We see a church wide-eyed with promise for the future rather than sad-hearted about the fading glories of the past; a church that has been healed of her cynicism and matured into a second innocence; that refuses to let her ministry be defined by her wounds, but will love recklessly and give effusively of herself.
We see a church colored by love and friendship at all levels; a church that recognizes our true belongings are not our possessions, but our relationships; a church that doesn't merely promise but also experiences laughter, joy, hope, and strength.
We see a church full of noble ambition to shadow God; a church developing new voices to refine and invigorate our faith; a church so committed to the good of the world that we will train leaders and preachers and innovators for the next 10,000 years to sing the Lord's song in tune with the times.
We see a church that raises technologists the way American churches once raised gospel singers; a church that develops and implements new strategies for the holistic integration of science, technology, and faith; a church that melds metaphysics with quantum physics, that believes our humanity is revealed through our treatment of others.
We see a church that celebrates talent, passion, and skill; that perceives performance as a conduit of faith, not a counterfeit manifestation of worship; a church committed to content creation and resource distribution, where artifacts, events, and initiatives embody the gospel.
We see a church that elevates women to the highest offices as equal partners with men, shadowing God; that pairs surrogate parents and grandparents, mentors and reverse-mentors, so everyone experiences healthy family among the people of God.
We see a church that understands what you do flows from who you are, because identity and vocation are entwined.
We see a church that interrupts evil and sets crooked paths straight; that invests in making and keeping things right; that opposes the sour and cultivates the sweet in anticipation of the rightful King resuming his throne.
We see a church that understands imagination is godly; tries new things and avoids sacralizing current methodologies. We see the church as a palace of endless imagination, drawing the world in wonder to the mind of God.
We see a church that pounces joyfully on new opportunities, confident in her ability to make mid-course corrections; a church that prototypes, iterates, and improvises as we progress in step with the Spirit.
We see a church where story, image, and metaphor are the default apologetic; a church comfortable with paradox that doggedly pursues the Truth and regards easy answers with suspicion.
We see a church that embraces the lonely and broken people of our communities, providing aid and comfort as though Christ himself had shown up in rags; that employs our unemployed; that educates our under-served; that elevates our down-trodden; that trains our unskilled; that won’t turn a blind eye when one of our own struggles or starves; that refuses to allow others to glory in their victimization.
We see a church that bursts with the power and provocation of the scriptures, where God's Word is not endured but embodied; a church where everyone can hear the gospel in their vernacular at all times, across all platforms, through any medium; that translates the wisdom of yesterday into the foundation for tomorrow.
We see a church where the size of the gift is weighed less than the heart of the giver; not acting as a reservoir, but a river of generosity, where we all give all we are in service to our King; a church through which God's people cooperate in his mission to heal the world.
We see a church that does a lot with a little; that leverages power and influence without catering to the prejudice of privilege; a church that spends frugally and sacrifices joyfully, announcing grace is free and God is here.
We see a church concerned with pastoring the planet, drawing together resources to bring wise order to our world; a church that makes no distinction between honoring God and honoring God's Creation; that works to restore cities and species, landscapes and ecologies, neighborhoods and ethnicities, economies and cultures, so that everything flourishes in the presence of God.
We see a church infused with playfulness, artistry and interactivity; where the lines between audience and attraction are blurred; where the decisions, abilities, and behaviors of the common people influence the form and flavor of worship.
We see a church that celebrates cultural events as teachable moments; that enjoys the origin and ritual of holidays, perceiving gospel resonance in festival, season, and tradition.
We see a church ennobled in creativity and the arts, not emulating present fashions but surpassing them in style, ability, and verve.
We see a church where penitent saints and remorseful sinners kneel in recognition of the undeserved grace of God; that believes prayer is like oxygen and that we will not survive unless we inhale the presence of Christ persistently, patiently and with the expectation that he renews us both together and alone; a church born again and again and again, finding new life in Christ every day; a church that thirsts for the holy and incorporates the long mysteries of faith.
We see a church desperately in love with Jesus, consumed by the energy of the Spirit, and in perpetual submission to the Father. We see a church networked beyond the ghettos of denomination and politics, elevating Christ above all competing concerns. It is a church where the means of expanding the kingdom always defer to the end-goal of knowing, and loving, and following, the King.
For more, read "Then. Now. Next: A biblical vision of the church, the kingdom, and the future"