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Welcome to Christian

by Dr. Jay Gary

jaygary_sGreetings and welcome to the Christian Futures Network.

As the third millennium begins, we are looking to the resurrected Christ for insight and wisdom to help renew and lead the church into the future. Despite the apocalyptic anxiety of so many followers of Jesus, I believe we have embarked upon a journey toward hope.

I like to say that my interest in the future goes way back. I was born 6 weeks premature! Then in grade school, I recall eagerly skipping school to watch the Mercury space capsules being hurdled into orbit. By late-’70s, I remember the fascination of society with the wonders of science and technology and the arrival of the year 2000, then 30 years away.

I rushed off to engineering school at Georgia Tech and began to prepare myself for this future. This was at the height of the counter-culture movement — and the Jesus movement. It was in that milieu as a college freshman that I rediscovered my personal faith in Christ. In the years that followed, I became very active in the Christian student movement, and upon graduation became a college chaplain.

By 1980, my interest in the world mission of the church led me to help start the Perspectives study program, popular today among evangelicals worldwide. By the mid-’80s, I began a term of service for the Lausanne movement, a network of Christian leaders which Billy Graham founded. I helped develop the national younger leaders strategy, culminating in Leadership ’88. At that time great anticipation of A.D. 2000 swept over the church. I remember Dr. David Barrett, editor of the World Christian Encyclopedia, telling me that this millennial enthusiasm had no promise apart from futures research. I joined the World Future Society soon after.

I began to ask what the turn of the millennium might authentically mean to the church and the world. I ended up writing The Star of 2000 (1994). That launched me into my work consultant to denominations or ministries that were seeking to commemorate Christ’s 2,000th jubilee. During that time, I also edited the leading turn of the millennium bulletin marking 2000 as an anniversary of time, called “Let’s Talk 2000.”

Since the fall of 1995, I have had the privilege of being active with the World Future Society. In the summer of 1996, Dr. Todd Johnson and I agreed that within a multi-faith scholarly context, Christians needed a distinct special group where: 1) they could encourage one another in their faith and professional development, and 2) provide a distinct Trinitarian and Christology voice back to the larger religious futures movement.

In February of 1997, we launched the Christian Futurist electronic conference. Since then we have enlisted various scholars to serve as mentors to this network: including Dr. David Barrett, editor, World Christian Encyclopedia, Dr. Tom Sine, author of The Mustard Seed Conspiracy and Dr. Bill O’Brien, author of Choosing a Future for U.S. Missions, Dr. Ted Peters, author of God-the World’s Future, and Dr. Robert Clouse, author of The Meaning of the Millennium.

In 2004, I launched the first Master of Strategic Foresight degree at a Christian university and started a Foresight major in their Doctor of Strategic Leadership. These unique programs have graduated 100 graduate students as foresight professionals, whether as analysts, managers, trainers or consultants.

Where do we go from here?

If you have written an essay or given a speech which addresses the future of the gospel, please contact us. Or if you have written a book on the church of the 21st century, please drop us a .pdf review copy, with a news release. We will add it to our Top News category.

If you would like to help us as a web context provider let us know. We are always looking for reviews of Christian futurist books and articles. We are looking for links on the future of theology, ecclesiology, ecumenism, missiology and Christian education. We also are building up our members area with audio talks and powerpoints by authors and futurists.

Beyond our online Future-Proof workshops, we have been hosting regional issues-oriented conferences. Our first one was on the “Future of World Mission” in a post-modern age. Our latest one was on “Ministry Foresight.”

We are more than eager to develop a custom training program or weekend conference for your ministry staff or congregation. If so, please email or call me. Our aim is to see “foresight” skills regularly taught at pastor’s conferences or at interdenominational conventions, such as NAE, NRB, CLA, EPA, MissioNexus, etc. Our speaker’s bureau can handle any kind of request. We can even conduct virtual workshops for smaller teams.

Thank you for visiting with us in cyberspace. Let me leave you with this thought: you might be a “Christian futurist” at heart like I was for so many years, but have yet to recognize it. If that is you, then you have a great deal to offer our network — and the church worldwide! I encourage you to become active as a Christian futurist with us.

Jay Gary, PhD
Christian Futures Network
Contact Me

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