Thoughts on “The Present Future”

I finished reading Reggie McNeal’s book, “The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church.”

Whenever we are on the beginning stages of a new movement, there seems to be couple of things that become apparent. First of all, things in the movement change very rapidly, therefore it is hard to keep current with the writings. Secondly, some of the writings are just predictions and usually based on the writer’s experiences.

Nevertheless, we must listen carefully to the Holy Spirit. So often people are either too far ahead or too far behind God that we miss Him completely. When we are inside the will of the God, it is the best feeling. In fact, it is like catching a wave in surfing (so I hear) and catching a gust of wind in sailing (I can testify).

I was encouraged by this book knowing that Reggie McNeal has more than 20+ years of experience, both as a pastor and a practitioner of church movements. Some of the things that McNeal shared grabbed my attention. He address six important realities in our generation:

1) The collapse of the church culture
2) The shift from church growth to kingdom growth
3) A new reformation: releasing God’s people
4) The return to spiritual formation
5) The shift from planning to preparation
6) The rise of apostolic leadership

A lot of times we think we are headed toward the future but in reality the future is headed toward us. Many of us hold to the view that the present makes sense only as we see it from the past. But the truth is that the present makes the most sense in light of the future. It is amazing to think that God creates history ahead of time… as McNeal said, “God always backcast. The future is always incipient in the present.” God begins with the end in mind.

One new movement is the “rise of apostolic leadership.” As a matter of fact, it is just going back to the original pattern that we see in the Book of Acts, when the early church was explosive and transformed their known world in their time. In Ephesians 4, it talks about 5 specific functions (roles) that are used to build up the church towards maturity – prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers and apostles (Eph 4:11). All of the roles have been reclaimed in our generation except the gift of apostleship. This is a new day.

I am pretty pumped to hear McNeal speak at our AMI Leadership Summit in New Jersey hosted by Acts Community Church and Remnant Presbyterian Church. Hopefully, we will hear a fresh voice to what God is already doing.

Spiritual ENTREPRENEUR, Church EQUIPPER, Leadership EDUCATOR, Ideas EXPERIMENTER & Global EXPLORER who is trying to transform lives and transform the world.
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