BRYAN– On Apr. 4-5, Texas Baptists will host a new event, the Future Church 2030 Conference, at First Baptist Church in Bryan. The conference will focus on preparing churches and church leaders for the year 2030 and the cultural, technological and demographic changes that will happen in the coming years.
“It’s so important for us as church leaders to get together and see what God has in store for us,” Phil Miller, director of the Center for Church Health, explained.
The conference will feature a panel of speakers with strong backgrounds in church health and development, including Tod Bolsinger, author of “Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory” and co-owner and principal of AE Sloan Leadership, Inc.; Carey Nieuwhof, best-selling author and founding pastor of Connexus Church; and Eric Mason, founder and pastor of Epiphany Fellowship. The full list of speakers can be found here.
The conference was born out of a consistent need Executive Director David Hardage noticed as he traveled around the state. Church leaders expressed excitement to “get back to normal,” following the COVID-19 pandemic but were unsure of what the future would hold and what people would need from the church in the coming years.
Miller explained that Texas Baptists wants to ensure that churches are not just focused on keeping up but on looking ahead to future needs. In order to do that, conference speakers will hone in on topics regarding the future church. Titles of sessions include “How NOT to Waste a Crisis,” “The Key to the Future is Found in the Past,” “Why the Old Model of Church No Longer Works,” “The Rise of the Future Church” and more.
Responding with wisdom and speed
Bolsinger expressed his excitement for the event, explaining that in the face of fast change, you have to stop and learn before you respond.
“Since the world is changing so rapidly and so unexpectedly, it requires us to slow down, seek the Lord and [find] new ways of leading,” Bolsinger said. “Then as we learn, we [will see that] everything will get smoothed out and then we’ll be able to respond to a fast changing world with both wisdom and speed.”
The conference is also a time to fellowship and connect with Texas Baptists church leaders and staff. Staff will be available to answer questions, provide resources and share how the Convention can best assist churches. Miller said they will be taking notes on how to best anticipate churches’ needs as they hear from the speakers as well.
Retooling the methods
Nieuwhof explained that the conference has come at a vital time, when churches are reflecting on the many changes the pandemic brought to the culture, the church and the world.
“I think this is what the church would have looked like in 2030, only we got there a lot quicker because of the pandemic. So I think the timing is perfect [for this event],” he explained.
“There’s hope. The mission of the church has never been more significant,” Nieuwhof said. “The methods may be broken, but the mission is eternal. This is the opportunity to retool the methods so that the mission gets realized.”
The Future Church 2030 Conference will take place Apr. 4-5 at First Baptist Church in Bryan. Early registration lasts through March 31 and costs $25, and the price will increase to $35 after that. Students may attend for free. Price includes admission to all of the speakers, a continental breakfast and a dessert fellowship. For more information, go to txb.org/futurechurch.