Great church leaders are like sailors who are reading the breezes and adjusting the sails to catch the winds of change. While we worry about the latest social media trend or where music in the church is headed or if it’s possible to train robots to do pastoral care, we also need to invest in what we know will remain true and build our ministries, systems and approaches around that.
Here are some areas where our churches can have impact for a long time to come!
- Parents Will Still Worry About Kids // Investing in a thriving ministry to families is one of the smartest things any local church can do. There is always a new wave of young parents trying to figure out how to deal with sleep deprivation and raising kids and every year there are parents who are dealing with their first-year high schooler. These anxieties aren’t going anywhere! What can your church do to help build a ministry to families that will attract and impact them for years to come?
- The Next Generation Will Matter More // 10 years ago there was a lot of conversation about reaching the Gen-X generation … today we’re all worked up about reaching the millennials … in 10 years’ time we will be worrying about reaching the next generation. This is a good thing. The church is just one generation away from being totally obsolete. We need to be perpetually looking to the people coming after us and build our churches for them, not us. If we don’t, our churches will literally start dying off.
- Marriages Will Be Struggling // Being married is tough. The broader culture doesn’t reinforce healthy relationships. People will continue to struggle with what it means to have a healthy and growing marriage. An innumerable amount of hours will be spent talking about how marriages are going off the tracks. What is a systematic response to helping people not just survive their marriages but thrive in them?
- The Bible Will Need Explanation // Let’s be honest … sometimes the Bible is hard to understand. It’s an ancient text written thousands of years ago in a Middle Eastern agricultural society. Modern society is increasingly urban and more distant from the cultural context in the Bible. We’re going to continue to need clear and compelling explanations of the Bible and its relevance for us today. Our task is to make it understandable for today and the future!
- People Will Be Self-Obsessed // We’re all selfish and, at the core, that is the problem with humanity. We choose our own path rather than the path that helps others. We are most interested in ourselves and our problems. Our churches will continue to need to deal with this reality. Often people come to church for “selfish” reasons — they’re looking to gain spiritual insights or wanting to make friends, etc. Our goal is to help people move beyond that. How are we working to build a ministry that helps people look beyond themselves?
- The Poor Will Be Among Us // Poverty is a persistent global problem. The church is called to be the agent of change to help poor people. It’s been central to what the church “does” since our inception … and we’ll still be called to do that 10 years from now. How are you working to build a ministry that actually tackles poverty in a measured and systematic way?
- Gathering Together Will Still Matter // Even in an increasingly “digital world” where we spend more time connecting with each other through computers, we will still crave being together. Humans are made to connect with each other and in the future we will continue to have an impulse to gather together. The value of gathered events will shift from being primarily information dispensing to inspiration generating. How are you investing in your gathered experiences to improve their effectiveness with your community?
- You’ll Be Stressed About Stuff // Leadership is stressful. Always has been … always will be. You’ll have more to do on your list than you can do. There won’t be enough time at the end of the week for what is left on the list. You’ll be tempted to self-medicate with food, brain-numbing media or some other more destructive tool. Your body will be 10 years older and you’ll be more physically limited than you are today. What positive rhythms are you picking up now to help you serve over the long haul?
- The World Will Be Smaller // Technology is shrinking the world. Skype is just over 10 years old and has revolutionized global communication by making it easy and cheap. People work on global teams where they manage (or are managed by) people from all over the world. It used to be that only “missionaries” needed to deal with cross-cultural communication realities, but it has become the norm and will become even more prevalent in the future. How can we develop ministries that help people live with this global reality? Our churches are local, but what we are doing to help people live a global life?