Everyone seems to be producing their Top Trends for the Next Decade lists as we have entered the 20-tens.
I have read several lists describing the shifts in global Christianity and Evangelical life in America. Well, I am from KY and my perspective is much more local and Baptist. So I thought I would offer my Top 8 Trends for those of us who live, minister in, and love KY Baptist churches in the Bluegrass State.
(These are in no order of importance.)
1. Christians in KY Baptist churches will see an increase in the debate over Calvinism vs. Arminianism. Especially as it relates to preaching, pastoral leadership, evangelism and church leadership.
2. Christians in KY Baptist churches will see a continued decline in revivals, street preaching, door-to-door witnessing, and event-based “draw them in” methods of evangelism. Relational and servant evangelism is quickly becoming the method of choice.
3. Christians in KY Baptist churches will see an explosion of new church plants, but in contrast, they will not see the renewal of aging, established churches. Younger leaders are choosing to plant new work vs. fighting established traditions.
4. Christians in KY Baptist churches will see Christian parents returning as an integral part of the children and youth ministries. Separating out Christian parents from the spiritual development of their children is not working over the long-haul.
5. Christians in KY Baptist churches will see less participation with local Baptist associations. If the church has more than 100 attenders, it will access the resources of the local association less and less. Information and training is too widely available via the internet.
6. Christians in KY Baptist churches will see an enormous increase in the use of technology and social media in every aspect of the church. More technology will be used in worship, in communication, in children & youth ministries and in church administration. Social media will become the link for prayer, networking, community involvement, missions, and fellowship with other members.
7. Christians in KY Baptist larger churches will see CEO-type pastoral leadership decrease, and pastors who view their work as more theological and pastoral increase. The business manager / company president model of pastoral leadership is moving away fast in our state, the sacred desk and pastoral study is returning.
8. Christians in KY Baptist churches will have to hire much younger leaders on their staffs. The Builders have retired or died. The Boomers are only a few years away from a mass exodus. There aren’t enough Gen X’ers to fill the pulpits and staffs. So the Millennials will be the only viable choice to fill positions. However, these younger leaders think VERY differently about church leadership and some (including me) are wondering if they even want the job in the first place.