futures market #1

Throughout the year, I’ve noticed all kinds of established trends, ministry fads, and Christian ideas/organizations/programs that haven’t quite “tipped”… but soon could.

In case you’re curious, I wanted to offer some of those items for your own perusal. Since we college ministers are on the pioneering edge of ministry, it helps to be up on this stuff. Knowing what’s coming down the pike gives us the chance to study up – before it arrives on our campus or in our churches, for good or for bad or for awesome.

I imagine this will be an intermittent theme over the next few weeks! No need to write everything in one sitting! Hopefully the links for each item will give you some fodder for further exploration.

Two notes:

  1. If these kinds of “trend notes” appeal to you, I did a whole series earlier on the trends I had already seen during the early parts of the Road Trip. You should be able to see those posts here.
  2. The trends or possible trends I list aren’t recommendations. Some of the things I write about may in fact be trends I’m excited about, but others will be concerns. And still others I’ll be undecided about. I’m listing them ’cause I’m seeing the trends; I’ll save the commentary for later on.

So… in each collection, you might see “established” trends (which for some of you will be old news), trends that appear to be up-and-coming, and even longshot predictions for the futurists among us. And as you’ll see, each list will be a rather random smattering of items.

(Futures Market post #2 can be found here, and I’ll link further posts from there.)

“Citywide” young adult worship services. A “citywide” worship service is a large-group Bible study, held in the middle of the week, that isn’t necessarily tightly connected to the church at which it is held. These “Metro” studies were certainly trendy a while back (and several still exist). But I have a sneaking suspicion they could make a comeback, as churches seek ways to reach this interesting “Young Adult” (22-30ish) population. The citywide study may not always be the best call, but it certainly works in some settings.

The ESV. Even if you’re still unfamiliar with the English Standard Version, don’t be surprised if plenty of your students are using this Bible translation (and if some of your local churches are, too). While Crossway’s early marketing didn’t push the ESV very quickly when it was introduced several years ago, word-of-mouth and newish pocket editions have continued to grow the user base quite steadily (as I’ve continued to see this year). It doesn’t hurt when John Piper comes out swinging for your translation, either.

(Info on the ESV’s translation philosophy and other issues starts here.)

The Evangelical Covenant Church. Here are a few things that could propel this 123-year-old denomination to the forefront of Christian dialogue:

  • The denomination’s theology and values connect well with Emerging / Social Justice theologies. Notably, Emerging Church theologian Scot McKnight teaches at (and writes from) the ECC’s singular 4-year college, North Park University, and its accompanying seminary (as does youth ministry guru Ginny Olson).
  • The Evangelical Covenant Church counts some of the more innovative churches in the country among its members, such as The Sanctuary Covenant Church (Pastor Efrem Smith will be speaking at Willow Creek’s Leadership Summit) and NewSong, a multi-site, Third Culture Asian church based in California.
  • They’re clearly willing to make use of innovation as a denomination, if their appreciation of modern communication (like blogs) and the denomination’s Facebook Fan Page are any indication. (Does your super-old denomination have a Facebook fan page?)

(Want more? Futures Market post #2 can be found here.)

Written from Motel 6, Springfield, Missouri


  1. Hi Benson – Thanks for the shout out! Please let me know when/if you’re coming back through Chicago. I’d love to have you share what you’re learning with our youth ministry students here at NPU. Blessings on your journey. Ginny

  2. Pingback: from around the web « Exploring College Ministry blog (daily notes about our field)

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