When Jesus said 'I will build my church', he didn't put any time limit on it. It's because of Jesus, I am optimistic about the future of the church. So, whilst I don't sit comfortably with the doomsayers, who suggest the body of Christ, in the UK, is likely to disappear, I am able to read the signs of the times and think it highly probable the denominational landscape, as we know it, will look very different in twenty years from now. It means, however, whilst every congregation of the body of Christ can look forward positively towards Jesus' church being alive, in our nation, none can make any assumptions concerning their place with it, in even ten years time.
Evenso, the future of the Church is not an 'if', but a 'when'. What will it look like is becoming a growing question within the consciousness of the mainstream, rather than simply the adventurers. The ferment this is creating will hopefully prove to be sufficient to prise many of us (here I'm using 'us' for Baptists) away from our assumed traditions.
Maybe we can use preaching as an example? I don't read in my Bible the suggestion preaching is something which happens according to any particular style. What I do read, however, are some clear convictions concerning the word of God.
Do we need people who can articulate and open up the word of God, for the people of God to implement authentically in discipleship, engaging among the people groups they inhabit? Absolutely.
Do we need Ministers who simply assume because they 'preach', but make no attempt to root this word in the ordinary lives of people, who can live it out, their particular congregation will continue to draw from the wellspring of life?