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4. Pop-Up Churches Will Become More Common
Remember that the future will be more digital and analog. One will not kill the other. As technology increases so does the need for human connection.
In thriving ministry models, both digital and analog will grow. But as every church leader knows, to open a new campus or church in a new community takes time, money, risk and experimentation.That’s why you’ll see more pop-up churches in 2018 than before.
In the same way you’ve seen the rise of pop-up restaurants or pop-up stores, you’ll see more pop-up churches that open in a new location for a night or a month or a season.
Again, practically speaking, maybe just do a night of worship somewhere in a different city where you have a small pocket of people driving to attend your church. Or find a city where you have some traction online.
Then just do one or two events there really well and see what happens.
5. The Rise of Preaching (More Than Teaching)
Another curious trend I’ve seen is that the next generation of preachers (under 40s) seem to preach more than they teach.
It’s always hard to define the exact difference between the two, but simply put, preaching speaks more to the heart, teaching speaks more to the head.
Preachers facilitate an experience. Teachers convey information.
I think the best pastors do both well.
Preaching without solid teaching can become emotionalism. Teaching without preaching can become intellectualism.
Preaching leads people to say, “That’s right. I need to change.” Teaching can lead people to say, “He’s right. That’s a good point.”
I default toward teaching so this is a challenge for me.
Try to find an under-40 influential pastor of a growing church who’s more into teaching than preaching. There really aren’t that many.
It’s just a trend I see.
6. A Desire for Non-Downloadable Experiences
I realize you could argue that all these trends compete with each other (and they do), but welcome to 2018.
Another trend you’ll see more of in 2018 is a growing desire for what I think of as ‘non-downloadable’ experiences.
Yes, the church will become more digital, more location independent, more remote. Sermons can be consumed on a run, on a commute and while cooking dinner. I get that,But that consumption of content will also leave people hungering for greater community, greater experience and greater transcendence.
Theologically, God is both immanent and transcendent. Immanent means ‘near’ and even ‘accessible,’ as in God with us in Christ.
Transcendence leans toward the supernatural, the holy and toward the wholly other.
While God is both, most churches swing toward one or the other: We focus on the immanent or the transcendent.
I think the best churches will have content that leans toward the immanent—practical, helpful and digestible. And they’ll also offer experiences that are transcendent…that you had to be there to experience.
If everything your church does in the future feels downloadable, probably all you’ll get is a lot of downloads, not a lot of gathered people.
If what your church does touches the soul, people will continue to gather.
The best churches will offer both because that reflects the character and nature of God and the character of the Christian church at its best.