10 Predictions About the Future Church and Shifting Attendance Patterns

Every generation experiences change.

But sometimes you sense you’re in the midst of truly radical change, the kind that happens only every few centuries. Increasingly, I think we’re in such a moment now.

Those of us in in Western culture who are over age 30 were born into a culture that could conceivably still be called Christian. Now, as David Kinnaman at the Barna Group have shown, even in America people who are churchless (having no church affiliation) will soon eclipse the churched.

In addition, 48 percent of Millennials (born between 1984 and 2002) can be called post-Christian in their beliefs, thinking and worldview.

This post is Part 4 of a five-part series on why people are attending church less often. Here are the other parts of the series (including two in-depth leadership podcast interviews):

Part 1: 10 Reasons Even Committed Church Attenders Are Attending Less Often

Part 2: CNLP Episode 23: Why People Are Attending Church Less Often—an Interview With Will Mancini.

Part 3: 5 Ways to Embrace Infrequent Church Attenders

Part 5: CNLP Episode 24: Churchless: Why and How America Is Learning to Live Without the Church—an Interview With David Kinnaman

If you want to access the podcast interviews easily on your phone or other device, the best way is to subscribe to my leadership podcast for free on iTunes or Stitcher.

I think the change we’re seeing around us might one day be viewed on the same level as what happened to the church after Constantine’s conversion or after the invention of the printing press. Whatever the change looks like when it’s done, it will register as a seismic shift from what we’ve known.

So what will the future church be like? And how should you and I respond?

Predictions … Really?

OK, before we get going, a few things.

I realize making predictions can be a dangerous thing. Maybe even a bit ridiculous. But I want to offer a few thoughts because I’m passionate about the mission of the church.

So, borne out of a love for the gathered church, I offer a few thoughts. Consider it thinking in pencil, not ink.

While no one’s really sure of what’s ahead, talking about it at least allows us to position our churches for impact in a changing world.

10 Predictions About the Future Church

So what’s likely for the future church? Here are 10 things I see.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof is founding pastor of Connexus Church and the author of several books, including his latest best-selling work, 'Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow.' Carey speaks to church leaders around the world about leadership and personal growth.