There is an organization called Firstfruits which analyzes global trends in religion and submits a report each year. I found it very interesting and wanted to share what they think will be happening over the next years:
1. Growth in Christianity and Islam. Christianity, through indigenous missions movements in the Global South. Islam, through high birth rates and expansion in new regions.
2. Prominence of the Global South Church. The rapidly-growing Global South Church will increasingly critique the way Westerners do Christianity and develop their own theology.
3. Destabilizing Youth Cohorts. As youth who are faced with lack of education and employment opportunities become more aware of the world outside, they will seek out alternative ways to live their lives.
4. Increase in Women and Children-at-risk. Because of poverty, war, migrations and environmental strains, these populations continue to be vulnerable to trafficking, HIV and other diseases, and economic disruptions.
5. Renewed Vision for Societal Relevance by Evangelicals and Pentecostals. These Christians are becoming more aware that they need to be involved in their communities, not to simply separate themselves from the world. Issues of social justice, government partnerships, and societal relevance are becoming more important.
6. Rise of Radicalism and Grassroots Religious Persecution. Persecution in predominantly Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim areas will be more locally sanctioned and at times tolerated by the government. Radical Islam will intensify, though as parts of the Muslim world liberalize and securlarize, their message may lose support.
7. Changing Philanthropy. Giving is increasingly bypassing conventional aid infrastructure and is moving toward direct involvement with indigenous institutions. Western philanthrophy will become increasingly results-oriented, focusing on evidence-based methods and outcomes.
8. Technology moves power to the “Edges”. Technology will inform the masses and give more power to people movements that can threaten centralized authority.
9. Cultural Hybridization, Trend toward Religious Nominalism. Growing materialism and religious nominalism as modernization leads peple to lose a living sense of the supernatural.
10. Non-readers on the Rise. The internet generation will approach learning in different ways and challenge conventional ways of education. Meanwhile, populations of illiterate peoples will increase due to high birth rates and better medical care.
All of these were taken from the First Fruit publication “Global Trends Analysis” and none of the material is my own. Their website is firstfruit.org.