(Photo: James Yates)
Amid all the changes in the Church, there are seven constants that can remind pastors and laypeople about what really matters, says a leading church trend analyst.
Thom S. Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, wrote in a recent column that he's "pretty good about projecting current trends toward a future reality" given his 30 years of researching and consulting with churches. And although he has had his "share of misses as well," he said he "can make a definitive statement" about several things in the church that will not change.
One thing that will not change is that the Bible is still the Word of God. "It always has been and always will be. It is sharper than a two-edged sword. It is powerful because it is the Word of God," he states.
Another point is the acknowledgement that the gospel still changes lives. "The gospel is the power unto salvation. The gospel transforms lives. The gospel is the same regardless of other changes in our churches."
Rainer told CP that Christians looking at his list can start by remembering that "God is in total control."
"Sometimes in the turbulent world we live, we need a reminder of His sovereignty. Similarly, we need to be reminded that God has spoken to us through His Word," Rainer said.
"In any organization, including churches, we can drift away from those things that really matter," he said. "It is good to refocus our efforts and prayers on that which matters the most."
He writes that for many people, the pace of change within the church is "disconcerting if not frightening."
"It can seem those things that we cherish are changing too fast or even being taken away from us. We all need these reminders that so much of God's work in His churches will never change. These are the things that really matter. These are the things that really make a difference in our churches and the world in which we minister," he stated.
In response to what he wants Christians to take away from his list, Rainer told CP, "For both pastors and laypersons, I would like to see them take away a message of hope. God is not done working in and through His churches."
The complete list of the seven things in that church that will not change can be found here.