A colleague forwarded a list to me today of big changes that are about to happen to our lives within the next decade. The world we live in today will look very different when the youth we serve are full-fledged adults. Ready or not, here's what's coming...
No more Post Office - Email and private mail/shipping companies will soon make the government-run mail service defunct.
No more checks - Does anyone still write these things? In Britain, they plan to phase them out by 2018. If you don't use plastic or bank and buy online, you better have cash (unless that is disappearing, too!).
No more newspapers - This is already happening of course, since most of us would rather get our news in real time on the internet and read it on an Ipad.
No more land line phones - Who needs a phone tethered to a wall when you can take your cell everywhere you go and annoy people in public?
No more paying for music - As the music industry dies a slow death and their ability to stop illegal downloading proves to be impossible, expect that most music will be given away for free in hopes of enticing you to buy related products that feature your favorite performers (I've already pre-ordered the complete set of "Glee" tea towels.)
No more privacy - Privacy...what a quaint idea. But now that everything we ever say or do on the internet is cached for eternity, public video cameras record our every move, credit cards track our purchases, and Google Maps shows everyone a picture of our house, car and license plate, Big Brother has come home to stay.
So, what about youth ministry? What big changes do you expect in the next ten years? What do we take for granted today which will likely be a relic of the past for the next generation of youth pastors?
Update: I expect (or perhaps hope) that in the next decade or so we will see far fewer youth ministries which follow the current trend of isolating youth with separate programs and facilities from the adult population of churches. There will be more integration as congregations come to see the need for youth to spend most of their church time in intergenerational settings with adult Christians. I think we will also begin to see at the least the beginning of the decentralization of churches away from big steeple buildings with a movement toward more "house" churches and small groups. This would certainly have a major impact on youth ministry as it is practiced today.