whatever you want to see.Eddie

  10. No, again – I never said that. I’m talking about Hebrews 3 kind of community – making sure that brothers and sisters don’t fall away from the living God. And – I’m pretty much done here I guess, for apprently my concern was taken a bit the wrong way. But I would say again please be careful when you begin throwing around labels about the church, making sweeping statements like the church being a bunch of self-righteous jerks. Are some people? Yep. Am I sometimes? Yep. Are you sometimes? Probably. But I have many friends serving in churches all across the country passionately pursuing God, and doing all they can to lead their people to do the same. I wish you all well in your journey.Bryan

  11. True – you can have interaction. But the the internet is not a local church. No matter what we think of it, the church is the Bride of Christ. Does it break my heart that the church is suffering like she is? Yes, it does. But that doesn’t give us the right to abandon it, for as Derek Webb has said, to love Christ we have no choice but to love his church – baggage and all. This is main problem I have with “emerging church”. It just seems to always smack with a touch of arrogance. As if now, all the sudden, we are gonna do it “right”, and leave all the others behind. Brothers, let us love one another, and this means the church.Bryan

  12. if you really believe that you need to “love the church – baggage and all”… you can have it. from what i have seen over the years, the church has become a whore for self-centered and self-righteous jerks. i can’t speak for anyone else, but i never said that i was a part of the “emergent church” and i would agree with you that they are arrogant if not a bit retarded for thinking they got it all figured out. speaking of which, i took a look at your website and i know you think your church is somehow different and special and maybe it is, but from my perspective, you look a lot like all the other church plants i’ve seen if not a bit heavy on the christanees side of things. sorry, i’m just calling it like i see it.as far as community goes, who said anything about limiting it to the internet? also, are you suggesting that the only meaningful relationships and community a person can have is through the church? are you sure we read the same article?sincerely,eddie

  13. Eddie,Hi, I am kind of new to this whole thing so forgive me for being naive. I just stumbled upon your website and a few others that are similiar and I think that it is really cool. I really like a lot of what you guys have to say, but quite honestly, i havent read a whole lot yet. I know that I am a third party reading in, but i couldnt help but notice in your responses to Bryan, especially the last one a real sense of sarcasm. Perhaps you didnt intend it, but i think your should know that it comes off that way. I dont know the guy or anything, but it doesnt seem like you are representing what you are saying that you are representing. “Their call is not to seek to influence the church, but to influence the world by becoming living examples of Christ to those around them…This is the church of the people, by the people and for the people…but it is the church of everyday people who desire to love and serve God…I am calling for the revolution to begin within each of us. If you are discontent, disillusioned or dissatisfied – join us…It is being crafted and refined by hearts seeking to be and do all that God has created us to be and do.”from you… “from what “i” have seen over the years, the church has become a whore for self-centered and self-righteous jerks…i’m sorry to see you go so soon. i was really hoping you would define “passionately pursuing God” for me and in simple english.”Perhaps you didnt mean it that way and maybe i should have given you the benefit of the doubt. I am sorry if i have offended. i just wouldnt want a good message polluted by lame words and actions. If we are to really show the Spirit of the risen Christ, then we should be about showing love to all, even enemies, even the church and even Bryan, above all things. Once again, i am truly sorry if i have offended and that this comment got so long.

  14. Steve, Good post. I’ve said similar things myself—so you must be pretty smart. 🙂 Interestingly enough, the polarities represented in this thread vindicate your predictions. There are those who worship the church as an institution and will defend it to the death. Others see nothing worth dying for in any institution. These two groups will never agree. So the tipping point will come when the later group comes to outnumber the former. That may be real soon but few will know about it because they’re looking in the wrong places.How many consider that George Barna’s reports on Christianity (for example) find most of their customers within that very institution? Is Barna asking the right questions of the right people? What if the most important population segments never respond to surveys?The Emergent movement is pretty cool but I think it is really evolving rather than emerging. Brian McLaren is very bold and has a lot of courage but some of the Emergent blogs and sites that I’ve read spend more pixels talking about whiz bang technology than theological and ecclesiastical trends. Other sites are actually institutional folks trying to close the barn door after the horse is in the next county. I’ve been hanging out on online forums for twenty years now, so I’m not much impressed with technology for technology’s sake. We will know whether they’re emerging by the questions they’re willing to ask.bill

  15. I know this post is years old, I just stumbled upon your blog and thought I should start from the beginning….anyway, I once was a “stupid church person”….but praise be to God I got out while I was still alive! Anyway, I have thoroughly enjoyed the commentary on this post……I have one thing to say to the people who say Jesus calls us to love everyone(maybe 2 things…) Did you ever hear how Jesus spoke to the Pharisees and the self-appointed religious leaders of their day? Pretty intense, he basically laid into them and called it like he saw it, and essentially insulted them in the most intense way!! Hmmmm……As far as loving everyone, do you really think “we” can love everyone???? We can only love because “He” first loved us and because by His Spirit working in us to love!! Anyone, don’t know if the original readers will even read this or not, but I wanted to share regardless…..By the way, I hope to read to current day, I am enjoying your blog Steve….

  16. Phil –Hopefully you will read this…My name is Steve. I am the person that creates all of the original posts on this portion of “Stupid Church People” website. Eddie is a person that commented on the posts in this thread and other threads of my website. We are not the same person. Just to clarify things for you.Steve

  17. Geo thanks first for reading….WOW…Pittsburgh. This thing started so small it is hard to believe I have someone from PA writing. I am humbled.Since this seems to be about the fifth inquiry into my whereabouts in the last three days, I will go ahead and answer. I can only hope that these are friendly requests….My wife and I live in So Cal with our two sons (10 and 4).Now please don’t come egg our house!!On a serious note, someone made the suggestion that I post a biography so that readers can understand more of my journey to this point and where I am in relation to the church today. It’s a good idea and I will put something together over the next few days, so stay tuned.Finally…anyone interested in receiving email updates to the blog please send me your email address. Just click on the link to the right hand side of the blog to send me an email. Thanks.

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