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What Are Your Thoughts on the Church of the Future?

The church is changing . . . again. Throughout history, the church has adapted, evolved, grown, and shrunk. Where will it go in America in the next 20 years? Some have pronounced the church’s demise, while others tout its growth.

I’d like your opinions. To stir your thoughts, I’m giving you Carey Nieuwhof’s “10 Predictions about the Future Church and Shifting Attendance Patterns” (Christian Week, January 25, 2016):

  1. The potential to gain is still greater than the potential to lose.
    Stated simply, the church can still grow if it overcomes its own missteps.
  2. Churches that love their model more than the mission will die.
    Churches need to stay focused on the mission of leading people to relationship in Jesus but innovative in the model for fulfilling the mission.
  3. The gathered church is here to stay.
    While the sense of institution is in lower regard, the gathering of the body of believers still belongs.
  4. Consumer Christianity will die and a more selfless discipleship will emerge.
    Church for entertainment—what’s in it for me—won’t work. It has to be about giving our lives for a mission.
  5. Sundays will become more about what we give than what we get.
    Outward focus, doing what is right, becomes the mantra. As Bob Goff has described, we need to do less “Bible study” and more “Bible doing.”
  6. Attendance will no longer drive engagement; engagement will drive attendance.
    Getting people in the door is far less important than getting them engaged outside the doors.
  7. Simplified ministries will complement people’s lives, not compete with people’s lives.
    Churches can end up burning people out with all their programs. The buzzwords—complement, not consume.
  8. Online church will supplement the journey but not become the journey.
    No matter how effective the online community becomes, people still need presence in order for relationships to be most effective.
  9. Online church will become more of a front door than a back door.
    Instead of being a place for the disgruntled—a place of last resort, the online church will and should be a place to open the door to engagement.
  10. Gatherings will be smaller and larger at the same time.
    Churches will continue to seek to establish smaller, more intimate gatherings, while those churches who are effective in their mission will grow in size.

What are your thoughts about the church of the future as well as the need to grow more generous communities?

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About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the Signatry: A Global Christian Foundation. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. » Learn More. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously.

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