A new approach

The church In America is shrinking.  

According to countless studies and experts, the percentage of people with a church connection has consistently declined over the last two decades, and even more quickly in the past few years. The Barna group recently reported that currently only one in four Americans is a practicing Christian, and that even demographics that had historically been stable in their church affiliation (boomers and older adults) have dropped off precipitously.  In urban areas like Los Angeles, this trend has been even more pronounced.  It’s clear to everyone that we have entered a new era.

Shifting the os

To borrow an analogy from the tech world: instead of looking to run new programs, perhaps it’s time to change our OS (our underlying operating system).  And counterintuitively, the culture-shifting moment we find ourselves in due to the pandemic provides an excellent opportunity to do so.  As churches everywhere have had to find brand new ways to do ministry, this is a moment tailor-made not just for temporary fixes, but for reinvention.  

The best estimates are that “normal” church will not be returning for about another year (fall of 2021), and that this will cement a new shift people’s church engagement.  Some see further drops in attendance, while others see new opportunities.  Specifically, this is a moment that creates an opportunity to develop platforms that will result in new/hybrid models that will continue post-pandemic.  In other words, we have a unique opportunity to shift the OS. 

A new model

This proposal presents such a model.

Believing that God has birthed a new idea through the experimentation that we have been doing during the pandemic, Reimagine Church is launching a new expression of spiritual community that creates an intersection between four things (think of all of them as meeting at a crossroads)…

    • The needs/interests of current culture
    • The best opportunities of digital/online presence and creativity
    • A more personal and relational approach to evangelism and spiritual formation
    • Proven best practices in church planting applied to a new paradigm

The plan comes in three stages. It begins in our present moment with a primarily online focus; moves to a hybrid model to provide for in-person connection as the pandemic eases; and moves in its third stage to a fully developed model that provides a clear direction for continued growth.