Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fourteen Predictions for American Churches for 2014 — part one

By Thom S. Rainer
Predicting is as much of an art as it is a science. And if any prognosticator is honest, he or she will tell you that they don’t always get it right. I know. I certainly don’t always get it right.
But I don’t pull my predictions out of thin air. To the contrary, each of them has a reasonable explanation. For these fourteen predictions, I gleaned from several sources:
  • Data-based research, particularly LifeWay Research.
  • Trends that are already underway and gaining momentum.
  • Conversations with hundreds of church leaders.
  • My own experiences, based on 25 years of consulting and research of American congregations.
This year I am adding a new feature, a confidence factor. For example, if I said I had 100 percent confidence that a prediction would become reality, it would mean that I have absolutely no doubt about it. None of these predictions have a 100 percent confidence factor. But none of them fall below 70 percent either. That means I have a fairly high level of certainty about each of these trends.
The order of the trends is random. They are not ranked in any particular priority. Today, I will share the first seven, and then conclude with the final seven on Saturday.