Obviously this is written with some bias. And I should note that I work in and belong to the non-denomination movement. Which let’s be honest, is a denomination. And while you can certainly gear these towards the church as a whole in America, I am writing from my viewpoint of the church. So if you are from a different movement some of these may or may not apply.
No one can know for sure what will happen in the future. I’m certainly not claiming to be an authority saying this WILL happen. This is simply a fun article exploring the possibilities of the future. I’m not writing this saying this is the Gospel truth. But I do think it’s important to look at so that we can position ourselves to be the healthy church of tomorrow.
Teaching in the Church Will Be Online
I’m not talking about sermons being shared online. That’s already being done. I believe the whole way that the church does it’s teaching will be overhauled. The sermon, as we know it, will slowly die. It will be replaced by podcasts, live streaming, and whatever new technology comes along. And the primary teaching will not take place on Sundays.
The way we teach will have to change. No longer will a 40 minute sermon (lecture) be the norm. While I believe there will still be some semblance of teaching at a church’s weekly meeting, the primary teaching will be available to listen/watch at the members convenience.
What will we do for the 40 minutes we gain in our weekend services? Worship, prayer, community, food, and conversation about the teachings we’ve listened too.
Personally I’m excited about this. I think this is an exciting shift and one that will greatly benefit the church.
Women Will Have an Equal Role to Men in the Church
This isn’t a statement of egalitarianism (Men/Women are equal) vs complementarianism (Men/Women are equal in value, different in roles). However you can probably tell where I stand. But I see a major shift coming in which women will more widely be accepted as pastors and leaders. They will no longer be confined to women’s ministry and children ministry. And I believe they will eventually even be common on the eldership/leadership teams that set the direction for the church.
I’m sure this is a touchy subject. And my complementarian friends are squirming in their seats right now. But I believe this will be a healthy and needed shift in our church.
I’m struggling not to go into this topic because it’s something I’m very passionate about. However not for this article. Next time. Whether you think this is a good thing or not, this shift is coming.
Church Finances Will Be Out in the Open
This mainly applies to mega churches. Many smaller churches already have open budgets. But many churches hide were their money goes, or offer a very generalized budget that does not give any specifics. That will change and budgets will become more open and churches will be held to a higher standard.
People want to know where their money is going. Not just in generalized categories, but how every dollar is being spent. How much is spent on guest speakers? How much debt do we have? How much did that technology upgrade cost? How much are we giving away to those in need? The church will have to become more financially open with their budgets and accountable to the people in the church.
I can sense some leaders in the church being apprehensive about this. But I believe this will be a very healthy shift. Every person that calls a church their home should be aware of how their money is being spent. The next generation will not give unless the church shows them where and how their money is being used.
The Church Service Will Become a Lower Priority
As we become more connected with technology we are becoming more disconnected in community. The craving for real community will become more and more evident. And the church will shift it’s focus from centering around a weekly service to focusing on providing authentic community.
Currently the average church spends most of their time on preparing for the weekend service. While not inherently a bad thing, the church of the future will have to put substantially more effort into creating authentic community.
Church Leadership Will Be Restructured
This will come in response to the many failings of pastors in the recent years. The next generation of pastors will seek to diversify power. This will lead to a more diverse leadership team, models that spread the power around, and co-lead pastor models becoming the norm. Thus trying to correct the corruption and put in more safety nets so that moral failures do not happen (as much).
I believe we will see an increasing variety in the kinds of leadership structures in the church. While I still believe elders and pastors will be the primary leadership in the church, the power will be more spread out and less concentrated on a single person.
The church of the future will have a wider variety of leadership models. Primarily spreading the power out over more people and giving control back to the congregation. Some ideas will stick, some will fail. But the future church will have different leadership structure.
These are some of the shifts I see coming in the church in the next few decades. Personally I believe these are all good and needed. Although I’m sure some won’t see it that way. Each of these will probably turn into a full article at some point. But for now this is the direction I see the church heading.
I want to hear from you… What changes do you see coming in the church? Good, bad, or otherwise. Do you think these 5 predictions will come true?