FROM THE EDITOR
Countless events of 2001 served to confirm the obvious; we live in a rapidly changing world.
Since the ’60s the church has been hit by change full blast, experiencing continuous serious decline, and bringing cries from society, “Is the church dead?”
Curiously, throughout this time people have continued to remain religious. As one researcher commented, “Amid the crumbling foundations of organised religion, the spiritual supermarket is on the rise.” It seems that belief in a supernatural dimension of reality is widespread and shows no sign of abating.
When the world changed radically and irrevocably from the 1960s, the church was caught unaware and unprepared, and has continued to be shaped by a set of values, attitudes and styles that belonged to a previous era. The result, sadly, was a great marginalisation of the church. As a consequence, though still interested in spirituality, the vast majority of the under 50s have responded by shopping elsewhere.
But early results from the National Church Life survey conducted in May last year suggest many churches are open to new possibilities with some 62 per cent of attendees feeling their church is willing to try something new and over 50 per cent describing their congregations as moving in new directions.
Encouraging as this may be, it is really only the first step and we need to prepare for even more change.
The Barna Research Group of Ventura, California, suggests that by the end of the decade 50 million Americans will seek to have their spiritual experience solely through the Internet.
ALIVE Magazine is committed to be a resource as we travel the journey of change. In this issue the articles on Harry Potter, Philip Yancey, balancing work and life and missions in the 21st Century have been selected with this in mind. We trust they serve you well as you confront and embrace change in your walk of faith.
Publisher, on behalf of the ALIVE team