15 Church Trends for 2015

January 23, 2015
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Podcast Episode #092


Trend prediction is both an art and a science. It is a science in the sense that I utilize the good objective research of credible research organizations like LifeWay Research and others. It is an art in that I depend on observations, anecdotal information, and ongoing interaction with church leaders and members.

At the beginning of every year, I attempt to present to you the major trends for congregations for the coming twelve months. I review my predictions from previous years to see how accurate I am. I have come to two conclusions. First, I am far from perfect in my predictions. Second, I do have a decent track record.

Some of my trends are called “tipping points.” Formally defined, a tipping point is the critical moment in an evolving situation that leads to a new and somewhat permanent reality. In simple terms, a tipping point here means that something has changed in our churches to the point that it appears to be permanent.

So this week, Jonathan and I cover my 15 trends for 2015.

Some highlights from today’s episode include:

  • The Millennial generation is almost insisting on smaller worship gatherings.
  • A larger percentage of church attendees are attending larger churches.
  • The multi-teaching pastor trend we are seeing in churches is a healthy trend for pastors and churches.
  • In 2015, less than 5% of churches in America will continue to hold a separate Sunday evening service.
  • The majority of churches in America have been isolated from their community in recent years. But that is changing.
  • Denominations are becoming more streamlined with more money going to the mission field.
  • A church that does not put an emphasis on small groups is likely not a healthy church.

The 15 trends to look for in 2015 are:

  1. More partnerships between denominations and churches.
  2. Continued increased in the number of multi-site churches.
  3. Smaller worship gatherings.
  4. Continued flow of people from smaller churches to larger churches.
  5. The tipping point for a plurality of teaching pastors.
  6. The tipping point of churches eliminating Sunday evening worship services.
  7. Congregations growing in favor in their respective communities.
  8. The beginnings of prayer movement in our churches.
  9. More emphasis on congregational singing.
  10. More focus on theological education in local churches.
  11. The waning and reconfiguration of denominational structures.
  12. A rapid increase in bivocational church staff.
  13. Increased difficulty in matching prospective pastors with churches with pastoral vacancies.
  14. Growth of verbal incarnational evangelism.
  15. The tipping point for small groups.

Episode Sponsor

This podcast was brought to you by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program. If you want more out of your ministry, want to study with a world-class faculty and need to stay where you currently serve, the DMin at Southeastern is the answer for you. Visit SEBTS.EDU/DMIN for more information.

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