(Thom S. Rainer) I have been writing on trends in churches for two decades. I certainly don’t have a perfect record with my predictions, but my overall record is pretty good. My methodology is simple: I observe emerging issues in some churches and extrapolate them into major trends. This year I take this approach with a higher level of confidence than previous years. I have seen most of the following issues grow month by month in 2015, so I don’t have to be the brightest person in the world to project them as major trends in 2016.

Here are the first eight trends. Later, I will write about eight more:

1. Church security as the fastest growing ministry. Shootings in churches and sex abuse of children mandate this unfortunate trend. No church can afford to be without serious security measures, policies and equipment. It will evolve into a major church ministry.

2. Decrease in worship center size and capacity. The large worship gathering is not as popular as it has been. Through multiple services and multiple sites, churches will follow this preference with smaller capacity worship centers.

3. Increase in successfully revitalized churches. More church leaders sense a call to lead revitalized churches. Because of this desire and intentionality, we will see more success stories of churches that have experienced significant revitalization.

4. Rapid growth of coaching ministries for pastors and church staff. The current trend is anecdotal, but it will soon be verified and obvious. Pastors and staff who have the humility to be led, and the willingness to invest resources in coaching are becoming the most effective church leaders. FULL REPORT