5 Disruptive Church Trends That Will Rule 2016

There’s little doubt culture is changing rapidly.

The question is, are you ready as a church leader?

As I shared in my book, Lasting Impact (you can download the first chapter for free here), and in my Church Growth Masterclass, if the change inside the church isn’t equal to or greater than the change outside our walls, irrelevance is inevitable.

While that thought can be somewhat depressing, think of the flip side.

History belongs to the innovators. It belongs to the leaders who dared to dream, to try things no one else was trying, to experiment, to push the boundaries of what everyone else believed was possible.

As Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Or as Steve Jobs put it, “A lot of the time people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

If you are prepared to tackle change with a fully engaged heart, you can help not only your church but maybe even the church better accomplish the mission before us.

So what’s changing before our eyes? I see these 5 things becoming major players as 2016 unfolds.

church trends1. Church online will become an advance, not just a supplement to or replacement for church

You can make the argument that online options that churches offer—everything from message podcasts to social media to full online streaming of Sunday services— have too often played the role of a supplement to or replacement of church for many Christians.

For a growing number of Christians, online church has become the like TV preachers were to some Christians in the 70s and 80s who decided Sunday morning viewing at home was better than participation in a local church.  Too tired or disengaged to go on Sunday? Just watch online.

Watch for church online to become far less of a supplement or replacement and far more of an advance into the lives of people who don’t attend church at all.

Churches will get innovative and more intentional about reaching out into their communities using digital options at a point of first contact with unchurched people.

Think about it: everybody who wasn’t in your church last Sunday is probably on Facebook. And everybody who wasn’t in your church last Sunday is probably online.

So go connect with them.

More than ever in 2016, online church will begin to open a door into the lives of people who will never walk through yours.

2. Preachers will preach less often

I’ve noticed that preachers are both getting better at communicating and speaking less often.

It wasn’t that long ago that some preachers were writing 100 to 150 messages a year between Sunday mornings, Sunday nights and Wednesday nights.

Many Sunday evening and Wednesday night services have disappeared in the last decade.

But a growing number of preachers are realizing that preparing 52 excellent Sunday messages is increasingly difficult. Personally I’ve cut back from writing 70 messages a year a decade ago to about 35 a year today.

The result? I’m a much better communicator.

What’s creating all this change?

Simple. It’s the wide availability of digital options. (See point #1 above.)

A decade ago, people who attended your church only really ever listened to you. Now they can hear anyone for free.  And they do.

As a result, the local pastor is often being listened to alongside today’s best communicators, and local pastors are opting for quality over quantity.

At some point, quantity and quality compete. And in today’s digital landscape, innovative leaders are opting for quality.

By the way, if you want to sharpen your communication skills, I would encourage you to try the free 7 day trial of Preaching Rocket. (affiliate link).

I’ve learned so much personally on how to be a better communicator from Jeff Henderson, who leads Preaching Rocket, and his method for getting ahead on messages, connecting with your audience and how to create sermons that stick.

Personally, Preaching Rocket has helped me take my communication to the next level. I hope they can help you as well.

You can sign up here, for a free 7-day trial.

3. Experience will trump content

Technology has made world-class content both portable and affordable.

Anyone can listen to the best communicators and best bands in the world for free or next to free on any device they own.

And they do.

The attractional churches of the 90s and 2000s built their congregations by offering excellent preaching and amazing music.

The challenge, of course, is that technology has disrupted that model.

What used to be both exclusive and something you had to experience personally is now portable and affordable thanks to your phone.

I’ll blog on this trend again soon, but the short answer is that ultimately, experience will have to trump content.

Why? Because more people are asking this question: If I can watch and listen on my phone, why would I come? 

If you don’t have a good answer to that question as a church leader, you lose.

Churches that cultivate a great experience will win.

What makes for a great experience?


Serving one another in love

A sense of mission and movement into a city or region

Amazing kids experiences

Actual caring, prayer and human interaction

Church leaders will have to sift through what can only happen in person and what can happen online.

Those who do will continue to grow. Those who don’t, won’t.

It’s not that you shouldn’t have an online presence. You should have a great one.

But you should also offer something in person you can never get online. This year, the most innovative leaders will get better at figuring out what those differences are.

4. Passion will beat polish

For many years, growing churches focused on doing church better. 

Better music, better preaching, better buildings, better design, better everything drove much of the growth of the last few decades.

But as every leader knows, eventually better gets you diminishing returns.

One more moving light is probably not going to bring another 1000 people to Jesus in the same way the first moving light did. (Okay, moving lights never brought people to Jesus. But church was often so stale and bad in the 80s and 90s that moving lights were a hallmark of churches that innovated and as a result collectively baptized millions.)

The effective churches I’ve visited and seen recently by no means had the best lights, stage or production. Some had almost no stage and no lights, while others had a pretty decent package, but not nearly the level you see at some churches.

What did they all have in common? Passion.

When it comes to reaching the next generation, passion beats polish.

It’s not that polish is bad, but I think it’s increasingly trumped by a raw authenticity that exudes from leaders who will do whatever it takes to reach people with the Gospel.

In the churches I’ve seen doing a superb job with young adults, smaller facilities and stage sets were more than compensated for by preachers, worship leaders and team members who exuded passion for the mission.

Passion beats polish.

If you want to read about the other four characteristics I see in churches doing a great job reaching 18-35 year olds, you can read that here.

5. Only the most engaged and the curious will attend

There is a shifting attendance pattern happening in every church, including growing churches and mega-churches: even people who attend church are attending less often.

