Have you been around long enough to see bell-bottom jeans come into style, go out, then come back in again? I have. And I’ve noticed the same type of trends in ministry. There’s nothing new under the sun. What’s old is new again.
Take the church growth movement for example. It was very popular for a while, then got a bad rap for being too numbers-driven. Yet some of the core concepts have value, and as such, they’re coming back in again… this time referred to as an organizational, systems approach. Often trends or models come back into style under new terms, but the concepts themselves can actually be 30 or 40 years old. Likely they’re even older than that, but I just don’t remember the first few times they came around.
The great thing about this cycle is that each new generation discovers important concepts for themselves, seeing them as new and fresh and reinventing them along the way.
Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever….
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
No one remembers the former generations,
and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow them.
— Ecclesiastes 1:4, 9-11