Written by Bill Whitt
January 8, 2024

2024 Survival Guide

Where will the path lead this year? Here are several of my own predictions for 2024, along with their implications for church renewal leaders.

Where will the path lead this year? In last week’s newsletter, Keith Doornbos highlighted eight emerging trends in the field of church renewal. This week, I want to offer several of my own predictions for 2024, along with their implications for church renewal leaders.

  • I have a mix of both optimism and realism about 2024. With a prayerful and thoughtful stance, I know we can meet whatever challenges arise this year!
Seven Predictions for 2024
Prediction 1: Politics will get even uglier
  • The upcoming presidential election will be anything but civil. The potential for division is higher than ever, thanks to AI-generated misinformation, the involvement of the courts, and unprecedented partisan vitriol.
  • Some churches will choose a side and allow politics to usurp the place of the gospel. This can lead to short-term growth but immeasurable long-term harm. Brave church leaders will cling to the gospel and allow it to serve as a prophetic voice to both political parties.
Prediction 2: There will be wars and rumors of wars
  • The war between Israel and Hamas will continue, as will the war between Ukraine and Russia. In addition, China is now moving toward conflict with Taiwan.
  • We live in an increasingly unstable world. Tremendous loss of life will be inevitable, and the worldwide economic implications could be staggering. Wise pastors will lead their congregations in lament, while also advocating for justice, human rights, humanitarian aid, and, ultimately, peace — all in the context of God’s sovereignty.
Prediction 3: The number of nominal Christians will decline
  • Cultural Christianity is less prevalent now than ever before in America. As this trend continues, CINOS (Christians In Name Only) will eventually become extinct.
  • As nominal Christians stop attending your church, you may see your attendance decline. However, your body will be composed of a higher percentage of committed Christians who are fully engaged with your mission.
Prediction 4: Church and denominational loyalty will decline
  • Once upon a time, people would stay in their parents’ denomination for their entire lives. They would simply pick the closest church of that denomination and attend it. Those days are over!
  • You can call it “consumeristic Christianity” if you like, but I just call it “reality.” People today will choose the best church for them — churches with high quality teaching, safe children’s programs, and opportunities for meaningful fellowship and service. If your church does not offer those things, people will not hesitate to leave and find them elsewhere.
Predication 5: Artificial intelligence will divide
  • Some people fear AI will eventually lead to the extermination of the human race. They may not be wrong, but for now, AI helps me brainstorm sermons series titles and creates graphics for our church events.
  • As AI goes mainstream in 2024, some churches will leverage the new technology, while others will not. Those who do may find it helps them achieve excellence with a small staff and a small budget!
Prediction 6: A new generation will take the reigns
  • After Covid, it appears that many Boomers have scaled back on regular church attendance, while Millennials have become the new core. Further, members of Gen Z (who are no longer children!) are stepping up the plate as well.
  • These generations care about biblical justice and will choose to be part of churches that are making a clear difference in the world. They also value personal and organic experiences over produced and polished ones. Will your church adapt? Will you let them have a voice at the table? (More details coming in our next newsletter!)
Predication 7: Fewer pastors will replace those who retire
  • The average lead pastor in America is 60 years old. For many pastors, retirement is right around the corner, but no succession plan is in place.
  • Fewer young people are entering into ministry than before, leading to a succession crisis. Identifying talented individuals and helping young people discover their calling will be crucial to the Church’s ongoing success.

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