The New Testament Church was birthed in the messiness of a religiously pluralistic society.
“Already but not yet” (ABNY) is a phrase which arises out of a system of Christian thought called kingdom theology. It captures the notion that God’s kingdom was inaugurated in Jesus’ death and resurrection and that this kingdom is already here on earth, but not yet in its fullness.
Likewise, in North America, we’re experiencing social realities that are ABNY. These sociological phenomena are at the cusp of fully breaking through. Now, even in their early stages, they’re already changing the conditions in which we think and do North American missiology. But when they’re in full bloom, missions in North America will never be the same.
If the North American Church of today can thoughtfully take into consideration these three social realities, we might not only catch up to how fast culture is changing, but we’ll also play a role in leading some of the change.
ABNY SOCIAL REALITY #1: Demographic Shifts in the U.S.
Much has been said about the 2010 U.S. Census and how demographers forecast that in the next few decades the U.S. will no longer have a majority race.
Basically, the U.S. is becoming like the city of 40 or 50 years ago where Whites were leaving and minorities were moving in.
In his book, Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics Are Remaking America, sociologist and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, William Frey, points out that Whites are aging and having fewer children. This, alongside the growth of Latino, Asian, and multiracial groups, will mean that in less than 30 years, Whites will comprise less than half of the U.S. population.
Besides racial composition, Frey points out that migration is something else to consider. Blacks are leaving cities for the suburbs …