Metaphor will prove the primary language of the future church. Are you ready for this new language? Let’s find out. See if you can answer "yes" to the questions below.

First, however, consider this:

The greatest metaphor of all time was Jesus Himself. Prophetic metaphor confirmed His entire ministry. Paul said, "(Jesus) is the exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]." (Col. 1:15, AMP) And finally, His very death and resurrection, Paul said, were metaphors of our own death and resurrection—in our daily lives, and for eternity. (Rom. 6:5)

The rediscovery of metaphor brings incredible revelations. If we understand the laws of prophetic metaphor, we understand the power of prophetic leadership—the awesome mystery of worship—the laws of all the arts—and the language of the postmodern world.

Now, if you are ready for this ancient/new language, can you answer "yes" to the following questions?

Have you seen breakthroughs that resulted more from metaphor than from doctrine or rhetoric?

Have you noticed "Truth" emerging from "contradictions of reason"?

Have "events" often become more important than "words"?

Have you intentionally placed things side by side that don’t belong together?

Do your worshipers often experience opposite or paradoxical emotions in the same service? Even simultaneously?

Can you remember a "furious calm," a "terrifying beauty," or similar opposites?

Do you intentionally hold the "force of habit" in your congregation in tension with the "intrusion of the new"?

Is "the veil of familiarity" sometimes stripped from your service?

Do you often "see something noticeable which makes you see something you weren’t noticing which makes you see something that isn’t even visible"?

Have you experienced metaphor as an autonomous force--a "not-you"?

Can you describe any previous service as a truly "incarnate dialogue" (as opposed to an "imitative monologue")?

Is there an "Otherness" in your service? (What’s your proof? Is it manipulated or does it surprise everyone, including the leaders?)

Rather than a theological idea or an old religious assumption, have you actually witnessed "the Spirit taking on body and the body taking on Spirit." (How do you know?)


Again, metaphor will prove the primary language of the future church. For more, see "Questions for Clergy," Parts II and III.

© 2010 Thomas Hohstadt

Future Church Administrator