I outlined 10 reasons why that’s happening here, but I want to drill down on one in particular that I believe we’ll see more of in 2016 than ever before.

In the past, if you were Christian, you went to church on a Sunday. It was almost automatic.

But it led to many disengaged Christians filling up seats on Sundays. They attended, but they didn’t serve, didn’t give and didn’t invite anyone to come with them. They simply attended.

That group is increasingly disappearing, opting for online options (see point 1 above) or has dropped out altogether as our culture becomes more and more post-Christian. This trend will only accelerate in 2016.

As a result, your weekend gatherings will increasingly be attended primarily by two groups: the engaged and the curious.

The engaged are people who are on mission with you. They give. They serve. They actually have unchurched friends they’re bringing to church. They live out their faith far more than they sit in a back row and ‘absorb’.

They’ll be joined on the weekends by the curious. The curious are people who haven’t made a decision to follow Jesus but they’re open. They’re exploring. They’re asking questions. They’re probably there because a friend invited them or because they found you online and wanted more.

When I look to the future, I see those two groups forming the core of the people who will continue to fuel attendance at your weekly gatherings.

So what does this mean for church leaders?

It means you need to stop valuing attendance more than you value engagement.

Ironically, if you value attendance over engagement, you will see declining attendance.

And if you want to raise attendance, raise engagement.

What Do You See?

Those are 5 big trends I see emerging in 2016.

I call them disruptive because they will ensure that things never stay the same. And for leaders, that should be exciting. It gives us the chance to innovate and actually advance our mission.

By seeing the trends clearly, you can respond to them.

After all, leaders who see the future can seize the future.

What disruptive trends do you see emerging in 2016?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

5 Disruptive Church Trends That Will Rule 2016


  1. […] 2016 Church Trends […]

  2. 7 Disruptive Church Trends That Will Rule 2018 on January 10, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    […] For the last two years, I’ve kicked off the new year with a post on disruptive church trends. You might still find those helpful. You can read the six trends for 2017 here, and the trends for 2016 here. […]

  3. […] For the last two years, I’ve kicked off the new year with a post on disruptive church trends. You might still find those helpful. You can read the 6 trends for 2017 here, and the trends for 2016 here. […]

  4. Chris Doeller on October 25, 2017 at 5:33 am

    As a person who repairs church organ, 40+ years, I see a trend, in church administration, of people less and less engaged with the day to day activities and needs of the church complex. Staff is hired more as adjuncts then professionals who have ownership of the place. They arrive for the serve, possibly spend a few lone hours on campus, when few others are around, and do most of their interaction with vendors and others via texting, emails, and phone calls. Trying to engage them into a partnership to solve a problem, in my case a problem about the pipe organ, and they simply will not connect., rather preferring a simple fast solutions so as to move on to some other thing which is distracting them.
    Another trend has been to abandon the historical aspect of community, and focus on a more commercial trend of salesmanship to a less engaged and often younger demographic. Rather than providing a continuum of family, new ephemeral worship gimmicks are adopted at the same time pushing out the old. Church has become Theater and our worship spaces entertainment venues.

