In the December 2007, Dr. Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, spoke to the State executive directors and their church-health representatives and shared "Seven Mega Trends in Church Health" that LifeWay research has identified.
Here are the points mentioned in Dr. Rainer’s presentation at the Summit:
1. The disappearance of 18-24 year olds in church.
Rainer said LifeWay Research has well documented the dropout trends of this age group, and while the church has always seen a drop as young people transition from school to the workforce, "there are solutions emerging."
- Read related article Reasons 18 to 22 Year Olds Drop Out of Church
This trend is accelerating, Rainer noted.
3. The desire for deeper biblical doctrinal studies.
"Those in our churches are asking for preaching with biblical depth in addition to life application," Rainer said. In an attempt to grow their numbers, "churches are trying to get by with shallow teaching," resulting in "shallow churches with shallow members.�"
4. The slowdown in the growth rate of mega churches.
"Not a decrease in the number of mega churches," Rainer clarified, "but a slowing in the rate of growth."
5. The shortage of pastors.
Some seminary graduates "don't see themselves in rural, white collar, or traditional churches," Rainer noted. "Some states are already seeing a crisis" among traditional churches.
6. The increasing demand for processes.
"Churches are asking for help to put resources together," Rainer noted. "Churches are saying: 'Don't just give us products, show how I disciple this young believer.'"
7. The resurgence of the "open group" in church.
"Traditionally we’ve called it Sunday school," Rainer said, but it may not always be called Sunday school today. Regardless of what you call it, there is a resurgence of the open group in church