By: Barry G. Allen- President & CEO
Alvin Toffler’s book, “Future Shock,” was the first to sensitize me in the mid 1970’s as a denominational leader to the absolute necessity of identifying and adapting to the megatrends of the future over which I would have no control. Renowned gerontologist, Ken Dychtwald, in his book, “Age Wave,” got my attention in the early 1990’s concerning demographic trends, and particularly the impact the baby boomer generation, of which I am one of 76 million, would continue to have on society in general and the church in particular.
Immediately upon becoming KBF president in 1996, after 25 years with the KBC Executive Board (now Mission Board), I began to alert Kentucky Baptists about the major trends in giving that would impact significantly the financial future of our churches, associations, the KBC and all the related entities. Today, 17 and a half years later, I still am trying to alert Kentucky Baptist church and denominational leaders of the perils of ignoring these trends and the vital importance of adapting to them in order to have a viable future in Kingdom advancement. Also, I am still urging them to recognize the vital importance of the KBF’s mission as part of the solution in resourcing Kingdom advancement, given the trends already impacting traditional giving, not the least of which are the demographic trends.
Emmett Carson, a community foundation president in California, stated it this way: “Charities that don’t recognize demographic trends are going to shrink and ultimately go out of business. The populations in the past that have supported them spectacularly will not have the base to support them going forward. This is adapt, change or die.”
Consider how these demographic shifts will impact your church or ministry. By 2045 people of color will outnumber whites. Already 40 percent of women with children under 18 are the primary breadwinners of which 37% are married and earn more than their husbands. Young adults are more demanding than others and seek concrete results from their gifts and show little allegiance to the organizations the way their grandparents did. They are more likely to give their time than their money. Roughly one in five Americans claims no religious affiliation, and this number is rising especially among those in their 20’s and early 30’s.
Don’t wait! Call us for assistance in your personal stewardship as well as your church’s.
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The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.