  5. C8 on October 12, 2017 at 5:08 am

    Ive been observing a great influx of 30 somethings who are now leading worship and every position in the church. Our choir is dying bc our Pastor made an obvious show of dislike of it when he first came to our church. He didnt want choirs and anthems or hyms but obviously wanted engage teams. That seems to appeal to him most. Choirs are dying bc most of them are over 40 and the leadership no longer values the that age. We had 80 members at one time before this Pastor came and presently have dwindled to 26 due to complete negligence and i suspect due to these types of ideologes, total presumptuous bc they are man made ideas. That church leaders would dismantle a choir of dedicated God loving people who sang mightily in Spirit bc they no longer look appealing enough to the new generations is ungodly. It is ungodly to not be honest to the choir minstry of your true intentions and it Is very very disturbing. It indicates that the leadership does not have complete assurance that it is truly the will of God, it reveals a spirit of deceit by not informing the choir of its true intentions and it devalues the choir member who have dedicated their music service to God by being replaced with 20-30 somethings writing their own music (mostly shallow songs with little spiritual value) trying to become popular trying to imitate singers such as Lauren Daigle being referred to Adelle. Who cares for these no longer wanted or necessary displaced choir singers who dont fit your idea of appealing to a new generation? Will you not shepard all the people? The most frightful concern is that our leaders arent being entirely honest in their intentions to reinvent the wheel, set up the latest trend of a church, micromanage every detail of it and THEN MIRACULOUSLY somehow the Holy Sprit just shows up and does a great work with your new church plans. No i dont think so. God is in all the details and he does not need our best made plans. He wants us to have one spirit, HIS SPIRIT, not your well thought out ideas and plans. You are not that smart to know the future of the church. The church is the very body of Christ and the Holy Spirit will have its way over your best made plans bc his church is all of his believets not just the ones who fit your ideology. It will not bless your plans while you devalue and hurt some of its flock by neglecting them and by being dishonest to them. I will not rely on the new trend of churching bc it does not resemble unity in spirit for all of its believers as the real church of Christ does. Its a new social club designed to reach the 30-40s to meet their needs, hopefully catch their kids and lead them to Christ, let them lead in all areas of leadership, disregard its elder members and their ministry needs and pretty much by your silence and lack of honesty says to them that you are no longer needed here bc you dont belong here in our new envirionment that is customed to meet the needs of the younger adults. I guess we can just quit singing, and greet people at the door, or perhaps sit at home listening to the online service so we can give up our seats to the new generation. We may all be Christians but the new church culture does not include 50 yr olds in esp the music ministry. We are being deceived and I’m living through it right now. It hurts to not have a sheperd to care for us any longer. We dont matter and it is very damaging to the unity of Gods church. You have to be totally blind to not have noticed this current trend of displacing older music leadership and replacing them with more attractive age 20-30 yesr olds. If youre over 50, theres no place for you in the new church. You dont fit the standards of progression. Church is forever over to me. I will no longer look at it with blind eyes but will seek the real church of Christ as the church in Ephesians where there was genuine peace and complete unity among the people and where every Chrsttian had all things in common and gave to each other as needed. Sir, this does not exist anymore in the church bc man took control over it and made it be about traditions and trends. It has lost its way bc it has devalued the power if the Holy Spirit to reach men in anyvway that ge sees fit. And just like the generation before, those 30 somethings that are so busy carrying out all your best made plans will make church their religion and ritual while their children are dragged to whatever classes are available so that their parents can carry out this new ideology of the modern church. Those childten nany if them will resent thae absense of their parents in their lives bc their parents are too busy carrying out the work that its leaders want them too. Their children will feel uncared for and will disconnect from the church bc it took their parents away from them and you leaders are at fault for it. I am convicted that this ideology is errant bc i cannot put my trust in mens plans but i can put my trust in God alone and know that i am wanted and loved and tthat his eyes are on me, even a 55 year old. He sees the pain and the hurt after seving 20 years to be tossed aside for the latest church trend. We do not have the same God bc he trpresent light, love, truth, and justice. We cannot know his mind or plans but we can love each other in unity and stand together in his spirit and trust that he will reveal himself in whatever ways he chooses to and we will accept that. You may good intentions, but there is great flaw here and NO ONE is speaking the truth about it. There should only be ONE agenda, “thy will be done and not my own”. Its not about having the most populat attractive ppl out front leading bc God can use the lowest of creatures to speak his truth bc he says that if man would not praise hom that the very rocks would cry out his praise. If rocks can cry out his praise, im sure all of his people can sing his praises no matter our age and im sure he loves us to be united in it. I like to dream that in heaven thats once and for all there will be a true unity in Spirit. That age and denominations will not be separated into their own special sections but rather that the love of God and being in the presense of it, will remove all barriers and hindrances that we are now blnded to by bc our ideologies. His love is truth and it is eternal and timeless. Every child of God at every age is important and valued
    and loved and accepted. Heaven will not be a social club for the leaders and the popular ppl at church. It will be a home for all of his body of beleivers and nothing will separate us in this unity. Why do you think its acceptable to God our Father for his children to be separated within his church by the discrepencies and problems caused by your ideolgies?

  6. Todd Branston on March 6, 2016 at 2:48 am

    Thanks for the article. I don’t attend church and never plan to go. I’m an atheist and I’m merely commenting as I really enjoy the way you write. I appreciate that you didn’t push a fear-based agenda.

    Be well

    • Carey Nieuwhof on March 6, 2016 at 5:34 am

      Thank you Todd. Appreciate you being part of the conversation. I’ve always seen fear as a poor motivator, and love as the highest motivator. God, according to the Scriptures as I read them, is love. Bless you Todd.

  7. blakeNaustin on February 8, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    The entertainment oriented values and social media based relationships expressed in this article is sadly representative of many millennials. But it does not align with Scripture, something that is woefully lacking in any of the points this writer makes. Sensitive to culture is important, but it is not everything. There are timeless absolutes that should be guiding MOST of what the church is and does.

  8. Michael Scarlett on January 21, 2016 at 11:16 am

    So, Re: NO. 2 Trend: What are you suggesting for the other 17 Sundays in a year where you’re not preaching? And what’s the suggestion for the church where the pastor is the only staff person?

    • Carey Nieuwhof on January 21, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      Great questions. Guest preachers. Lay preachers. Video teaching (Life.church offers its messages free). Lots of options. Bottom line: try to create 52 Sundays of great content.

  9. A Amos Love on January 19, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Would a *disruptive trend* for the…
    501 (c) 3, Non-Profit, Tax Deductible, Religious Corporations…
    That the IRS calls church…

    More and more pastor/leaders, in 2016…
    Will recognize, and admit, that the “Title/Postion,” pastor/leader/reverend…
    Does NOT exist in the Bible for one of His Disciples?

    And these pastor/leader/reverends, will walk away from…
    The Power, Profit, Prestige, Honor, Glory, Celebrity, Recognition, Reputation…
    That come with today’s “Title and Position,” of – pastor/leader/reverend?

    To become…
    More and more like one of His Disciples in the Bible, where…
    NOT one of His Disciples had the “Title” – pastor/leader/reverend?
    NOT one of His Disciples called them self – pastor/leader/reverend?
    NOT one of His Disciples called another Disciple – pastor/leader/reverend?
    NOT one of His Disciples was “Hired or fired,” as a – pastor/leader/reverend?

    And, eventually follow the example of Jesus, in the Bible, who…
    Humbled Himself? Made Himself of NO Reputation?
    And took on the form of a Servant? Phil 2:7-8.

    Humble – to have a modest or low opinion of ones own importance.

    What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

  10. A Amos Love on January 19, 2016 at 1:22 pm


    “What *disruptive trends* do you see emerging in 2016?”

