Ten Paradigm Shifts Toward Community Transformation

by Eric Swanson, Nov 22, 2008

There is a quiet movement of the Spirit of God causing believers to re-examine how they ‘do church.’ Churches are throwing out the old measures of success. It’s no longer merely about size, seeker sensitivity, spiritual gifts, church health, nor the number of small groups. It’s about making a significant and sustainable difference in the lives of people around us—in our communities and in our cities.

A small cloud is on the horizon.  The winds of change are beginning to gather strength and with certainty a storm is coming…change is coming.  All over our world there is a quiet movement of the Spirit of God that is causing believers to re-examine how they “do church.”  Churches are throwing out the old measures of success.  It’s no longer merely about size, seeker sensitivity, spiritual gifts, church health, nor the number of small groups.  It’s about making a significant and sustainable difference in the lives of people around us—in our communities and in our cities.

There is a growing awareness that we cannot continue to do the same old things and expect a different result.  If we want to be the salt and light, we as the church were created to be, we have to do something different…we have to be something different!  Community transformation is not found in programs, strategies, campaigns or tactics.  For most of us it will take nothing less than a shift of seismic proportions in what the church is to be in the 3rd millennium.   A paradigm is a model consisting of shared assumptions regarding what works or what is true.  A paradigm shift is that “aha!” moment when one sees things in such a new light that one can never go back to the old ways again.  Each paradigm shift takes us from model of thinking that we must discard to a new model that we must embrace.  A new paradigm is the new wineskins that will be needed to hold the new assumptions about what is true.  To maximize our impact on our communities–urban, suburban or rural, we need changes in at least ten of our paradigms of how we currently view church.

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