16 Trends in American Churches in 2016: Trends 9 to 16

I observe emerging issues in some churches and extrapolate them into major trends.

“In many ways, I see 2016 as a pivotal year for thousands of congregations. Unfortunately, many church leaders and church members will elect not to change anything. Those congregations will be among the 100,000 rapidly declining churches.”

 

In my previous post, I shared trends 1 to 8. Today, I conclude with trends 9 to 16. Here is the introduction I wrote to the earlier post.

I have been writing on trends in churches for two decades. I certainly don’t have a perfect record with my predictions, but my overall record is pretty good.

My methodology is simple. I observe emerging issues in some churches and extrapolate them into major trends.

This year I take this approach with a higher level of confidence than previous years. I have seen most of the following issues grow month by month in 2015, so I don’t have to be the brightest person in the world to project them as major trends in 2016.

  1. The rise of the mini-denomination church. This trend is an acceleration of the increased number of multi-site churches. As churches grow with four or more sites, they will take on some of the characteristics of a denomination.
  2. Increased pastoral tenure. For a number of reasons, the tenure of a pastor at a given church will increase. More pastors will make it to the five-year mark where the most fruitful years of ministry typically begin.
  3. Rise of alternative ministry placement organizations. Old and existing systems of how churches find prospective pastors and staff are falling apart. They are being replaced with effective and independent ministry search organizations.
  4. Increase in the number of Millennials who are Christians. I am projecting the number to increase from 15 percent of the generation to 18 percent of the generation. That is an increase of 2.3 million Millennials who will become believers in 2016.

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