    Would a *disruptive trend* for the…
    501 (c) 3, Non-Profit, Tax Deductible, Religious Corporations…
    That the IRS calls church…

    More and more pastor/leaders, in 2016…
    Will recognize, and admit, they do NOT meet…
    The Qualifications for elder/overseer, in 1 Tim 3:1-7, and Titus 1:5-9?
    1 – A bishop “must be” *blameless.*? 2 – Just? 3 – Holy?
    4 – Manage his own household well? 5 – Having faithful children?

    And these pastor/leader/reverends, who do NOT Qualify…
    Will remove themselves? Becoming a good example to the flock?

    And, will desire to be more and more like…
    One of His Disciples? In the Bible?
    Denying self? Forsaking all?
    Being a Servant?

    When you believe the lie you start to die…

  11. CNLP Bonus 006: #AskCarey Part 5 - Carey Nieuwhof on January 14, 2016 at 12:29 am

    […] 5 Disruptive Church Trends That Will Rule 2016 […]

  12. LCochran on January 12, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Carey, I can agree with your 5 “findings” – They institution of the church has failed to stay relevant. Excuse my rant, but if you’ll allow me to chime in on why I think your findings are true.

    1) online – it’s just a tool, but as we become more adapt to using it, it becomes the norm. Multi-site churches use video, so why not “attend” a podcast or a streaming and/or recorded message?

    2) preach less – small groups killed Sunday nights and Wednesday night years ago. The backlash will come when people begin to wonder why many ministers are being paid a full paycheck when they are not as visible as they once where. – People want to know more than ever where their money is being spent, and how it’s being used.

    3) experience – welcome to the age of pleasure. Content is king, but it has to be presented in an engaging and interesting way. Churches have long left the sloppy 1970’s as they began to strive for excellence; in doing so, they have begun to use entertainment methods to improve the user experience. (Think lights, video etc.) Many people are spiritually hungry, and don’t want entertainment, yet they don’t want the content delivered in such a way that it’s not relevant. (Truth is, we need the power of God back – that’s an experience that will change lives forever.)

    4) passion – Yes, passion is key. How can we serve the God of the universe and not be excited? People want authenticity. Practical, down to earth, reality. John 3:16 – God sent is son. Jesus was passionate, not to mention practical, down to earth, authentic, etc.

    5) engagement – Beyond attending a movie, when do people come and set for a lecture without getting to interact and/or provide any feedback? With the growth of the information age and all the tools that come with it, people are no longer willing to set back and listen to one person. Everyone wants to have a chance to add to the conversation and be heard. Everyone want to participate, but somehow over the years it’s been implied that only the elect can be minsters rather than championing the fact that EVERY believer is a minister of reconciliation. We should all be in the game and not on the sidelines (or watching from the pew as it may be).

    We (the church) act shocked that people are leaving out our doors and not returning. We tend to forget that the church Christ came to establish was not a building, but it’s our hearts. If we keep in the center, all the other details will work themselves out as we listen to His voice and obey.

    I pray for the day that the institution awakens and begins to live up to it’s potential. Until then, I pray that believers will boldly walk in what the Church was called to be making disciples and reaching the lost.

  13. This Week’s Links « Timothy Siburg on January 12, 2016 at 10:57 am

    […] looking at 2016 and ahead toward this year in the church Carey Nieuwhof unpacked, “5 Disruptive Church Trends That Will Rule 2016.” The trends that Carey outlined are: Church online will become an advance, not just a […]

  14. De-Cluttering Part 2 | achurchforstarvingartists on January 10, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    […] of our denominational stuff also gets in the way.  For example, last week Carey Nieuwhof wrote  5 Disruptive Church Trends that Will Rule 2016 and it surely makes my people nervous. Nieuwhof’s ideas are italicized and mine […]

  15. Neal Smith on January 9, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Churches have left the task at which they are God appointed to do….Spread His word. Modern “doctrine” leaves out sin, the penalty for it (hell) satan’s distruptions of a persons coming to Christ & the fact that He, & He alone is the only way to eternal life in the kingdom He taught. In Paul’s letter to the Galatian church..chapter one, He gave strong warning about false teaching, doctrine contrary to scripture & following those who preach it.

  16. 3 Things Luke Likes | LukeTrouten.com on January 9, 2016 at 8:30 am

    […] 5 Disruptive Church Trends That Will Rule 2016 (Article) […]

  17. christopher.miles on January 8, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Unfortunately, a disruptive trend I see for 2016 is that many Christians will forget that the separation of Church and State is meant to protect the Church. Too many Christians will be sucked in as pawns of the election year, and hostility between Christians will be raised to a whole new level by those that seek political gain. Loving church leaders will need to work extra hard to protect the flock from the wolves that would suggest that anyone who disagrees with them can’t be a Christian. Christian brothers and sisters will need to be reminded that the health of Christ’s church (His body) is much more important than individual political positions.

  18. […] Read the Rest Here […]

  19. Janne on January 6, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I attend some churches and what draws me to a christian fellowship, is The Gospel. I am a lot more interested in pastor who knows the Lord intimately teaching me about Jesus and what He did for me and how He is the answer to every single question of life, than listening to a sermin about applying some principles on how I can get a better quality of life etc…

    I don’t move easily if someone tries to engage me, because I see that as a form of control. But we have Freedom in Christ and we should encourage that Freedom on anybody by preaching the Truth. Only one who can engage me, is Jesus. Of course it would be good if a pastor would take personal interest in me, in the only thing that matters, so that I would know Christ more, like he should know Him more than me. If he doesn’t, it’s humbling himself time bigtime. If he sees me as a number or he thinks he must somehow plan a strategy to engage me, that would most likely make me concerned that is that pastor actually following Jesus Christ, or his own desire to have a lot of attendees, or influence, or recognition from other leaders.

