7 Church Trends in 2018

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.

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3 Responses to 7 Church Trends in 2018

  1. Troy Day
    Troy Day February 20, 2018 at 6:48 pm #

    I know we put this together last year Joseph D. Absher

    BUT DOES ANY PASTOR HERE KNOW what a pop-up church is?

    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. Herrnhut Morton may agree that 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.

  2. Joseph D. Absher
    Joseph D. Absher February 20, 2018 at 9:20 pm #

    I’ve been trying to think like this. Nicky Cruz does what they call a “drive by” his team is called TRUCE. To Reach Urban Cities Everywhere. I think. He was in Milwaukee for two weeks a couple of years ago. Other church use the same M.O. go into a neighborhood flood a few blocks with flyers and personal invitations a hour before a “presentation” this will have what ever is available in resources. Haircuts, clothes, food, contemporary music, testimonies, and a short gospel presentation including an altar call.
    Given social media, flash mobs etc I’m wondering why we can’t announce a meeting at a location with foot traffic and “have church”
    Some of us are old enough to remember stories Christian’s being led to find each other for church in communist countries by nothing more than the leading of the spirit. I think some here may remember the huge crowds of listeners within a few hours of notice for those pioneers Whitefield and Wesley.
    If our young people. And God is raising many up, could catch this type of worship and service we may yet see an impact like the early days of the Salvation Army. When God flooded the streets of London with the knowledge of Jesus Christ. But the idea for me is to get in and get out. And of course network with the willing.
    It might work?

  3. Troy Day
    Troy Day February 20, 2018 at 9:22 pm #

    used to do – too old to do anything now – he’s 80

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