TOM SINETom Sine is the convener of the Creative Futures Center in Seattle, a group that helps denominations and Christian groups plan more creatively. He is the author of Why Settle for More and Miss the Best (Word), and the soon-to-be-released Wild Hope (Word), a book on the future and the church.

A leading futurist predicts that we will experience as much change in the next ten years as we have in the past three decades. Such rapid change means that the church can no longer plan as though the future is simply going to be an extension of the present. We will not only need to do a better job of anticipating the future, we must also become more imaginative in responding to tomorrow’s challenges.

We can learn much from the corporate world on this score. The competitiveness of the marketplace makes it imperative for corporations both to anticipate change and be creative in responding. If we have any hope of addressing the urgent challenges of the nineties we must become more creative.

One Christian organization attempting to take the future seriously and respond creatively is the Philippines Council of Evangelical Churches. A thorough forecasting effort to the year 2000 in all sectors of national life made it immediately apparent that inflation would continue at a high rate. Evangelical leaders asked how that would affect their congregations.

They found, to give one example, that because the majority of families lived at a subsistence level, mothers would be forced back to work to provide for their families’ basic needs. And without adequate child care, children would be left without supervision, placing tremendous pressure on family life.

The Philippines Council of Evangelical Churches therefore took the next step of anticipatory ...

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