What is

theo-futures research,

and why is it

essential today?


The Futuring Hub of Trend Research and Analysis (the Hub) formalizes future thinking as a deliberate task. This is done by collaboratively conducting, gathering, and interpreting research on social, technological, ecclesial, educational, and cultural conditions and trends.

This is done with the purpose of enabling Acadia Divinity College, our students, ministry partners, and our churches to make the most of future opportunities and respond well to emerging opportunities.

Futuring is not about predicting the future. It is about:

 engaging people with diverse voices to think deeply about complex issues;

 imagining new possibilities;

  assembling signals into larger trends;

 connecting past, present, and future;

  and using those connections to shape today’s decisions.


When thinking about possible futures of the church, we value and honour history and tradition. Instead we adopt a posture of wonder and humility and learn from the past, understand the present, and look to the future.

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:18-19

The Hub engages in theo-futures research. The theo-futures research approach represents an interdisciplinary methodological framework which seeks to explore the intersection of Christian beliefs, values, and practices with emerging trends and future scenarios. It uses theologically reflective practices to nurture forward-thinking perspectives (future literacy) that inspire and equip leaders for purposeful action as they serve in the mission of God. 

The Hub’s focus is to engage in rigorous and meaningful research activities to support meaningful engagement and dialogue about the future of the church. Foundational to our research approach is collaboration and curiosity. We work closely and partner with local churches, Christian organizations, and denominations to imagine new futures.


Dr. Anna Robbins
BA, MRE, MA (Theology), PhD

Director of Andrew D. MacRae Centre for Christian Faith and Culture

Dr. Jodi Porter
BA, MTh, EdD

Director of Education for Ministry Innovation

Joel Murphy
BTh, MA, PhD (Candidate) 

Facilitator of Trend Research and Analysis

Leslie Archibald

Knowledge Mobilization Specialist 

Futuring Hub Scholars

Rev. Dan Pyke
BA, MDiv, MA (Theology)

Futuring Scholar

Oliver Locke
BA, MA (Candidate)

Futuring Hub Scholar & Research Assistant

Vipin Joseph
BCA, MBA, MDiv (Candidate) 

Research Assistant

Frequently Asked Questions

Futures research is a systematic and interdisciplinary approach to studying and understanding potential future developments and trends. It involves analyzing various factors, such as societal changes, technological advancements, and cultural shifts, to anticipate and prepare for possible future scenarios.


In 2021, Acadia Divinity College  received a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., through their Pathways Initiative, to help establish the Futuring Lab. The Futuring Lab has two inter-related elements: The Futuring Hub of Theo-Futures Research and the Sandbox for Theological Education and the Church

Considering the lack of resources available to church leaders to assist with planning for their futures, and the opportunities for seminaries to imagine how theological education can meet the changing needs of churches and pastoral leaders in emerging contexts, ADC launched the Futuring Lab – an initiative which combines futuring research and sandbox experiments for theological education and the church.

While the Hub will focus on engaging in theo-futures research broadly, the Sandbox will leverage this research along with other research to inform ADC’s plan to explore innovative and creative methods of theological education. The Sandbox is a virtual and physical space that will enable us to experiment with new methods and pedagogies.

Together, the inter-related elements of the Hub and Sandbox form the Futuring Lab at ADC. The Lab is intended to help theological schools across the United States and Canada as they prioritize and respond to the most pressing challenges they face as they prepare pastoral leaders for Christian congregations both now and into the future. The Lab is a dynamic space to conduct research on trends and developments that will impact the future life of the church as well as experiment with new approaches to theological education.

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