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A Cry for Racial Diversity

The greatest mosaic of all is the kingdom of God. Diversity and multiethnicity exist not as an attempt to incorporate politically correct ideas into the church but as a manifestation of God's love toward all His children. Pentecost was a multiethnic, multilingual experience. American Christianity is not. That's about to change.

For too long the church in America has embraced defacto segregation whereby we define the church not only by its denominational affiliation but even more so by its racial and ethnic composition. This emerging generation is privy to a powerful truth: Only a multiethnic kingdom culture can repudiate the spirits of Herod, Absalom, Jezebel, and Sodom and Gomorrah.Racial diversity may very well save American Christianity. Historically, white evangelical believers focused on righteousness or vertical issues such as abortion and marriage while ethnic believers channeled resources into the horizontal issues of justice, poverty and equality. Next Generation believers will converge at the nexus of the gospel message-where John 3:16 meets Matthew 25; where righteousness marries justice while moral relativism, cultural decay and spiritual apathy simultaneously acquiesce before a robe of many colors.

In other words, American evangelicalism will be less segregated, more integrated and more committed to authentic community outreach. Be advised, our young people have no interest in sitting in the pews of a church that is entirely white, black or Hispanic. They desire diversity, not in the context of political correctness, but in the Spirit of Pentecost.

Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and the Hispanic National Association of Evangelicals (nhclc.org). read more


Five Radical Shifts

I believe the church will experience five radical shifts by the year 2020. First, there will be a renewed emphasis on integrity, purity and example—the three pillars of Paul’s model. Results will no longer substitute for character, and gifts will no longer replace anointing. Secondly, I believe that discipleship will be more prominent than events or attendance. A new generation of American believers will be on the scene emphasizing radical prayer, radical evangelism and radical discipleship. Thirdly, there will be a new missions movement sweeping our nation. Churches that have lost their world vision will be planting thousands of churches at home and abroad. Fourthly, along with harvest will come hostility. The darkened minds of people will see the church as their enemy and focus on eliminating us as their primary threat to their new morality and Christ-less religion. Finally, the power of God will return to the American church. The need for deliverance and healing will spark a hunger for the gifts of the Spirit, the baptism of the Spirit and the testimony of signs and wonders.

 

Larry StockstiII is senior pastor at Bethany World Prayer Center.

 

 

Click here to read other 2020 predictions from respected church leaders. read more

Church & Technology

With the advent of the Internet, advanced telecommunications and satellite uplinks, technology has changed how we communicate. Most of us never would have imagined these developments would also impact how we worship. However, in recent decades, the church has entered a new era: technology.

Traditionally the church brought the people to the message; now the challenge is taking the message to the people, regardless of geographic location or status. Today technology enables the church to reach multitudes worldwide through various modes: movies, television, podcasts, satellite, streaming and social Web sites such as Facebook.

The church is using these advancements to bridge the generational gap. Although baby boomers are accustomed to human interaction, this new generation isn’t. Progressive churches must use both the personal and the technical contact of the times. This generation will sit at the dinner table and text one another, even though they’re sitting nearby. Because churches are beginning to utilize technology, they are now able to effectively reach younger and older generations globally.

For the church to continue reaching people, we must be willing to change with the times. The Bible says for us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but who would have thought that the assembling could one day include a chat room called the sanctuary?


Bishop T. D. Jakes is pastor of The Potter’s House in Dallas. read more

Rebuilding the Family

In 2020 the church will have to rebuild families in an unprecedented manner. We will have to specialize in deeper mentoring, inner healing and deliverance ministries for men who have been captured by the allure of pornography, promiscuity and, in some cases, prostitution. The open struggles of Tiger Woods, John Edwards, Larry Craig and others show us the emerging need of this for the future generation of men.

Just as natural technologies evolve every few years, so our spiritual technologies for ministry must evolve to keep pace with cultural challenges. We must place greater emphasis on Christian courtship and youth discipleship. In 2020 I believe the average age for Christian marriages will actually decline.

Parents, pastors and young people must better understand the wholesome expression of sexuality in the context of marriage. In a nutshell, the church will rebuild broken men and women while launching younger, stronger couples to create a new culture of marriage within the church. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, but the things of the kingdom will endure forever (see Heb. 12:27).

 

Harry Jackson is senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD.


Click here to read other 2020 predictions from respected church leaders. read more

Ministry Paradigm Shift

The church is about to experience a paradigm shift in preparation for life in 2020. I believe the season for larger and larger houses of worship is coming to an end, as is the Field of Dreams ministry strategy that says if we build it, they will come. The idea that bigger is better, especially as it relates to bigger buildings, may be an approach to ministry that is about to transition into history. 

Today’s technological advances present options for doing ministry unknown in times past that can revolutionize life in the kingdom here on earth. What most of us in megachurches see on Sunday mornings—thousands of worshippers gathering in one location—is not a New Testament model. As the New Testament church grew, the mass gatherings with the Temple as the focal point of worship were replaced by smaller gatherings like the church in Aquila and Priscilla’s house. Certainly this shift was precipitated by the unique non-Jewish cultures of these young fledgling congregations, but I think there is a more universal principle being implied: In order to impact a city or culture, it may be more effective to shift from the church gathered in one large location to multiple smaller settings scattered throughout the community and connected by the prevailing technology of the day. If we were to corner some of my big-building, megaministry colleagues when the cameras aren’t rolling and the reporters aren’t taking notes, many would admit that if they had it to do again, they would not build as big. I don’t think we were out of the will of God; it may just be that we were par in a season whose time may be coming to an end. We shall see.

 

Kenneth UImer
Faithful Central Bible Church

 

Click here to read other 2020 predictions from respected church leaders. read more

In a New Season?

"Sometimes we must step away from a situation to really see how God is working on our behalf. God is always doing something new. He has given you strategies and has shown you how to make it in dry places.  Rely on Him."

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. - Isaiah 43:19 read more

What Are You Standing On?

“Build your hope on the sure foundation of Jesus Christ, who is the solid rock.  When you do not know what to do, grab hold of His love. So when the rain, the floods and the winds come, you can endure them.”

Matthew 7:24-25

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. read more

Just One Look

“It often serves us best if we don't look back.  When Lot’s wife looked back she turned into a pillar of salt.  What would we turn into if we looked to the past?  It's time to move forward!”
Read Genesis 19:26
"But his wife (Lot’s wife) looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt" NKJV. read more

No Weapon Formed Will Prosper

Even if a weapon was formed against you it will not prosper.  So go ahead and stand firm in the faith and trust in the Lord your God!  He is able.
Isaiah 54:17

"No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me,” says the LORD. read more

I Am Victorious

Believe and say, today and everyday of your life, 'I refuse to be the victim.  By faith I know that all is well and because of Jesus Christ I am victorious every time!  

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. --1 Corinthians 15:57 read more

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