Friday Fives: Five Predictions That Matter to Christian Leaders in 2015

When Jesus said in Matthew 24:36 “No one knows when that day or hour will come. Even the angels in heaven and the Son don’t know. Only the Father knows,” He called into question the entire prediction business from the moment He left the earth until the time He comes again.

Just go back and search some of the predictions for 2014. (And see this post.) The vast majority of them didn’t come close to being realized. Most people, even those who are considered experts, struggle to get above 60% predicting the outcome of a simple NFL football game, let alone predicting important matters.

One prediction I will make that I can guarantee is that you matter to God and will matter to Him in 2015. You can trust Him. (Hebrews 13:8)

Still, it reflects our thought and our culture to understand what people think will happen in 2015. Thus the reason for this week’s Friday Fives.


#5 Forbes Editors: A Robot that Feels

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Who Are They: Forbes is one of the leading national business magazines. Each year, writers assemble their predictions for an annual forecasting article. Specifically, they are Scott Cendrowski, Erika Fry, Leigh Gallagher, Stephen Gandel, Erin Griffith, Robert Hackett, Beth Kowitt, Adam Lashinsky, JP Mangalindan, Chris Matthews, Tory Newmyer, Scott Olster, Daniel Roberts, Anne VanderMey, Phil Wahba, and Claire Zillman

Prediction: Electronics will become still more human.

What Do They Predict, Specifically?
“Next year artificial IQ will get a little EQ. Already this fall, Amazon’s new “Echo,” an in-home device that looks like a speaker but acts like Siri, was a start. Jibo, the Pixar-like “family robot” went a step further, recognizing people, holding conversations, telling jokes and issuing reminders. In 2015, computers that learn (think IBM’s Watson or Samantha from the movie Her) will only become more human.”


#4: Karl Rove: The Political Landscape Churns

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Who is He: Rove is a political analyst for The Wall Street Journal and Fox News. He served as Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff during the Bush (43) administration.

Prediction: The US presidential race will become clearer with key candidates in… and out.

What Does He Predict, Specifically?

“Populist anger will grow more on the left than on the right. Hillary Clinton will run for the presidency; Sen. Elizabeth Warren , after flirting with the notion, will not. Neither will Vice President Joe Biden, but he will make more gaffes. A surprising number of prospective Republican candidates will not run or get off the launchpad because of money-raising challenges. It will not take $88 million to win the nomination like it took Mitt Romney in 2012, but it will take close to that sum.”


#3. Thom Rainer: Pastors Get Even Harder to Find

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Who is He: Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. He formerly served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism.

Prediction: Pastors will become harder to find, causing a change in how they are recruited.

What Does He Predict, Specifically?
“Increased difficulty in matching prospective pastors with churches with pastoral vacancies. This trend is growing and frustrating to both pastors and those in churches seeking pastors. It is particularly frustrating for those churches that use the pastoral search committee model. I will not be surprised to see that model begin to change in 2015.”


#2: Lynn Reaser: The Economy Finally Rebounds

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Who is She: Reaser is Chief Economist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California.

Prediction: Positive jobs data and low oil prices will help the economy kick in in 2015.

What Does She Predict, Specifically?

From the San Diego Union-Tribune: Reaser pointed to a positive national jobs report released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, showing 321,000 people added to payrolls in November and the unemployment rate at 5.8 percent. She also noted that wages grew 2.1 percent annually, which is a reflection of a positive job market. Overall, she expects consumers to continue spend more and save less. She said a recovery in the global economy could cause oil prices to tick up to $80 a barrel, but that low gas prices still represent a tax cut for consumers. She noted that every penny saved on gas is an extra $1 billion to spend. As a whole, she said inflation will stay around 2 percent, not too hot and not too cold. Reaser said she expects businesses across the country to invest more in equipment and technology, and that will help push the national gross domestic product up to 3 percent. “We’ve seen growth just at about an average of 2.3 percent,” Reaser said. “That is really sad and really anemic, and we think we’ll finally break out of that zone in 2015.”


#1. Thom Rainer: The Beginning of the End of the Arena Church

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Who is He: (See above)

Prediction: The era of the “arena church” will wane.

What Does He Predict, Specifically?
“Smaller worship gatherings. The era of the large worship gathering is waning. Churches that are growing will likely do so through multiple services, multiple venues, and multiple sites. This trend will accelerate through the growing influence of Gen X and the Millennials.”


BONUS: What did Back to the Future get right about 2015?