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The way people dress, how they connect, and what language they speak might change the appearance of the church 15 years from now—but truth is eternal one pastor said in a panel discussion at the Florida Baptist State Convention annual meeting Nov. 13 in Orlando. “Truth will never go out of style,” Jeremy Gates, pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Titusville said in response to a question by panel host David Uth, FBSC president and senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando. “People see authenticity. Truth is truth and Jesus will honor the truth. He said, ‘If you raise me up, I will be exalted.’” Uth convened a panel of Florida Baptist pastors “from the north and from the south” to answer questions about challenges their churches are facing and what they expect the church will look like in 15 years. Members of the panel included Gates; Jimmy Scroggins, First Baptist Church, West Palm Beach; William Rice, Calvary Baptist Church, Clearwater; Dean Inserra, City Church, Tallahassee; and Otto Fernandez, Riverside Baptist Church, Miami. “At the end of the day, people see through all of the programming, through all of the fluff, they just want to see that you are speaking truthfully to them,” Gates said about the importance of addressing current issues—such as homosexuality, fornication and adultery—with biblical truth. Truth, along with intentionally building relationships—like Jesus did in His ministry—are two things that will insure the church’s survival because they “never go out of style,” Gates said. Rice agreed relationships are important in church life. He noted a “paradigm shift” indicating a move away from an “institutional structure” towards relationships. There’s not much about the church that will change in 15 years, however, he said. “I still think worship will be huge as a front door to the church for people to hear and view the Gospel for themselves,” Rice said. // Read more via Pastors’ panel anticipates church 15 years in future What do YOU think will be the biggest changes in church life in the next 15 years?
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