Here are the 12 trends in no particular order:
1. Online as the new default.
You used to have to go to church to hear a message or music, or get the cassette or cd. Now you just need a phone. Every attender can (and often will) listen to any communicator, band or concert they want. And almost everyone who shows up at your door has checked out your church online before they came. What are you doing to embrace the online world beyond a barely-supported and moderately outdated website, podcast or Facebook page?
2. Wifi and smartphones.
They are googling you while you’re speaking, and checking out other options while you’re listing yours. Do you assume your audience is intelligent, literate and has options?
People want to talk, not just listen. While sitting around tables every Sunday may not be the answer, increasingly a church without conversation is a church without converts. What scalable, meaningful venues do you have for people to go to online and inhouse for real conversation?
Brand loyalty is low. Four of the top five global companies didn’t exist 40 years ago. Being around for a long time can be seen as a liability with the next generation. (Rich Birch has a great info-graphic on this.) How are you showing the relevance of an ancient faith to the current generation?
5. Lack of guilt.
Guilt used to motivate people to change and even to come to faith. The next generation feels less guilt than almost any previous generation. Are you still using guilt to motivate people? (By the way, Jesus never used guilt to motivate outsiders.)
6. Declining trust in authority.
People will still trust authority when the authority has earned their confidence. But they start out with suspicion. More than ever, trust is earned slowly and lost instantly. How is the way you exercise authority worthy of people’s confidence?