A Rude Shock Awaits Us . . . . . .
If we believe things won’t change. Why? Because of the Mega-Trends of our times. Mega-Trends are the global currents of events and influences that are reshaping our world and Australian society, over which we have little or no control. They are many.
There is the Globalization of trade and therefore employment. This means that businesses and their products that used to be local are moved overseas and decisions affecting employment are made by those who have no interest in the social welfare of Australians.
There is the Globalization of communication through technology especially the internet so that communication that once took weeks, now is instantaneous. There are many benefits to this but it also can be used for destructive purposes ranging from the rapid recruitment of gatecrashers to a teenager’s party to the summoning of violent gangs to cause mayhem on the streets of London.
There is the globalization of financial markets; and the potential for the recent chaos we have seen as international stock market players switch their investments at frightening speed for their own interest, but creating many losers in the process. In parallel with this is the Mega-shift of financial power from the West to the East with the rise of China.
There is the nuclearisation of the world, with more unstable states acquiring nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.
There is the rapidly increasing fragmentation of society, the breakdown of families where the ‘nuclear’ family is now in the minority; where the majority of homes are occupied by singles or DINKS (Double income, no kids).
There is the trend towards increasing environmental pollution and damage to the planet, including the effect of a warming planet, even if we are not sure why.
There is the shift of the centre of gravity of the Christian church from the North to the South. In parallel with which there is the retreat of the gospel in the former Christianized, if not Christian, nations of the western world including Australia.
If nothing else this has resulted in a degrading of community standards and behaviour, where ‘me first-ism’ and ‘what I want-ism’ control. The result being a less giving, less caring and self absorbed society.
There is the marginalization of the church, and the development of a Biblically illiterate society. This has massively reduced the influence of the gospel of Christ and its capacity to both prevent and heal social ills.
Indeed we will have a rude shock if we think that our world and Australia will stay the same because all these Mega-Trend are coming together to produce a ‘Perfect Storm’ that will rapidly continue to change the world and the culture of the society we live in.
For this reason also, we will have a rude shock if we think the church many have known and loved, some of us for decades, will stay the same. The only question is will the church change by default or in a planned way. It will be by default of we are Ostriches and bury our heads in the sand and pretend that the ‘storm ‘will not affect us. It will be in a planned and God honouring way if we pay heed to the Mega-Trends and seek to construct a church that is a suitable vessel to sail though the storm that is descending, and that is capable of carrying out God’s mission for the proclamation of Christ.
21st century churches have a simple and urgent choice. The Ostrich response that will ignore the reality of our times and which, at best, will continue to try to patch up a leaky boat that will eventually sink, or a new model, one which is specifically designed for the stormy weather ahead. Part of the message of Amos to God’s people can be paraphrased as-
‘I’m not very interested in how you think ‘church’ should be, it’s what I want that counts’
Reading the Mega-Trends of our time is like reading the weather forecast to which the good sailor pays close attention. A ‘Rude shock’ awaits us if we do not. May we be like the good sailor, reading the socio-spiritual weather forecast, the Mega-Trend signs of the times, and be prepared to do what it takes to construct a vessel fit for the storm tossed voyage ahead, for God’s glory.