Republished with permission from Baptist Bulletin July/Aug 2011. All rights reserved.
The year 1985 introduced the movie Back to the Future. In the 26 years since its debut, people have enjoyed the film, its sequels, and its spin-offs (an animated series, a theme park ride, a video game, and a website). The movie tells about young Marty McFly, who accidentally goes back in time, driving Doc Brown’s modified DeLorean sports car outfitted with the famed “flux capacitor.” The film’s somewhat predictable plot presents the idea that past decisions determine future trends.
Maybe believers can do more than just enjoy Back to the Future; maybe they can learn something from it! Maybe, just maybe, future trends are indeed the result of past realities.
Applying that idea to global missions requires the question, Could identifiable current realities change the future of how we do missions? A look at some of the tendencies in today’s culture can help identify major influences facing the future of missions and perhaps even ministry in general.
Here then are five predictable future trends based upon current influences.
The Growing Influence of Millennials
According to the United Nations, over one billion youth live in the world today; that means one person in five is between the ages of 15 and 24 (www.un.org/events/youth98/backinfo/yreport.htm). Another source puts it this way: “The world is experiencing a marked shift in demographics. High levels of population growth in developing regions such as Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean means countries here have rising proportions of youth (aged 0–14)” (http://blog.euromonitor.com/2008/11/special-report-global-youth-populati…).
Within 12 years, the total population of the world will have grown by a billion people. read more