I think the two biggest challenges are nominalism and secularism. Nominalism is the idea that people are Christians in name only (Nominal Christians). As that category begins to decline, and in a sense, I am glad to see it go, it means that people will either move towards secularism, or be reached for the gospel, or for some other religious value. One of the challenges is that the church is not readily equipped to engage secular people and will have to do more to train people to evangelize the “far-unchurched.” We are accustomed to evangelizing the “near-unchurched:” people who have perhaps been to church, dropped out because of a bad experience, but are familiar with terms, language, and emphases.
Healthy growing churches of the future must learn to connect and engage with Millennials (today’s 18- to 30-year-olds), soon to be the biggest generation ever in America. Millennials have grown up in the age of Google. They have myriad options and opinions literally at their fingertips. And that information gives them power.
As leaders in our homes, churches, communities or businesses, we no longer have the power or control we once enjoyed. As a result, successful engagement with Millennials will be built on influence. Influence is built on trust. And trust is built by engaging around their concerns and bringing insight that equips them to navigate successfully.