With the disruptive nature of platform technology, social media, mobile technology, video, podcasting, and even the emergence of AI, it's no surprise that America is transforming how it engages with religion and spirituality. These engagement trends will significantly impact how churches evangelize, communicate, teach, connect, and disciple.
The Future Of Faith Is Highly Personalized
We Asked America How they Would Design Religion And Spirituality In The Future
Churches are navigating the most significant shift in culture and methodology in 1700 years. The data bears this out. While churches find it more challenging to bring people to their services weekly and are losing influence in the public square, Gen Z and Millennials are collectively more open than previous generations. Where is the disconnect? Our research points to the way generations in America engage around spirituality and religion. While the traditional understanding of belonging to a faith community meant regular attendance at a religious gathering, our research indicates that people are moving towards affiliation over attendance. This shift can be explained in one word: Digital.
Our National Research Study points to Americans' diverse and strong opinions about how they want to engage with spirituality and religion in the future. It illuminates the necessity for churches to understand these trends if they're going to strategically align their engagement efforts with the shifting preferences of Americans. Our data indicates thriving churches will begin to move away from an attendance-centric model and towards a method that counts another form of engagement as necessary, if not more important. Our findings point to the clear realization that the future of faith in America is less about an event and more about the development and well-being of the individuals churches serve.
Scroll Down For a Glimpse Of The Study Findings
Key Insight One
The Future of Faith is Omnichannel
The modality is varied when it comes to how people relate to organizations in the digital age. The “Designing The Future Of Faith” results show that people want to connect with spirituality and religion in whatever is most convenient at the moment they desire to engage. This means that churches that thrive in the future will do so because they intentionally connect with their community through any medium that matters to their community.
Key Insight Two
The Future of Faith is Less Hierarchical
This insight underscores the cultural moment we live in. Between digital platforms creating more autonomy and mobility among individuals and many of the institutional power structures of the present being riddled by bureaucracy and scandal, it is no wonder that many people are looking for less leader-driven spirituality. The data points to a future of inspiration-first leaders rather than the efficient-first leaders of the past.
Key Insight Three
The Future of Faith is Relational
Religion and Spirituality is a deeply personal subject. In an increasingly polarized world, Americans desire conversation and practices centered on spirituality and religion to be led and experienced with friends and family. Gen Z, in particular, feels the need for safety to be an emotion that spirituality invokes. All the while, young Gen Z feels that spiritual leaders are often intimidating. This indicates that professional clergy will have far less influence than people Americans consider friends.