4. Tradition and Innovation Will Become Companions.
There has been a battle in much of church culture between tradition and innovation.
The traditionalists don’t want to innovate.
The innovators want little to do with tradition.
This trend has fresh wrinkles as it’s clear that some younger Christians, as has been prominently articulated by Millennials like Rachel Held Evans, are leaving evangelicalism and returning to tradition.
What many church leaders are realizing is that both tradition and innovation can be stale and dead.
Neither has to be.
Tradition needs innovation and innovation needs tradition.
In the future, tradition and innovation will become companions.
Innovative churches will recapture some of the best of tradition that has been lost, and traditional churches will blow off the dust and innovate, keeping the best of what they have and changing everything else.
Tradition and innovation have been somewhat mutually exclusive conversations and communities in the last few decades. Fusing the two could perhaps produce some incredibly healthy dialogue moving forward.
5.Community Will Matter, Greatly.
The more connected our culture becomes, the more disconnected we feel.
In the future, the church will function more like a community.
Not just random individuals who gather in common space for an hour (the worst caricature of megachurch).
And not a community of insiders indifferent to the world (the worst caricature of insider church).
Instead, the future church will be a community of people who serve together, give together, invite friends together and do community beyond Sunday as well as on Sunday. And above all, it will be a community that is continually welcoming new friends and new family.
Among practically every person under 30 I talk to or listen to, there’s a palpable longing for authentic community—a desire to connect in person, for real, in depth.
Jefferson Bethke articulates the longing of many of his generation so well in this Church Leader’s podcast episode (it’s so worth the listen).
The church that figures out how to bring old and young together at the table, Christian and non-Christian together in backyards, and the mature and the just-starting-out together in friendship will become a light to many in their community.
Naturally, the churches or groups of churches that figure out how to do this well for hundreds, and even for thousands or tens of thousands, will be able to see communities and regions transformed.
Community has been the hallmark of the church at its best for years. It will continue to be the hallmark of the church for the future.