    I think Holy Spirit is knocking on every churches door on 2016. He would like to lead, but He won’t force anyone to listen to Him, not even a pastor. It’s either accepting Him in the church, or just trying to develop or plan new ways to get people to come to church. Which they won’t. Because they want Jesus, who is Alive!

    If we follow Jesus, people who are meant to be, will be drawn to the Truth of Gospel and it doesn’t matter what church they attend, as long as it preaches the Gospel. If that even bothers us, our heart is not for God. If we follow Jesus, we don’t care one bit about how many people attend our church, because we are not defined by numbers, we are defined by the Love of God and the ultimate sacrifice of Lord Jesus Christ. It’s all about Him, He will get the numbers. Our job is to love God and one another.

    Have a blessed and Spirit filled year 2016

    • JBMoorpark on March 12, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      “Preach Jesus” seems like a stock answer to me. As someone who no longer attends church, I’d rather see church people being little Christs (the original meaning of Christian) in the world than preaching Jesus.

      Actions speak much, much louder than words. People sitting in a room somewhere on Sunday doesn’t bring Jesus to anyone but the people in that room (and sometimes not even to them). How about on-the-ground concrete actions of love and help for the larger community? If people saw love in action more often they’d be more interested in what is motivating these people to show such love.

      When people start saying “I’m not a Christian but I have to say our town is a much better place because of what the church people do here”, then you’ve really impacted the community.

      • Janne on March 12, 2016 at 5:49 pm

        Yep. A big part of what I meant about personally encouraging people was encouraging them to do what a christian does. And doing it ourselves first of course. And if we tell people who they are in Christ, the result is we and them become like our Lord. Also in actions.

        Actions speak, and faith comes from the preaching of the Word. Actions without faith are…? 🙂

        Making disciples was basically what I meant. That is what our Lord told all christians to do. Disciples who keep everything He told us to keep.

        My motive was to steer the focus on Jesus, because He is The Way, The Truth and The Life. Whenever we start thinking too much about numbers, new ways to plant churches, doctrines, strategies, leaderships, whatnot, we are off The Way very quickly building our own kingdoms instead of serving His Kingdom. Might not be the case here, but it might lead to that.

        Either we follow our own desires to “be somebodies” or we deny ourselves including any right to be anybodies and follow Him. Even our desire to be significant fellowship builders can be a detriment to our growth and one of those works that burns down in the end.

        It’s ALL about Jesus. Do we know Him personally? Have we given EVERYthing to Him? Including our plans to grow fellowships. Blessings!

      • hawk ???????????????? on February 4, 2017 at 11:42 pm

        I keep trying to reply but can’t

        Sorry to get all pesky about facts and all

        “No Sharia Police, all in my head”

        I’ll give you a few hundred examples, here’s one:

        An article by Yves Mamou who blogs for the French language TimesofIsrael, and writes for Le Monde. Written today, for the Gatestone Institute a conservative leaning non-profit. Taken at random because I had just read it. Is this trial all in Bensoussan’s head too?
        by Yves Mamou
        February 4, 2017

        “It is a shame to deny this taboo, namely that in the Arab families in France, and everyone knows it but nobody wants to say it, anti-Semitism is sucked with mother’s milk.” — George Bensoussan, historian of Moroccan heritage, on trial for saying that.

        “When parents shout at their children, when they want to reprimand them, they call them Jews. Yes. All Arab families know this. It is monumental hypocrisy not to see that this anti-Semitism begins as a domestic one. ” — Smaïn Laacher, French-Algerian professor of sociology.

        This witch-hunt against Bensoussan is symptomatic of the state of free speech today in France. Intellectual intimidation is the rule. Complaints are filed against everyone not saying that Muslims are the main victim of racism in France.

        In December 2016, Pascal Bruckner, a writer and philosopher, was also brought to court for saying: “We need to make the record of collaborators of Charlie Hebdo’s murderers.” He named the people in France who had instilled a climate of hatred against Charlie.

        Muslims, especially young Muslims, as the new revolutionary labor class. It did not matter that most of them were not working: they were “victims”.

        “Anti-racist vigilance became a gag rule… Anti-racist organizations are in the denial of ‘Muslim racism.'” — Alain Finkielkraut, philosopher and academic.

        An important red line in France has just been crossed. In true dhimmi fashion, in a move reminiscent of both the Inquisition and the Dreyfus Trial, all of France’s so-called “anti-racist” organizations have joined a jihad against free speech and against truth.

        On January 25, 2017, France’s “anti-racist” organizations — all of them, even the Jewish LICRA (International League against Racism and anti-Semitism) — joined the Islamist CCIF (Collective against Islamophobia) in court against Georges Bensoussan, a highly regarded Jewish historian of Moroccan extraction, and an expert on the history of Jews in Arab countries.

        Georges Bensoussan, a highly regarded Jewish historian of Moroccan extraction, and an expert on the history of Jews in Arab countries. (Image source: Jusqu’au dernier video screenshot)
        Not only did the Islamist CCIF and the Jewish LICRA unite against him, but also the French Human Rights League, SOS Racism and MRAP (Movement against Racism and for Friendship with People).

        Bensoussan is being prosecuted for remarks he made during a “France Culture” radio debate, about antisemitism among French Arabs:

        “An Algerian sociologist, Smaïn Laacher, with great courage, just said in a documentary aired on Channel 3: It is a shame to deny this taboo, namely that in the Arab families in France, and everyone knows it but nobody wants to say it, anti-Semitism is sucked with mother’s milk.”

