Five Trends for the Future of Church Planting

1.  A move from denominationalism is going to radically alter church planting.  Local smaller churches will partner together to plant churches.  Larger churches will follow in Redeemer's footsteps and be more concerned with planting gospel-centered churches, than churches of their own denomination. Already, our church in San Diego has leaders as well as partners from multiple denominations.

2. Church planting networks will merge, collaborate and partner to more effectively plant churches.  For example, Todd Wilson, behind the 2006 National New Church Conference started a Church Planting Network, whose aim is to, "help champion an explosive expansion of new reproducing churches through an alliance of collaborative church planting networks."  He has already seen this shift begin in a couple networks.  Even next years New Church Conference states the goal of, "helping church plant leaders to the next level of collaboration.  Together we can experience exponential growth of new churches in our generation."  At last years conference, Bob Roberts of Glocalnet gave an impassioned plea to the leaders of many of the church planting networks in this regard at a dinner for church planting networks and sponsors of the conference.

3. In America, churches will be planted at a faster rate in the next twenty years than we have witnessed before.  God, Technology (see #5 re: video venue), technique (mutli-site) and theological urgency will drive this.  More and more of the pastors will come from the laity.  In this same period, established churches clinging to methods will die at a faster rate than ever before.

4. Philosophy/worldview, world events and a renewed focus on kingdom/gospel/mercy ministries will contribute to a revival in America.  First, in America postmodernism (particularly the view of truth being relative) will be replaced as people are confronted with radical and extreme views.  Second, the increase in chaos in the world and a shift in our economy will drive people away from worldview complacency.  Lastly, expressions of mercy and a greater gospel cooperation (1 & 2) will create a greater witness of the church.  Those who hold to the gospel and focus on gospel ecumenism will thrive; liberal churches will lose their identity trying to be relevant.

5.  More churches will be planted without the role of a preaching pastor.  Many church plant organizations will promote the use of 'best of' or license videos from top preachers across America.  Already there have been churches who have licensed Willow Creek material for tens of thousands (I heard $50k) a year.  Others will simply pick series that they believe will draw the biggest crowd.  There already is one church plant that has grown to over 600 within a couple months using this method.  (Someone could probably make some good money by contacting all the 'big name' pastors and create a company that licenses their work to churches.)