Many people today are trying to forecast the future of the church. As contemporary culture becomes less and less "Christian" and more secular, fewer people outside the church will see value in Sunday Schools, Vacation Bible Schools, or even worship services. The world will continue to walk away from any church that cannot address its needs in relevant ways. These basic human needs include:
1) the need for authentic relationships;
2) a need to dedicate ourselves to something greater than ourselves so we may see our lives as significant and meaningful, and
3) a need to feel secure, to feel that we are not at the mercy of an uncaring universe.
Faith in Jesus Christ speaks clearly to all these needs. What the church needs is an effective way to communicate God's loving call to a world that doesn't value sermons or Bible studies. This call will come within relationships of integrity and love. Christians who live in the world, but belong to Christ, can build such relationships with those who belong to the world. Through these relationships the Holy Spirit can call the world to faith in Jesus Christ.
If the church is to be faithful to its mission today, one key starting point will be equipping its members to build authentic relationships. In this context they can live out the proclamation of the gospel to a world that needs love, faith, and hope.