Written by Keith Doornbos
January 2, 2024

Church Renewal Trends in 2024

Here are eight emerging church renewal trends that have risen to the top, as we have worked with church renewal leaders.

Happy New Year! Last week, we looked back on the biggest “fresh ideas” of 2023. Now, as we enter into 2024, we would like to look forward toward emerging trends in the new year.

  • Below are several thoughts and observations that have risen to the top, as we have worked with church renewal leaders. We hope these ideas will allow you to begin thinking deeply about what your work in church renewal may look like in the near future.
Eight emerging trends worth our attention

Idea 1: The great reshuffle will accelerate

  • Many church goers will move to where the action is. As a result, growing churches will continue to grow, while smaller churches will struggle to identify their best futures.
  • Many smaller congregations will, by necessity, begin the process of completing and blessing. The dying process, for many, will be protracted by the unwillingness to let go, the complexities of wrapping things up, and the significant resources that remain in many congregational coffers.

Idea 2: Networks of churches will continue to expand

  • Churches that have broken the cultural code will mobilize to expand their influence. For many this will involve taking over failing congregations and invigorating them with new vision and new life.
  • These expanding networks will provide a resurgence of Gospel-focused ministry.

Idea 3: Fresh Expressions will capture the church’s entrepreneurial passions

  • With few denominational resources left for traditional church planting, the entrepreneurial spirit of North American Christianity will focus on the Fresh Expressions movement.
  • Fresh Expressions demands few dollars, little advanced planning, and minimal training. Fresh Expressions lives off the energies of experimentation.

Idea 4: A reckoning around politics and social issues will be seriously disruptive in 2024

  • The social and political convictions of denominations, congregations and individual believers will be hugely disruptive as we enter a new political season. Denominations will divide and multiple congregations will splinter.
  • Churches that nurture a culture of gracious listening, thoughtful reflection, and patient endurance will, potentially, survive this reckoning.

Idea 5: A burgeoning youth movement will show first signs of life

  • In the past, when the traditional church got stuck, God raised up a counter-cultural youth (or youth-like) movement that infused the church with new ways of being in the world. The Asbury Revival of 2023 suggested that the Spirit may again be stirring life in the next generation.
  • Watch for hints of unexpected renewal among 18- to 30-year-olds.

Idea 6: Community connected congregations will flourish

  • Churches committed to the vitality of their local communities will emerge as the thriving congregations of 2024 and beyond (see Jeremiah 29:7). Pre-schools, tutoring, facilities made available for public use, community-centered youth programming, English as a Second Language classes, addiction recovery, refugee resettlement, and gathering places for children and young families are examples of a community orientation.
  • The vitality of these congregations will be measured in weekly engagement more than Sunday morning attendance.

Idea 7: Non-traditional leaders will expand their influence

  • Non-seminary trained leaders, often serving bi-vocationally, will continue to emerge as the most influential visionary leaders for the church in 2024 and beyond.
  • Passion, calling, and stories of personal transformation will guide these leaders to do whatever it takes to shape the church into her God–preferred future.

Idea 8: The Immigrant Church will provide fresh vitality

  • Majority non-Anglo congregations will continue to grow across North America. Many will nest in established Anglo-congregations and provide the fresh spiritual vigor that is so desperately needed.
  • The relationship between non-Anglo and Anglo congregations will be a symbiotic blessing for both.

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