1. A Move Beyond Church In A Box
Let me start out by saying I’m a huge supporter of the local church. Anyone who’s read these pages would know that. The mission of the local church is the most important mission on planet earth. Which is why this issue is so critical. This year I think more leaders than ever are going to rethink our centuries-old model of making people come to a building on Sunday.
2. The Digital Will Become Real
So what does better engagement beyond a set time and place on a Sunday look like? That’s a great question, and it the answer will require a ton of experimentation, but for sure it involves your digital reach.
3. Location Independence Will Rise
In many ways we’ve already seen this emerging, but there are a growing number of churches who will start to minister independent of location. In the future, many will consider a church to be their home church, even though the church is in a city they’ve never been to. Some leading churches are already getting innovative and are facilitating viewing parties, remote baptisms, remote gatherings, small gatherings and other connections will be part of the new normal for churches. In the same way more workers are increasingly location-independent thanks to technology, more churches will emerge as location independent.
4. Pop-Up Churches Will Become More Common
Remember that the future will be more digital and analog. One will not kill the other. As technology increases so does the need for human connection. In thriving ministry models, both digital and analog will grow. But as every church leader knows, to open a new campus or church in a new community takes time, money, risk and experimentation.
5. The Rise Of Preaching (More Than Teaching)
Another curious trend I’ve seen is that the next generation of preachers (under 40s) seem to preach more than they teach. It’s always hard to define the exact difference between the two, but simply put, preaching speaks more to the heart, teaching speaks more to the head. Preachers facilitate an experience. Teachers convey information. I think the best pastors do both well.
6. A Desire For Non-Downloadable Experiences
I realize you could argue that all these trends compete with each other (and they do), but welcome to 2018. Another trend you’ll see more of in 2018 is a growing desire for what I think of as ‘non-downloadable’ experiences. Yes, the church will become more digital, more location independent, more remote. Sermons can be consumed on a run, on a commute and while cooking dinner. I get that.
7. The Team Is Eclipsing The Solo Leader
Finally, to get really practical, you’ll see more team in 2018. The last few decades were characterized by leaders who owned a stage or a platform, preaching 52 times a year (or more with midweek). Team effort is eclipsing solo effort. A decade ago, you could name influential worship leaders.