        The documentary that Bensoussan was referring to was called “Teachers in the Lost Territories of the Republic,” and was aired in October 2015, on Channel 3. In this documentary, Laacher, who is a French professor of Algerian origin, said:

        “Antisemitism is already awash in the domestic space… It… rolls almost naturally off the tongue, awash in the language… It is an insult. When parents shout at their children, when they want to reprimand them, they call them Jews. Yes. All Arab families know this. It is monumental hypocrisy not to see that this anti-Semitism begins as a domestic one.”

        No complaint was filed against Laacher. But as soon as Bensoussan, in the heat of a radio debate, referred to Arab anti-Smitism as “sucked in with mother’s milk”, CCIF, followed by all anti-racist associations, brought Bensoussan to supposed justice. Their accusation was simple: “mother’s milk” is not a metaphor for cultural anti-Semitism transmitted through education, but a genetic and “essentialist” accusation. It means: “all Arabs are anti-Semitic” — in other words, Bensoussan is a racist.

        Professor Smaïn Laacher, of the University of Strasbourg, denied the quote and told the website Mediapart. “I have never said nor written that kind of ignominy”. He filed a complaint against Bensoussan, but later withdrew it.

        Judgment will be rendered March 7.

        This witch-hunt against Bensoussan is symptomatic of the state of free speech today in France. With the leading Islamist CCIF stalking “Islamophobia”, intellectual intimidation is the rule. Complaints are filed against everyone not saying that Muslims are the main victim of racism in France.

        In December 2016, Pascal Bruckner, a writer and philosopher, was also brought to court for saying in 2015, on Arte TV, “We need to make the record of collaborators of Charlie Hebdo’s murderers”. He named people in France who had instilled a climate of hatred against Charlie: the entertainer Guy Bedos, the rap singer Nekfeu, anti-racist organizations like The Indivisibles, or the journalist Rokhaya Diallo and the supremacist movement for “people of color” known as Les Indigènes de la République (“The Indigenous of the Republic”).

        It was not the first time that Islamists filed complaints against people they dislike. Charlie Hebdo was twice brought to court by Islamist organizations. Twice, the accusations of Charlie’s Islamist accusers were dismissed.

        But with the Bensoussan trial, we are entering in a new era. The most venerable, the most authentic anti-racist organizations — some of them are older than a century — are, shamefully, lining up with Islamist organizations.

        This tipping point was initiated in the 1980s by with SOS Racism. This organization, founded to organize young Muslims and help them to assimilate into French society rapidly, became a political movement, manipulated by the Socialist Party. SOS Racism and its slogan, “Don’t hurt my buddy”, rapidly became a new direction to the working class. With the working class attracted by the far-right party Front National, the Socialist party needed a new “clientele”. They chose Muslims, especially young Muslims, as the new revolutionary labor class. It did not matter that most of them were unemployed: they were “victims”.

        Thirty years later, it is easy for Islamist organizations to take the reins of this ideology of victimization, and to transform “anti-racism” into a fight against “Islamophobia”.

        In 2016, at a symposium in Paris dedicated to “False Friends and Useful Idiots of Secularism”, Alain Jakubowicz, president of the Jewish anti-racist group LICRA, described the anti-racist field war:

        “Today, CCIF (Collective against Islamophobia) is the leading anti-racist organization. This is terrifying. Today, CCIF and Indigenous of the Republic are the leading fighters against racism… not against anti-Semitism, because they do not care. This is not the question for them. And they are very clever to recruit “useful idiots” like rap singers. And Muslim youths, who have good reason to protest being those “left behind” in French society, see their idols promoting CCIF and its accusations of “state racism”. In 2016, how is it possible to talk about a racism practiced by the state in the French Republic ? This is unbelievable!”

        In 2017, what is unbelievable is to see the same Alain Jakubowicz and the Jewish LICRA sitting side by side in court with CCIF to file a complaint against a prominent historian who simply speaks what he sees about the cultural transmission of anti-Semitism within the French Arab and French Muslim community.

        Richard Abitbol, president of the Confederation of French Jews and Friends of Israel, accused Jakubowicz and LICRA of obeying the “necessity for them to find a Jewish scapegoat to build a virginity in order to comply with those who fight Islamophobia”.

        To evaluate the treason of this Jewish anti-racist movement colluding with its worst enemy, it is important to remember that LICRA has been created to defend Samuel Schwartzbard. In 1920, in Paris, Schwartzbard had killed Simon Petlioura, a Cossack leader responsible for killing thousands of Jews in Ukraine. Schwartzbard was acquitted. LICRA militants were also famous in the 1930s for their street-fights against far-right anti-Semitic “Camelots du roi”.

        But the LICRA disarray can be generalized to all the “anti-racist” movements. SOS Racism — which in 2008 supported the firing of a veiled Muslim employee by her employer — is today a follower of CCIF.

        The venerable French League of the Human Rights (LDH), in 2006, had two prominent members — Antoine Spire and Cedric Porin — resign from the CCIF and publish an op-ed in Le Monde accusing the CCIF “of responding to the racism experienced by young people of immigrant background by showing complacency towards the Islamist organizations that claim to represent them”.

        When the French philosopher Robert Redeker received death threats from Islamist terrorists because he criticized Islam, the LDH stated that it did not share the “noxious ideas” of Mr Redeker, but conceded that, “whatever one thinks of the writings of Mr Redeker, there is no reason for him to undergo such treatment”.

