Here are my predictions for what will become "uncool" in the area of church planting and church leadership in 2007. These are in no particular order.
MySpace – The writing is already on the wall. With everyone from Fortune 500 companies to grandparents having a MySpace, the online "community" is going to go down as a form of marketing for churches. Only indie bands and sixth graders will keep using the thing.
Denominations – Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding ceremony has taken on a new meaning thanks to denominational decisions in 2006. According to the Southern Baptists it was irresponsible, as it could lead people to take a drink of alcohol (the root of all evil). According to the Episcopals the wedding was that of a same-sex couple. Denominations have become so bloated with self-importance and extreme left wing/right wing doctrinal statements that church planters will walk away from them in droves!
Mark Driscoll – I like Mark and love his books. However, his "let’s make babies so we can rock the vote" mentality…along with his big mouth will cause him to slide in the cool scale.
Cookie-Cutter Marketing – "Bye-bye" Outreach Marketing, Inc. and "hello" art majors within the congregation.
Self-Help/How-To Books & Conferences – The world of church planting and lead pastors no longer needs more clones and copycats.
Pimping – Shameless self-promotion of one’s book, video, church, blog, podcast, Home Shopping Network gadget or conference is getting completely uncool. Some pimping is okay, but the key word here is shameless.
Expensive Church Technology – Church planters are waking up to the fact that no one really wants to explain to God why a $3 million video wall was purchased for the sanctuary when there are single mothers in the community trying to pay bills while living in their cars.
CEO Pastors – It’s called a church not a business. The New Testament calls it "shepherding" not managing. Church planters are beginning to embrace that idea.
Brian McLaren – Being controversial for the sake of being controversial just gets old after a while. Maybe Brian’s friends at Open Door Church will continue to buy into the crap, but the rest of the world will get past it in 2007. His 15 minutes are up.
Chris Elrod – See the "big mouth" section in the Mark Driscoll listing above.
Video Venue Multi-Site Churches – When a Texas church plants a video venue location in south Florida the multi-site movement has entered the "absurd" category. Only "Boomers" and "Purpose-Driven" disciples still buy into the idea that people want to watch sermons on movie screens. ***This "uncool item" is in no way intended to disrespect those multi-site churches that still use live people to deliver the message.
Extravagant Sunday Mornings – All week strategy meetings by church staff in order to figure out how to stage a Broadway-rivaling show on Sunday will be a thing of the past. With 20-somethings putting more importance on community, the popularity of "the worship of worship", KISS concert-styled Sunday services will begin to slide in 2007.
Mega-Churches – Large churches will always be around. In fact we need them – and I am not saying they are wrong. I just see a greater importance by church planters being put on shepherding the individual flock and planting new, stand-alone churches. Because of this there will be more 500-800 member churches and more church plants being launched out of recently planted churches.
Foreign Missions – Africa needs more food, more AIDS vaccines and more money. It doesn’t need more missionaries. Relief ministry to foreign countries will become cool in 2007 – not street crusades.
Modern Praise Music – Less Chris Tomlin…more Fanny Crosby.
Dave Crowder’s Beard – Great music, but his facial hair is really annoying…and uncool. It’s like a post-modern attempt at being ZZ Top. In 2007 someone will finally snap, hold David down and cut that crap off his chin!!
Uncool Lists – Uncool lists really won’t be that cool in 2007. Especially when they are written by a bonehead church planter in Lakeland. Florida.