Thursday, April 05, 2007

25 Observations on Tomorrow's Church Leaders

Keith Drury, who teaches at Indiana Wesleyan University, has posted some stimulating observations on today's young people and, consequently, on the church leaders of the future. Here are the first five of his 25 observations -- to read the entire article, click on

My Students -- The Coming Wave in the Church

I get to spend my day-to-day life with the next generation coming along in the church. I see every day hints at what the church might become in the future. I have my ideas about what they’ll do in and to the church, but I’m not sharing that here. Instead I’ll just list 25 prominent characteristics of my students here and let you connect the dots. If these characteristics hold true for them after college, how do you think this “Coming Wave” will affect the church?

My Students

1. From larger churches, yet value smaller ones. The last study we did showed our [ministry] students came larger churches—the median home church was 700. Yet they really value smaller churches. We’ll see if they value them enough to actually work in one. Or what they means about how they’ll approach their work in larger ones

2. Model of a minister is a youth pastor. They are products of youth pastors. Senior pastors and solo pastors seem like District Superintendents to them—something they might some day do but not on their radar at all yet.

3. Prophetic rhetoric—they are unsatisfied. They think there is something wrong with the church—something really wrong that needs fixed.

4. Expect lots of structure. They “never went out to play” on their own. They were taken on play dates, to organized sports, to dance lessons, to clubs after school. They expect directions and instructions and supervision and help. When they are told “there is no syllabus or assignments in the church” it terrifies them. They don’t seek a job “where the pastor leaves me alone” but want plenty of structure and mentoring.

5. Denominations are good. While they don’t like denominationalism they like denominations and are far more “loyal” than earlier generations. They like the general church even more than districts. If headquarters leaders can hold on for another decade they’ll be in the sweet!


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