I have spent a considerable amount of time studying the landscape of American Christianity since the 1950s. Any time I make a presentation on the topic, people always ask about the future. In order to more fully answer those questions I devised a list of changes I believe to be most likely. The original list was created in 2006, before I entered the blogosphere. When I revised the list and turned it into a “top ten” in 2009, I published it on my blog. In light of significant changes in technology and communication, the impact of a prolonged economic downturn, and my own life experiences I have decided the time is right for an updated list. With this in mind, over the next ten days I will share with you the top ten ways I hope the church of 2020 will differ from the church of 2012.
While information about changes in American culture, technology, and Christianity are readily accessible online, these large and growing data sets tell only the story of change leading up to the present moment. In looking ahead, I craft my vision not as an authoritative source but as one of many voices engaged in a critically important conversation. My ideas focus on changes that I believe, if embraced, will make the future brighter.
Think about the v.2020 of the American church when compared to v.2012 . Do you expect . . .
- More reasons for hope or a greater number of issues causing concern?
- Denominational reforms, mergers, or demise?
- Numeric growth or decline?