Peering forward – We all need to become armchair futurists

Where our culture is headed and the resulting impact on ministries is the focus of the Winter 2010 issue of Outcomes from Christian Leadership Alliance.  Lots of great articles that I’ll talk about a while.

The rate of change around us makes me dizzy. 

Whether you look at our culture, the economy, technology, or tax/HR/legal compliance issues, the rate of change seems to be increasing.  It’s not just our  imagination.

Two tidbits to chew on:

  • Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google is quoted as saying that every two days we create as much information as all of humanity created from the dawn of civilization through 2003.  (The Kevin Ring article gave the info, TechCrunch verified.)
  • Ray Kurzweil said in 2001 that “we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).”  (comment mentioned in the Ring article.)   His point is that technology change is exponential. 

Think about those statements for a few moments.  Ponder what an increase in the rate of change from what we have seen in the last five years will mean in terms of the effectiveness and relevance of your ministry.  We are already past the point where that increase in the rate of change is very disorienting.  Yet the rate of change will increase.  I explained Schmidt’s point to my son this evening by saying our society is creating more information in two days than the information that existed when he was born. 

Those of us in leadership of ministries need to focus on what is happening around us and think about what is down the road.

You’ve heard of arm-chair generals?  We all need to become amateur, arm-chair futurists.

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