A new year has begun, and with the new year, it is time to assess what will be different in 2020. The world is changing faster than ever, and churches will need to adapt if they want to reach people for the Kingdom.

We’ve compiled ten trends that will drive churches in 2020. We encourage you to take a hard look at each of these. How will your church need to adapt and change in the coming year? Which of these trends are you already experiencing in your church?

Board-led Leadership

I have to admit that I’m excited about this one because in every case I’ve dealt with, it improved the mission effectiveness of the church. More and more churches are moving away from congregational and committee-driven decision-making. Instead, they are favoring a streamlined, biblical model of elder or board-led leadership. This transition allows the church to have greater flexibility in managing ministries and can remain focused on the primary tasks of the church–making and maturing disciples of Jesus. We are finding that staff-led, board-supervised churches have higher morale at all levels of leadership, and higher unity in the congregation. This may be a positive awakening in the church.

Strategic Discipleship

Many of the leaders that contact us express similar sentiments: The congregations seems stagnant in their faith-maturing process. As a result, churches are looking for a more effective way to get people engaged in their maturity and sharing their faith beyond the walls of the church. Churches accomplish this through a simple, effective Discipleship Pathway, and it’s a key focus for us at TMG. More and more churches are looking to de-program and re-structure ministry around a few, simple steps. This trend will continue in 2020, and the churches that put in this work will reap the benefit.

Collaboration over Competition

There are two versions of this. First, there is an increase in larger churches with more resources (financial, staff, facilities) desiring to be a help to smaller churches. I love this! They are being open-handed with the blessings they have and are being Kingdom-minded. Secondly, there is more collaboration with like-sized churches choosing to do more together. When leaders zoom out from the trees and see the forest, their bigger perspective motivates more significant Gospel gains.

Church Mergers

Sometimes when churches get to know each other better, they realize a more permanent arrangement would be beneficial. One of the reasons for this is that many cities become over-saturated with churches in locations that are no longer strategic in reaching people with the Gospel. It makes sense for them to come together for a more significant impact in the places needing to be reached. We have a shortage of churches in America overall, so mergers need to be very strategic in location.

Being Apolitical

Unbelievable as it may sound considering the current political and cultural climate in the United States, we will see the church try to maintain a focus on preaching the Word instead of preaching the party. We’ll always have churches that lose their mission focus and get in the political weeds, but they will not be the norm even though the media may want us to believe they are. The churches with the most significant political influence will be the ones that help their people mature in the Word and character of God and let the Holy Spirit drive their decisions in the voting booth.

Moderate-charismatic Churches Will Increase

For the past few years, churches with a slight charismatic bend have been leading in church growth. This trend is going to continue. For churches that don’t share this theological viewpoint, you can still learn from why these churches have dominated the evangelical landscape. Among other things, these churches tend to focus on experiencing a relationship with Jesus and not just knowing about Jesus. In an age dominated by information, people are hungry for experience. Do not get away from teaching Scripture faithfully, but discover ways to encourage experiencing a deeper relationship with Jesus. 

Affordability of Technology

One of the most significant differentiators between older, declining churches and growing, forward-thinking churches is the use of technology. Thankfully, the cost of those tools continues to decrease, and their accessibility is increasing. Cost is becoming a less-valid excuse for smaller churches not having effective communication options, excellent audio and video presentation, security, online giving options, and safe children’s check-in processes. Those seeking a connection to upcoming generations will embrace the technology to meet them where they are and connect with them in ways they expect.

Younger Church Leadership

There are two things at play with a shift to younger leadership in the church. First, Baby Boomers, the largest living generation in the United States, are reaching an age in which they are retiring from vocational ministry. The Gen-Xers following them up are eclipsed in population by Millennials, so mathematically, we may see a more sudden decrease in age of leadership than in decades past. A second factor is that more and more churches are dying each year and becoming opportunities for revitalization. Many younger pastors will choose to lead those congregations as well.

Mental Health Awareness

Borne from unfortunate circumstances in the last year, the church is becoming more aware of mental health issues in the church. Finally, people are beginning to realize that pastors and leaders are human, just like the parishioners. Church leaders aren’t super-human. In 2020, more leaders will feel the freedom to start receiving professional counseling and seeking help for issues like depression and anxiety. This trend is long overdue, but a welcome change.

Vision Focus

Too good to pass up… 2020 vision clarity will sweep through churches this year. I have already seen churches posting that their first series of the year is something 2020-vision related. Even with all of the world’s challenges, we still serve a Great God and Savior who has big plans for your church. If you take the time to let Him lead, the Lord will show you what He has in store. If you’re one of the many pastors and church leaders that struggle with vision clarity, we’re here to help shine a light on what God may be calling you to in 2020 and beyond. Contact us today to schedule a Vision Clarity workshop for your leadership team.