In my previous post Emerging church I listed some of the threads that are happening around the web and some opinions on why this is happening now.
In this post I’ll give my own thoughts on why we’re seeing such a big shift happening.
Take a look at this Status of Global Mission, 2005 research from the Center for the Study of Global, which is a research center dedicated to measuring Christianity and world religions.
Firstly, I see that approximately half of the world population is now urbanised. This means the gospel is far easier to spread because people literally live in the same city as you do. It also means that people can meet up more easily and different kinds of gatherings. (When we all lived on farms we didn’t need to have discussions about emerging ways of gathering together etc.)
Secondly, the world is rapidly (as a %) becoming literate – this means that people can get a copy of the bible and read it for themselves. The power of scaremongering and heresay reduces significantly when people can read about the life of Jesus for themselves. The result of education is that people can think for themselves – they should! God doesn’t want automatons or robots, He wants partners to spread the good news about Jesus. He gave us a brain to think, not to be mindless.
In 2025 it is estimated the literate population will be 5,015,884,000 and nonliterate population will be 934,703,000 – 82% of the world population will be literate – this is an even more fertile ground for evangelism!
In mid-2005 we have 4,500 cities which have over 100,000 people! We have 440 cities that each contain over 1 million people! No wonder we’re seeing mega-churches… we have mega-cities!
This is a lot of people who can connect and reconnect in entirely new ways. I say new ways, because we you have a critical volume of anything then you will see new combinations and recombinations of those old combinations. New relationships will form, new ways of doing things that were not possible before.
With the internet, everyone has a pulpit and the Holy Spirit can encourage anyone to have a blog. It’s free. It’s immediately dissemanated through Technorati and the other republishing sites… and each blog will uniquely idnetify that person’s interest and focus. It is their pulpit – regardless of whether they went to seminary or not.
So that’s my take on why we’re seeing this enormous shift in the fabric of church… because society itself has changed significantly.