        Regarding the MRAP (Movement against Racism and for Friendship with People), it is enough to say that its leader, Mouloud Aounit , publicly joins Tariq Ramadan of the Muslim Brotherhood to fight “Islamophobia”.

        In September 2009, Sihem Habchi, president of the feminist association Ni Putes, Ni Soumises (Neither Whores nor Doormats), wrote in France Soir: “When I see MRAP, LDH, and Ligue de l’Enseignement accept female genital mutilation as a cultural practice, I realize that these people are not ready to help me to be free”.

        In court, in defense of Bensoussan, Alain Finkielkraut, philosopher and academic, explained to the judge:

        “A rogue anti-racism makes you to criminalize a concern instead of fighting the cause of this concern. If the court obeys to this injunction, it will be a moral and an intellectual catastrophe”.

        Finkielkraut should have added: a political and civilizational catastrophe.

        Later, at the radio Finkielkraut added: “Anti-racist vigilance became a gag rule…. For a long time, racism in France had only a white face and his victims were Arabs, Blacks and Romas”. In other words, it is forbidden today in France to say that anti-Semitism comes essentially from the (not all, but a big part of) Muslim population. “Anti-racist organizations are in denial of ‘Muslim racism’. And LICRA today is joining the denial of an anti-racist party”. Finkielkraut, a senior member of LICRA, sent his resignation to the organization’s board.

      • hawk ???????????????? on February 4, 2017 at 11:55 pm

        Polls on anti Jewish attitudes in Arab countries (and they have no Jews there) range from 70% to 99%. Were those polls in the author of the book I found on Googlebook’s head too? Your South Korea is the most antisemitic non Christian non Islamic country, which makes no sense, whatsoever. But you accuse me, of having things in my head, quite funny.

        • JBMoorpark on February 5, 2017 at 2:00 am

          Dude, I’m not from South Korea. Relax.

          • hawk ???????????????? on February 5, 2017 at 1:36 pm

            I thought you were because you responded to an antiJewish comment with a picture of Kim Jung Il as if you were the same bunch, I guess you affinity to him was the hatred of Jews, and attributing to them secret powers over things to justify killing or hating them, rather than the Kim Jung Il joke pic.

            You say “sharia police all in my head” I promise, you are either doing an SS type thing, denying calmly, or you are incredibly unread. I’ll give some examples, besides the million plus killed in Islamic countries, and it happens, and sometimes is reported, daily, imagine if that person being killed were told by you, ‘it is all in your head’ wouldn’t that be a little evil? Robert Redeker, are they all in his head? Theo Van Gogh was it all in his head? The Jews murdered and attacked and stabbed to death all over Europe by Islamists, at the Holocaust Museum, at Jewish ceremonies, from rabbis to non-Jewish friends to little girls, to whole families, all reported usually in one to two places at most usually on a back page, daily I pay attention Jews are violently attacked daily in Europe. The Texas draw Mohamed contest, had an Islamist serial killer go there and try to shoot as many people as he could, was that in their head? The OIC attempts at the UN to make it illegal to criticise Islam, and the global secret police they want to create to watch those who do, you are a prime fascist recruit, either that or for Communism they call Marxism a form of fascism, those were never proposed by the Arab League and OIC at the UN right? Charlie Hebdo, all in their heads, they are still alive, right? The giant protests in Pakistan every month against cartoons of Mohamed, or any word against this prophet who told them to kill all Jews and Christians, and kill all unbelievers, including 40 million Hindus total . I can of course, as you may guess go on. Did I type any lies, I’m asking politely? You say it’s in my head, but that seems to be both in my head, and real too, no?

            OK last response to you.

          • JBMoorpark on February 5, 2017 at 3:02 pm

            You must have confused me with someone else. I can assure you that I didn’t post a picture of Kim Jung Il.

            I was merely referring to your comment that your statements would be deleted here because of the Sharia police. There are no Sharia police on Disqus, as far as I can tell. You appear to have taken it another way.

  20. Steve Fogg on January 5, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    Great post Carey, Totally agree about church online. I started our online campus last August.

    I think it is well on the way to becoming our largest ‘location’. The Christmas Eve/Day attendance online outdid our by 5 to 1. (Go God!)

    We are using a digital strategy I developed to reach out to our local and international community.

    For any naysayers who think it isn’t ‘the right way’ I’d just say, think about every housebound person who is thinking about attending a church.

    I had a call from an older man when we started who suffered from severe arthritis and he told me that our online campus was now going to be his church, which he hadn’t been able to attend for many years.

    I have so many other stories from different groups of people already that I can share that just shout that is a good tool to provide real option for so many.

    Again, online is just a tool to reach people. Just like TV is and every other channel, including live. The cliche is true – the methods may change, but the message is the same.


    I could go on… and on… 🙂

    See you soon!

  21. Linkathon! | PhoenixPreacher on January 5, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    […] Five disruptive church trends… […]

  22. Sammy Millar on January 4, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Hey there. Really good article. I followed the link to the preach better seminar, and the first thing I notices was that all the speakers are male? Is there a reason for this?
    Thanks heaps.

    • Richard Jones on January 11, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      I don’t mean this as a criticism, because I find great value in Carey’s blog and podcast and I believe he loves God and loves people and has a real heart to help the church of Jesus Christ, but the church tradition that Carey (or should I say most of his blog/podcast audience) comes from has historically believed that men should preach. Among evangelicals, this is an extremely common position. As a United Methodist, it is not my position, but I believe we can all learn from each other.

