Searching the Internet using the term “future of associations” yields approximately 11,000 entries of which a large number are dire predictions warning that member-supported associations are nearing the end of their existence. Other entries forecast the end of associations unless their leaders institute drastic changes, while some stipulate that the purpose of associations will live on in future, even if associations as they exist now do not. A minority of entries tout the near future as a time of opportunity for associations to recruit the next generation of leaders and thereby thrive for years to come.
The overarching question of this study is, “Are the dire predictions correct?” Should associations be present in the future, what will be their purpose? How will they operate? What services will they provide? Associations were once vibrant places of collaboration, and a road may exist taking associations to a new place of relevancy for generations to come. The purpose of this study is to survey the issues, factors, drivers, and trends determining the future of Southern Baptist associations in the U.S. and offer some insight about how to intentionally shape future associations into relevant, thriving, and vision-casting entities.
The study is provided here in its entirety, and is also available for free download. The posts of this blog are designed to be read in the exact order they can be found in the book, meaning that the introduction of the book is the most recent post on the “chapters” page.