The face of the Christian Church is changing. Regardless of denomination we are experiencing a challenge that faces churches both large and small in membership. As the world around us continues to change, the Church must be willing to change with it. We cannot continue to do the same things that we have done in the past lest we get the same results, results which are declining numbers and growing skepticism about the value of church membership.
In the face of what is emerging in Christianity in this the twenty-first century it is important for the ordained to be well grounded in their own spiritual formation, for we can only teach, preach and lead from the depth of our own personal spiritual experience. They must be aware that all of us are different and live our lives from different motivations; the understanding of which strengthens us in our ministry to individuals, each of whom must have their own experience.
As technology advances we are more and more connected to others both near us and around the globe. This connection demands of us, especially as Christians, the need to find what we hold in common rather than what separates us from one another. And so as Christian we must be challenged by the life, teaching and example of Jesus to live and express a new kingdom. Modern biblical scholarship calls us to seek once again, as we have often in the past, the historical Jesus and the call to discipleship that flows from answering the call to “follow me.” The Spirit that we have been given continually graces us with insight and understanding for our day.
All of this must then be brought together in an understanding of just how it is lived out in the practice of day in and day out ministry in a local church setting. As the church deals with the questions of authority, issues of social justice and how we can work together with one another in the midst of different polities, we need to find unity in the midst of diversity that is marked with respect and appreciation for our common heritage.