By the Rev. Ken Howard
After more than five years of analyzing worldwide demographic trends affecting Christianity, I believe I can say with a high degree of confidence that Christianity is has entered a singularity of change and uncertainty unlike anything it has experienced since its inception. The institutional religion we have come to know as Christianity is dis-integrating at a rate that it will become unsustainable in its current form beyond the current century. The faith-based communities and organizations that make up institutional Christianity will have to adapt or die.
It’s a difficult message to digest. With new and breakaway denominations and faith communities coming into existence at a faster rate than ever before, and the number of new believers growing, it is tempting to think that all is well and all will continue to be well. But the Church is no less likely than other organizations to fall prey to the very human logical fallacy of thinking that just because it has been around in more-or-less its current form 2,000 years, it always will be. And the hard truth is that the total population of Christians is only growing at about half the rate of denominations and faith communities, driving the size of those institutions inexorably downward. [click here to read the research paper on Academia.edu]
To paraphrase Jesus, Those faith communities and organizations that rigidly hold onto their old ways of being will perish. Only those willing to let old ways die and experiment faithfully with new ways of being, will survive…and thrive.
To survive and thrive in the face of the singularity of uncertainty and change that is the twenty-first century, faith-based communities and organizations will have to become more lean, creative, and experimental. The FaithX Project is about providing the leaders of such communities with the tools they need – research-based principles and experimental practices – to discover the future that God holds in store for them: to face the singularity with courage and navigate it with agility.
We plan to disseminate these principle and practices widely through three channels:
- A Research-Based Book with practical, real-world examples, designed to equip new, experienced or aspiring leaders to prepare faith-based communities and organizations to survive and thrive amid escalating uncertainty and change.
- A Global, Online Community of practice, in which leaders on the front lines of faith-community development can come together to share lessons learned from successes and failures, develop best practices, explore new applications and seek advice and support from other practitioners.
- A Supported Consultancy to provide local faith-based communities and organizations with needed coaching and training at a cost they can afford.
Each of these three parts requires adequate resources of time and funding to do well. Which is why we are doing a Kickstarter campaign to fund it and why we hope you will prayerfully consider becoming a FaithX Project Backer (just click here).
I’m excited about this project. I’m excited about the potential it holds for the future of faith-based communities and organizations. I’m especially excited about the possibilities inherent in bringing together experience and insights from practitioner across multiple disciplines, and in creating resources with the active input of those we hope will benefit from them. I hope you share my excitement. And I hope you will help me bring it to fruition, not just as backers, but also as partners, practitioners, and fellow explorers of the undiscovered future that lies before us all.