Outlook for 2020: A Delphi

Abstract: In the fall of 2011 I conducted a Real-time Delphi survey with members of Empowered21, entitled: “Outlook 2020: The future of Spirit-empowered Christianity.”

The survey consisted of 13 projections for the year 2020, ranging from positive statements, such as “the church will experience a fresh, historic outpouring of the Holy Spirit,” to negative ones, such as “there will be an increase of public moral failures among Spirit-empowered leaders.” Of the 132 members invited, 29 percent completed the survey, or 38 participants. Participants reached a consensus on 8 of 13 projections. The results show that Empowered21 leaders have high expectations for 2020-that the church would experience a historic outpouring of the Holy Spirit, sustained by new leadership. Yet, this would be accompanied by an increasing divide between how emerging and established generations express their Spirit-empowered faith.

Gary, J. E. (2012, Fall). Outlook for 2020: Results from a real-time Delphi survey of global Pentecostal leaders. Pneuma, 34(3), 383-414.

1. Introduction
1.1. Commissioned by Empowered21
1.2. A Real-time Delphi Study
1.3. High Expectations for 2020
2. Literature Review
2.1. Foresight through Faith
2.2. Future Landscapes
2.3. Delphi Method
2.4. Research Questions
3. Methodology
3.1. Development of Projections
3.2. Selection of Experts
3.3. Procedure for Respondents
4. Results
4.1. Evaluation of Projections
4.2. Results of Delphi Survey
4.3. Strategic Identity
4.4. Strategic Environment
5. Conclusion
5.1. Limitations of the Present Study
5.2. Suggestions for Future Research

Table 1
List of 13 projections that were debated by experts in this Delphi study.
1. By 2020, the church will experience a fresh, historic outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
2. By 2020, the practice of speaking in tongues will increase in Spirit-empowered churches.
3. By 2020, there will be an increasing divide between how young people and adults express their Spirit-empowered faith.
4. By 2020, there will be an increase of public moral failures among Spirit-empowered leaders.
5. By 2020, there will be an increase in leadership development within Spirit-empowered churches.
6. By 2020, the Spirit-empowered movement will increasingly be known for meeting human needs in the community.
7. By 2020, Spirit-empowered churches will increasingly turn to direct forms of political action.
8. By 2020, there will be an increase in women as senior pastors of Spirit-empowered churches.
9. By 2020, the emphasis on End-Time events will increase among Spirit-empowered churches.
10. By 2020, the practice of divine healing will increase among Spirit-empowered churches.
11. By 2020, Pentecostals will be more open to work with newer expressions of Spirit-empowered ministry.
12. By 2020, Spirit-empowered leaders will form churches that can meet both in digital and in face-to-face settings.
13. By 2020, there will be an increase in the wealth gap between older/established generations and younger/starter generations within Spirit-empowered churches.

