The world is changing faster than ever. Technology is advancing exponentially and with it: culture. In his book Future Smart, James Canton suggested that the best way for leaders to prepare for the future is by being “predictive and adaptive for the future,” what he termed “future smart.” In other words, leaders need to know what the external emerging trends are and adapt accordingly. In this way, leaders can actually create the desired future. Doing anything less, and Canton warns that leaders risk the death of their organizations, sooner rather than later.
In order for the Church to continue reaching new believers, church leaders must become future smart. Have you heard of “click-streamers”? They’re the people who are constantly online. They’re digitally savvy, mobile, always connected. Canton estimates that by 2020, 70% of the global marketplace will be made up of click-streamers. Their entire personal and professional lives will be and already are in many places, lived out online.
Interestingly, while doing research for her new book Braving the Wilderness, Brene Brown found that face-to-face social interactions are imperative for genuine human belonging. In fact, she found that a person’s very life depends on them. A lot of Christians know this, and while they themselves may be click-streamers, they still show up to weekly services and participate in our small groups.
In the future, weekly gatherings of Christians will continue to be of utmost importance, if only for the sake of our need for human belonging. But getting new believers to engage in our communities face-to-face, that will start as an online endeavor. Adapting and contextualizing how the Gospel reaches new people must be an ongoing process. Our ever-changing cultures demand that church leaders become future smart. Creating our desired future, heaven coming to earth, requires that we anticipate the future and adapt accordingly, it requires that we become future smart.