This first part of the 21st century may well be remembered as a “hybrid world.” Cars are morphing from purely gas to both gas and battery. Communication is morphing into email and text. Phones are morphing into all sorts of communication options.

Let me define “morph.” When something morphs it is neither this nor that but it is a combination of both in the beginning and becomes something totally different in the end (Like the caterpillar becoming a butterfly). Gas cars will give way to battery, email will give way to text, phones will give way to….

The church is no different. The church is morphing at the moment from traditional (whatever that means to you) to traditional and contemporary (whatever that means to you). In time, it will be hard to find what we call traditional today. Thirty years ago, most churches offered one form of worship.  Today, among established churches more than 30 years old, that has changed.

So we have moved from an either/or world to a both/and world. A hybrid world is always in flux, with one method or one technology overpowering the other at some point.

I remember many morphs taking place during my 27 years of pastoral ministry.  And in the midst of the morph we had a hybrid congregation for a time until the morph was finally completed. Here are the transitions I can remember.

  1. From totally traditional to a hybrid of several forms. (1970s)
  2. From print curriculum to digital software for children’s Sunday School. (1982)
  3. From a focus on Adult Sunday School to focus on small groups. (mid 80s)
  4. From preaching three points and a poem to narrative teaching.
  5. From tithe payment by check to an electronic payment.

Living in a hybrid world is either exhilarating or confusing. If you love innovation and change, it’s a wonderful time to be alive. But if you don’t like change it can be a frightening world. For me, it is a wondrous time and I can’t wait to see what is next on the horizon.

Question: What morphs are taking place in your hybrid world? Share your transitions in the Comments section below.

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