Susan Beaumont, an Alban consultant, wrote an excellent article mining the lessons of the megachurch for the non-mega: “Lessons Learned and Offered: Reflections upon an Internship in a Seeker-Oriented Church.” Gospel and Our Culture (vol. 15:3-4) September and December 2003: 1-8:

A discussion of trends emerging from the United Methodists focused on the issue of congregation planting:

For emerging church folks, the category of postmodern pretty much encapsulates the future. Thus this description of the elements of postmodernism doubles as a summary of future trends:

This essay by Jeff Woods is based on or at least prompted by studies funded in the past 15 years by the Lilly Endowment. His description of what he sees as the new world emerging is another helpful discussion of trends, and he accompanies it with a delineation of a new set of tasks appropriate to this emerging world:

Following her book Congregations and Change, Nancy Ammerman gave an interview to the Christian Century, “Congregations in the midst of Change” (January 15, 1997), 48–51. Though this is not a full review of trends, Ammerman’s historical perspective is refreshing. She comments on what has continued as well as what is new in the trends shaping congregations:

In this Alban Institute report on the state of leadership in congregations, Alban president James P. Wind and senior consultant Gil Rendle argue that attention should be turned to the creative ferment—rather than the crises—in congregational life:


An interview with Jackson Carroll, former director of the Pulpit and Pew Project, is perhaps the most comprehensive effort to review the current state of ministry and the influences on it. It refreshingly brings into the foreground the more empirical side of matters. The Pulpit and Pew Project Web site includes many other articles of interest by Carroll and others on the subject of trends:

Here is a Leadership Network take on trends. In my read it is a very modernist approach to postmodernism—reducing all history to one linear presentation. The strength is in its comprehensiveness. Pretty much the polar opposite of Jackson Carroll’s treatment:

In a previous article in Alban Weekly I presented a somewhat different take on trends: