Stuart Murray Williams is a writer and speaker about our current cultural climate and how it effects the church.  I’ve been so encouraged and helped by him personally in recent years, and others like him.  I think his 7 ‘transitions’ are really helpful in light of the discussion on yesterday’s post ‘Why Us Millennials Are Leaving the Church’.  I believe there is a possibility that some millennials have already adjusted much more to these shifts, we were born well into Christendom’s fading glory, which may provide an underlying cause of the tension that exists.

Here they are.

Post-Christendom includes the need for the following transitions:

From the centre to the margins:  in Christendom the Christian story and the churches were central, but in post-Christendom these are marginal

From majority to minority:  in Christendom, Christians comprised the (often overwhelming) majority, but in post-Christendom we are a minority.

From settlers to sojourners:  in Christendom Christians felt at home in a culture shaped by their story, but in post-Christendom we are aliens, exiles and pilgrims in a culture where we no longer feel at home.

From privilege to plurality:  in Christendom Christians enjoyed many privileges, but in post-Christendom we are one community among many in a plural society.

From control to witness:  in Christendom churches could exert control over society, but in a post-Christiendom we exercise influence only through witnessing to our story and its implications.

From maintenance to mission:  in Christendom the emphasis was on maintaining a supposedly Christian status quo, but in post-Christendom it is on mission within a contested environment.

From institution to movement:  in Christendom churches operated mainly in institutional mode, but in post-Christendom we must become again a Christian movement.

One thought on “Shift

  1. Thanks for sharing your journey via these posts – I am a child of the 60s, but recognise/identify with so much of this. Two books I have found helpful: Tangible Kingdom, by us duo Halter and Smay; and Hospitality and Community after Christendom by Andrew Francis, part of the After Christendom series you refer to. It does seem to me that the idea and actuality of hospitality and community are at the heart of what it means to provide a living demonstration of kingdom values, and can be practised both ‘within’ and ‘without’ the walls of ‘inherited church’.
    Keep following Jesus!
    (Following you from just up the road in Alnwick!)

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