1. http://www.weforum.org/issues/industry-scenarios
2. Jay E. Gary, “Toward a New Macrohistory: An Extension to Sardar’s ‘Postnormal Times’,” Futures 43, no. 1 (February 2011): 48-51.
3. T. Irene Sanders, Strategic Thinking and the New Science: Planning in the Midst of Chaos, Complexity, and Change (New York: Free Press, 1998) 111.
4. See Amos Yong, The Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh: Pentecostalism and the Possibility of Global Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005), 10.
5. See Allan Anderson et al., Studying Global Pentecostalism: Theories and Methods (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010).
6. See: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Spirit and Power: A 10-Country Survey of Pentecostals (Washington, DC, October 5, 2006), retrieved from http://pewforum.org/Christian/Evangelical-Protestant-Churches/Spirit-and-Power-A-10-Country-Survey-of-Pentecostals(5).aspx ; Margaret M. Poloma, “Pentecostal Prayer Within the Assemblies of God: An Empirical Study,” Pneuma 31, no. 1 (2009): 47-65.
7. This study was underwritten by a Regent University faculty grant, 2011-2012.
8. Empowered21 co-chairs are Jack Hayford and Billy Wilson; http://www.empowered21.com
9. See Todd M. Johnson, “The Global Demographics of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal,” Social Science and Modern Society 46, no. 6 (November – December 2009): 479-83; and Todd M. Johnson, “The Global Demographics of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal” in Spirit and Power: The Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism edited by Donald E. Miller, Kimon H. Sergeant, and Richard Flory (Oxford University Press), forthcoming.
10. E21 uses the phrase “Spirit-empowered Christianity” to refer to the global Pentecostal/Charismatic movement. Their aim is to help a new generation connect with the power of the Holy Spirit. See Vinson Synan, Spirit-empowered Christianity in the Twenty-First Century (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2011), viii.
11. Provided by the Center for Futures Studies and Knowledge Management (CEFU), EBS Business School, Wiesbaden, Germany, http://www.ebs.edu/smi/futurestudies0.html?&L=1
12. Gene Rowe and George Wright, “The Delphi Technique as a Forecasting Tool: Issues and Analysis,” International Journal of Forecasting 15, no. 4 (October – December 1999): 353-75.
13. See Andrew Perriman, Future of the People of God: Reading Romans Before and After Western Christendom (Eugene: Cascade, 2010); David Edward Aune, Prophecy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1983). Historians place biblical revelation as one of five chronological layers of modern futures studies: divination, revelation, progressivism, historicism and social science. See W. Warren Wagar, The Next Three Futures: Paradigms of Things to Come (New York: Praeger, 1991), 17-20.
14. See Jay Gary, “The Future According to Jesus: A Galilean Model of Foresight,” Futures 40, no. 7 (September 2008): 630-42; and Thomas D. Hollinger, “Revelation, Foresight, and Fortitude: How Awareness of the Future Affected the Early Church and How Their Past Might Influence Our Future,” Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership 3, no. 2 (Summer 2011): 48-59, http://www.regent.edu/acad/global/publications/jbpl/.
15. Richard A. Slaughter, “Futures Studies as an Intellectual and Applied Discipline,” American Behavioral Scientist 42, no. 3 (November – December 1998): 372-86.
16. Chun Wei Choo and Nick Bontis, “Environmental Scanning as Information Seeking and Organizational Learning,” Information Research 7, no. 1 (October 2001)
17. See Jay E. Gary, Do You Hear Voices in Your Head? April 2007. Retrieved from .
18. See Robert J. Sternberg, “A Balance Theory of Wisdom,” Review of General Psychology 2, no. 4 (December 1998): 347-65.
19. For original and metaphoric approaches to time dynamics of the near future, in keeping with the Pentecostal/Charismatic renewal, consider two non-apocalyptic samples; Chuck D. Pierce, Interpreting the Times (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2008); or Gordon Gray, Issachar Thinking: Strategy Reframed for 21st Century. 2009, Kingdom Enterprises .
20. For a bibliometric based review of futuristics, see David B. Barrett and Todd M. Johnson, “Futurescan: Futuristics in the Analysis of Christianity and Religion, AD 2001-AD 2200,” in World Christian Trends, AD 30-AD 2200: Interpreting the Annual Christian Megacensus, ed. David B. Barrett et al. (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2001), 839-54. An exemplary book from this field is by theologian, Ted Peters, Futures, Human and Divine (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1978).
21. See Regent’s master and applied doctoral programs on strategic foresight at http://www.regent.edu/global; also Jay E. Gary, “Creating the Future of Faith: Foresighted Pastors and Organic Theologians,” Dialog: A Journal of Theology 43, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 36-40.
22. Edward Cornish, Futuring: The Exploration of the Future (Bethesda, MD: World Future Society, 2004) and Wendell Bell, “The Purposes of Futures Studies,” Futurist 31, no. 6 (Nov/Dec 1997): 42-45;
1Richard A. Slaughter, Futures Beyond Dystopia: Creating Social Foresight (New York: RoutledgeFalmer, 2004), 146-147.
23. Over the past 40 years, a handful of US denominations or networks have conducted formal futures studies, including the Assemblies of God, Episcopal Church, Roman Catholics, Southern Baptist, or World Vision International.
24. For exceptions, see John Roberto, Faith Formation 2020: Designing the Future of Faith Formation (Naugatuck, CT: LifelongFaith Associates, 2010), cf ; also Steve Brimmer, ChurchFutures.com: The Home of Futurecasting. 2010 .
25. George Barna, Futurecast: What Today’s Trends Mean for Tomorrow’s World (Carol Stream, IL: BarnaBooks, 2011).
26. Todd M. Johnson and D. B. Barrett, “Quantifying Alternate Futures of Religion and Religions,” Futures 36, no. 9 (November 2004): 947-60; cf, World Christian Database, 2011, Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Online .