      • Sarah Cochran on May 31, 2016 at 8:35 pm

        It is difficult to try to seriously learn from someone who seriously believes that they cannot learn from me. Simply because I am a woman. How can I believe what they say if I do not believe that one thing that HE believes?

  23. Steve Nelson on January 4, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Great insights to share with my team and network of peers! Thanks!

  24. Alex on January 4, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Great post Carey,
    Your title threw me off at first – then I was entangled in the truthful web of your presentation. Yep, I was an engaged reader 🙂

    While I enjoy technology and some online ministry, I have always felt that some new technology and social media have been the detriment to the influence of a local church. Thought we surely can take advantage of it, there will always be a crowd that will stay behind, disengaged, or may not feel like they are part of the “in” crowd who is in the up and up with all that is happening around the world, even locally through social media.

    Having said that, I’ve always believed that (and this is old school – yet always relevant) that the biggest disruptive church trend for the church has been preaching, teaching, interpreting and trying to live a Kingdom book, with a democratic mindset. Thus the need for additional fluff and the disinterest of others especially those of the household of faith.

    The kingdom of God works every time – religion doesn’t. People want and need a faith that changes, influences and moves forward with power – not listen to somebody give an opinion or their views. No wonder more lighting has been a driving power, rather than the raw power of the transforming kingdom of God.

    BTW, I will use this blog post to created a discussion in my Wed night class. Thanks again for a great post!

  25. Bud Brown on January 4, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Additional trends I anticipate in 2016, for which I have been trying to prepare those whom I have been coaching:
    1. Accelerating closure of churches that would be museums rather than missions.
    The number of churches that have bled off resources to the point that they have reached the “event horizon” (which, once passed, survival is no longer possible) continues to grow. Many organizations have simply given up on church renewal and now put all their eggs in the church planting / satellite basket.
    2. Resurgent interest in doctrinal preaching and teaching (related to your #5)
    Contrary to the currently popular notion that Millennials and “Nones” are indifferent to religion, they are intensely interested in churches (and preachers) that address the core questions they struggle with on a daily basis. Humans don’t change in fundamental ways, even when the culture around them does: they are still driven by angst and the need for meaning in life. Pastors and churches who go deep with the ancient message couched in contemporary voice will continue to experience significant ministry growth.
    3. Decentralized theological education will continue to accelerate
    Colleges and seminaries simply cannot provide *most* of the training that students need to lead effectively out on the hostile mission frontier which American culture has become. This is not to devalue seminary education because it equips preachers and teachers with much needed skills – but they can only train pastors to do about 20% of the job. The rest of the leadership skills – relationship management, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, change leadership & etc – can only be learned on the job, preferably under the tutelage of an experienced mentor.
    4. Further fragmentation of the evangelical consensus around cultural issues
    In retrospect we may ultimately conclude that the “moral majority” was an exercise in folly (the attempt to make people good and to ‘leaven’ a society by force of law). But the divide over social issues such as abortion, immigration, government spending and many others will continue to accelerate.

    • Brian Cunnington on January 4, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Strong resonance with what you have written Bud, particularly #2 and #3. Anyone who thinks that people (young and old) are just interested in having a “moving experience” each week and not at all concerned with the “deeper issues of life” is sadly out-of-touch. What we, as the church, need is the willingness to listen to how those “issues” are currently being expressed and the ability to respectfully join those conversations.

    • Rebecca Nixon on January 27, 2017 at 10:19 am

      I strongly agree with your point 4; around further fragmentation of the evangelical consensus around cultural issues. I’m seeing this in liberal and conservative Christian circles alike.

      The Left is fragmenting into identity politics (the popular expression is that it is “eating itself” as even science is disregarded in favour of “I say I am therefore I am” politics) and as a fairly active member of the feminist community, a major change I have see is how more and more women are labelled “bigots” and threatened with horrific violence for so much as suggesting that women are biologically female, or that female biology even exists. Claims of violence via thoughtcrime are mainstream and very common. Next will be subjective status for age and race. (These are already being rolled out in certain circles.)

      On both sides I am seeing a rise in antisemitism. On the Left, I would expect support of Israel given the way women and gay people are treated there, unfortunately misinformation is rife.

      On the Right I am seeing outright Nazism (a huge irony given how much the Right claims to support Israel), aggressive clawing back of female reproductive rights and even more unwillingness to even engage with members of the Left in understanding WHY, for example, a person might go to PP, or might need to seek asylum in another country, or might rely on social security outside of being some kind of lazy parasite.

      When it comes to legislating morality… I am forever at a loss. I have always believed that inasmuch as you are not explicitly hurting someone else, you ought to be legally free to do as you please. In this way I am allowed my religious freedom, and others are allowed their secular freedom. But some big questions arise around what is really considered “explicitly hurting” another person. I am now told that misgendering someone is explicitly hurting them. That if I support sexual health clinics I am explicitly hurting unborn babies. Nuance is gone. Care and attention to detail, and most importantly, ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS regarding harm reduction seems to be all but destroyed.

      Where do we go from here?

      Well, I’ll start with prayer, I suppose!

  26. Brian Cunnington on January 4, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Thanks Carey — another great post! I like that you emphasize movement towards engagement. I am concerned that many might see e-church ventures as end-points rather than next-points. Obviously there are many cautions with e-tech including the diminished ability to communicate effectively and engage with others in relationship. Perhaps we need a broader understanding of missional engagement and how the local gathered congregation can encourage and support each other in that engagement — having just written that, I am sure you have already blogged or posted on that very thing. Blessings

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