Over the past week, I have been involved in several conversations about the church of the future, or the “next” church.  People usually approach this conversation from one of two perspectives—either, fear and concern for the future of the Church, especially the perspective that the church is dying and their will be no church; or excitement that the institutional church, as we have known it, will die and we can create something brand new.

I believe there are more options and perspectives than those two. What about the churches who are responding to God’s invitation to meet people where they are and minister, sharing God’s love with others? What about the churches who are creating safe spaces for all of God’s children? What about the churches who are discerning their faith journey, working together to determine who God is calling them to be? These churches are being the church of now and are growing into who they will be in the future.

From the Center for Congregational Health, we are working with many congregations who are on this journey, determining who God is calling them to be now and next. These churches are living with a vibrancy and vitality that is boosting their sense of community, clarifying their identity in the present and opening the pathways for change and ministry in the future. This is exciting work to see congregations be who God is calling them to be. What we definitely know is that congregations and faith communities have the opportunity to respond to God’s call in new and creative ways.