27. Elliott Jaques, Charlotte Bygrave, and Nancy Lee, “Aligning Multiple Time Horizons and Multiple Functions in Strategic Planning and Budgeting,” International Journal of Organizational Analysis 9, no. 3 (2001).
28. Hamel, Gary, and C. K. Prahalad, ‘Competing for the Future,’ Harvard Business Review 72, no. 4 (July-August 1994), 122-28; Hugh Courtney, Jane Kirkland, and Patrick Viguerie, “Strategy Under Uncertainty,” Harvard Business Review 75, no. 6 (Nov-Dec 1997): 66-79; Michel Godet, Philippe Durance, and Adam Gerber, Strategic Foresight: For Corporate and Regional Development, trans. Adam Gerber (France: Dunod, UNESCO, and Fondation Prospective et Innovation, 2011) http://en.laprospective.fr/books/10-strategic-foresight-for-corporate-and-regional-development.html
29. O’Hara-Devereaux does this through a series of “Navigating the Badlands” maps. Mary O’Hara-Devereaux, Navigating the Badlands: Thriving in the Decade of Radical Transformation (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004). Also see map and annotation at http://www.communityclinics.org/content/general/detail/607
30. Hardin Tibbs, “Making the Future Visible: Psychology, Scenarios, and Strategy” (Canberra, Australia: Australian Public Service Futures Group, September 1999) 3. Retrieved from http://www.hardintibbs.com/index.php/writing/futures-and-strategy/
31. Ted Peters, “The Terror of Time,” Dialog: A Journal of Theology 39, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 56-66.
32. Norman Dalkey and Olaf Helmer, “An Experimental Application of the Delphi Method to the Use of Experts,” Management Science 9, no. 3 (April 1963): 458-67.
33. Harold A. Linstone and Murray Turoff, The Delphi Method: Techniques and Applications (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1975), 3.
34. Theodore Gordon and Adam Pease, “RT Delphi: An Efficient, ‘Round-Less’ Almost Real Time Delphi Method,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change 73, no. 4 (May 2006): 321-33.
35. Tobias Gnatzy et al., “Validating an Innovative Real-Time Delphi Approach: A Methodological Comparison Between Real-Time and Conventional Delphi Studies,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change 78, no. 9 (November 2011): 1681-94.
36 Example of a Delphi among Jewish teenagers, see: David Passig, “Imen-Delphi: A Delphi Variant Procedure for Emergence,” Human Organization: Journal of the Society for Applied Anthropology 56, no. 1 (Spring 1997): 53-63.
36. Gnatsky, et al. Ibid.
37. ICFSR is housed at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary of the Church of God in Cleveland, TN and is the legal entity behind Empowered21. For more on ICFSR see http://icfsr.org.
38. Billy Wilson, “Empowered21Global Council,” notebook (Orlando, FL, January 10-12, 2012), 23.
39. Tibbs, Ibid. 4.
40. Heiko von der Gracht, Center for Futures Studies (CEFU), EBS Business School, “A Novel Real-Time Delphi Approach in Action: Research & Actions” (Vancouver, BC: World Future Society, 10 July 2011).
41. By May of 2011, E21 adopted a planning horizon out to 2020. In January of 2012 they complemented this with a visionary horizon of 2033-the date of the 2,000th anniversary of Pentecost. For more on jubilee dynamics, see Jay E. Gary, The Star of 2000: Our Journey Toward Hope (Colorado Springs, CO: Bimillennial, 1994).
42. Rick Parente and Janet Anderson-Parente, “Delphi Inquiry Systems,” in Judgmental Forecasting, ed. George Wright and Peter Ayton (New York: J. Wiley, 1987), 129-56.
43. Gnatsky, et al. Ibid.
44. For visuals of the first and second round screens for each projection, plus the consensus portal, see Gnatsky, et al. Ibid, Figure 1 & 2; 1683-1685.
45. Gnatsky, et al. Ibid.
46. Gnatsky, et al. Ibid. 1685, table 1.
47. For a visual of the consensus portal, see Gnatsky, et al. Ibid. 1685, figure 3.
48. Gnatsky, et al. Ibid.
49. Gnatsky, et al. Ibid.
50. Tibbs, Ibid. 4.
51. Gnatsky, et al. Ibid.
52. Tibbs, Ibid. 4.
53. C. Rick Snyder et al., “Hope Theory: Rainbows in the Mind,” Psychological Inquiry 13, no. 4 (2002): 249-75.
54. This twin focus on both revival from above linked to renewal from below of older orders has deep roots in how Renewalist practitioners and scholars frame the Holy Spirit and their hopes for the future. See Peter Hocken, “Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement as Revival and Renewal,” Pneuma 3, no. 1 (Spring 1981): 31-47.
55. Donald E. Miller and Tetsunao Yamamori, Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007).
56. This vision for meeting human need is not yet a clear trumpet, but has the shape of a scenario that could be called “God in an age of scarcity,” where Renewalists become a new liberating force from the narrow concept of economic man, and lead society toward economic transformation through small is beautiful stewardship. For more, see Jeremy Rifkin and Ted Howard, The Emerging Order: God in the Age of Scarcity (New York: Putnam, 1979).
57. See The Globalization of Pentecostalism: A Religion Made to Travel, ed. Murray W. Dempster, Byron D. Klaus and Douglas Petersen (Irvine, CA: Regnum, 1999), and Global Pentecostalism: Encounters with Other Religious Traditions, ed. David Westerlund (New York: I. B. Tauris, 2009);
58. See Yong, Ibid, 2005 and Wolfgang Vondey, Beyond Pentecostalism: The Crisis of Global Christianity and the Renewal of the Theological Agenda (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2010).
57. Johnson, forthcoming, Ibid.
58. Gnatsky, et al. Ibid.
59.See, John L. Petersen, Out of the Blue: How to Anticipate Big Future Surprises, 2d ed. (Lanham, MD: Madison, 1999).
60. Gnatsky, et al. Ibid. 49-51.
61. The author wishes to thank the reviewers and editors of Pneuma for their constructive critique.

Dr. Jay Gary is president of PeakFutures.com, a foresight consulting group. Over the past twenty years he has helped non-profits, foundations, civic leaders, and strategic alliances to create more promise filled futures. He also teaches strategic foresight, innovation and leadership at the graduate level and through professional development courses.

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