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Forecasting the Future - Part I

This article originally appeared in the September, 2018 Canadian Messenger Magazine.

I recently met a “futurist.” Her job is to study trends and forecast the future for companies and organizations. A lesson in business management, she said, is that you need to reinvent yourself every three or four years in order to stay ahead of the curve.

Many companies spend millions of dollars on innovation labs and partnering with think tanks to get a better idea of where trends are moving. Huge companies such as Amazon, Apple, and Facebook have been known to buy smaller start-up companies and add their “skill” to the company’s portfolio. For example, Facebook has purchased Instagram and WhatsApp, along with dozens of other companies, because they saw how the trends were moving.

The church doesn’t have the funding to purchase new start-ups or to operate an innovation lab. However, we must continue to forecast the future to understand how trends and ideas are shaping our culture. What are some of the changes taking place in our culture that the church can address? In this three-part series, I will highlight a few monumental changes that are occurring in our cultural landscape.

Baby boomers have already started retiring.

How does this fact shape how your church does ministry in your community? What kinds of ministry opportunity can you provide for this population?

A recent study by Franklin Templeton Investments Canada showed that one-fifth of Canada’s working baby boomers have not saved for retirement. “Three-quarters of the pre-retiree baby boomers surveyed said they felt anxious or stressed about their retirement savings or investments, and 40 percent said they expected to rely on a government pension as their primary or secondary source of income.”

The local church can provide educational seminars, outreach to seniors, and volunteer opportunities that will reach this aging population in your community. Financial uncertainty can contribute to stress, relationship decline, and adverse health effects. Here are some questions your church board and elders can discuss.

  • What neighbourhoods in our community have large pockets of seniors? 

  • What kinds of seminars can we provide for people who are already retired?

  • What kind of seminar can we develop for people who will be retiring in 10 years?

  • How can we address some of the health issues that older adults face?

*Footnote: Emma Prestwich, “A Fifth Of Canada’s Working Baby Boomers Have Nothing Saved For Retirement,” May 11, 2018, Huffington Post

Kumar Dixit is the creative principal of Dixit Media Group, an organization that rebrands religious and non-profit organizations.

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