Emerging Consideration

Emerging Consideration

Overview

The theo-futures foresight approach used by the Futuring Hubs strives to adopt the biblical principles of seeking wisdom, practicing humility, nurturing curiosity, to better navigate the future with courage and insight (Colossians, 2:2-3; Matthew 7:7; Joshua 1:9). Strategic foresight in relation to the Christian church involves the intentional exploration of future trends, challenges, and opportunities to guide and align the church’s mission, ministry, and outreach efforts in a dynamic and evolving world.

Emerging Considerations

Engaging in theo-futures foresight does not imply the development of our own plans or strategies apart from God’s guidance (Romans 12:2). Instead, foresight research prompts the church to embrace prayer, repentance, and discernment. It can empower Christian leaders to make informed decisions and actively pursue God’s purpose for the church. The following are emerging considerations. These represent signals that may not be ‘mature’ or ‘mainstream’ enough to be categorized as trends within the Church but are known and perhaps are demonstrating early impact on the Church in Canada.

Digital Literacy

Trend Description
This is an emerging consideration which relates to the importance of individuals being able to engage in new digital technology, but also how to navigate and interpret the massive amount of online content.

Reflective Question
How can churches support individuals to embed Christian values and theological reflective practices in their digital engagement?

Connected Driver of Change & Trends
Technology & Digital Age (Driver of Change); Technological Determinism (Macro Trend); Personal Content Consumption (Micro Trend)

Digital Literacy

Generation Alpha (pandemic babies)

Trend Description
Generational Alpha was born between the early 2010s and 2020’s. Gen Alpha are mostly the children of Millennials and are projected to be around 2 billion individuals by 2025.

Reflective Question
Reflective Question: This represents a generation which has experienced a global pandemic, economic crisis, and will be familiar with the voice of Siri. How can the church support Millennial and Gen X parents to walk alongside their Gen Alpha kids?

Connected Driver of Change & Trends
Personal Spiritual Development/Self-Spirituality (Ecclesial Trend); Generational Differences (Ecclesial Trend); Aging Population (Ecclesial Trend)

Generation Alpha (pandemic babies)

Localizing economies

Trend Description
This emerging consideration refers to the practice of focusing economic activities, production, and consumption on a local or regional scale. It involves promoting and supporting local businesses, industries, and resources in order to enhance self-sufficiency, reduce dependency on distant sources, and strengthen community ties. The opportunity for local churches to contribute and support local economies is worthy of consideration.

Reflective Question
How can local churches support, contribute, and elevate local economies?

Connected Driver of Change & Trends
Globalization (Macro Trend); Demographic Shifts (Driver of Change); Global Economics (Macro Trend)

Localizing economies

Future of theological education

Trend Description
As society becomes post-secular and Canadian churches learn how to exist within a post-Christendom context, the rule and function of theological education is changing.

Reflective Question
What does it mean to support the theological education of a church leader (pastor, etc.) in a context when their place of work is changing? What new and relevant skills are needed for church leaders to be effective and biblical?

Connected Driver of Change & Trends
Understanding of Authority (Micro Trend); Decline of qualified and capable pastors (Ecclesial Trends); Cultural and Social Paradigm (Driver of Change)

Future of theological education

Church ‘In house’ training

Trend Description
More churches are developing and offering their own education and training programs in order to develop and equip pastors or other church leaders.

Reflective Question
What are some of the benefits and potential weaknesses of this approach?

Connected Driver of Change & Trends
Flattening Ecclesiology (Ecclesial Trend); Access to Information (Macro Trend); Declining Denominational Affiliation (Ecclesial Trend)

Church ‘In house’ training

Reconsider and redefine ‘success’

Trend Description
As Christian leaders engage in a post-secular, post-Christendom, and rapidly changing context understanding what ‘successful’ ministry is changing. The mission of the church remains the same, and while the ultimate outcomes may remain the same, short term and medium term ‘outcomes’ are shifting based on the current context.

Reflective Question
How can church leaders develop a more holistic and nuanced approach to measuring and determining what ‘success’ looks like?

Connected Driver of Change & Trends
Declining church attendance and religious affiliation (Ecclesial Trend); Changing approaches and Ecclesiological models (Ecclesial Trend)

Reconsider and redefine ‘success’

Changing role of a pastoral leadership

Trend Description
As informed by all the above trends and other noted across the various mega trends, the nature of the vocational pastor job is changing. As churches and pastors reflect and prayerfully consider the church’s mission and the needs of the community the role of the pastor may change.

Reflective Question
Is the current model of pastoral leadership within your congregation serving the mission and needs of the congregation and surrounding community? How could it change to be more effective and intentional?

Connected Driver of Change & Trends
Changing approaches and Ecclesiological models (Ecclesial Trend); Post/Late Modernism (Driver of Change); Rapid Societal Change (Macro Trend); Understanding of ‘Authority’ (Micro Trend).

Changing role of a pastoral leadership

Self-Curated Education

Trend Description
The emerging opportunity of self-curated education allows individuals to customize their learning experiences, leveraging online resources and platforms for personalized education.

Reflective Question
How can Christians integrate self-curated education into their spiritual growth journey, embracing the accessibility of diverse learning resources while maintaining the value of communal wisdom and traditional teachings?

Connected Driver of Change & Trends
Cultural and Social Paradigms (Driver of Change); Technology & Digital Age (Driver of Change); Access to Information (Macro Trend); Personal Content Consumption (Micro Trend)

Self-Curated Education

Collectivist Cultures

Trend Description
Within increased immigration and increased influence of Indigenous leaders more individuals from collectivist cultures are shaping the Canadian context. Collectivist cultures value communal identity and shared experiences.

Reflective Question
What can the church learn from collectivist cultures?

Connected Driver of Change & Trends
Demographic Shifts (Driver of Change); Increased Loneliness (Micro Trend); Globalization (Macro Trend)

Collectivist Cultures

Millennial Parents

Trend Description
This emerging opportunity refers to the fact that millennials are raising their families with distinct values shaped by their experiences. Often this is occurring separated from their biological family.

Reflective Question
How can the Christian community support millennial parents in navigating the complexities of modern parenting, and how can faith be integrated into their parenting journey in a relevant and meaningful way?

Connected Driver of Change & Trends
Demographic Shifts (Driver of Change); Individualism (Macro Trend)

Millennial Parents

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

Trend Description
Research indicates that millennial parents, placing a high value on mental well-being, are poised to foster robust emotional intelligence within their families.

Reflective Question
Reflective Question: What intentional actions can we take to ensure that our church is a source of guidance, understanding, and encouragement for the unique challenges faced by Millennial parents?

Connected Driver of Change & Trends
Mental Health and Wellbeing (Macro Trend); Changing Family Unit (Micro Trend)

Open Parenting

Open Parenting

Trend Description
Refers to the emergence of individuals who embrace an open attitude toward spiritual experiences within their parenting approach.

Reflective Question
How can church leaders engage millennial parents to foster discussions and practices that support attachment to a church community teachings?

Connected Driver of Change & Trends
Post-Christendom (Ecclesial Trend); Post/Late Modernism (Driver of Change); Pluralism (Macro Trend)

Reflective Questions

What practices or approaches can help believers grow in faith and maturity amidst the challenges and opportunities presented by this emerging consideration?

How do these emerging considerations impact the dynamics of Christian community and relationships?

How might the church need to evolve structurally or organizationally in response to these emerging considerations?

What theological framework or biblical narrative can help us understand and respond to these emerging considerations?

What are the potential impacts of these emerging considerations on Church life and practice?

futuring compass

INSIGHT PORTAL

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