Wildcards are events that have a low probability but a very high impact. Wildcards differ from traditional leading indicators in two substantial ways: they need not be events or variables, and they most often signal a change in conditions requiring a new set of scenarios whereas leading indicators signal the increased likelihood of a particular scenario. While wildcards may strain the limits of plausibility in some scenarios, they would nonetheless be significant “game-changing” events should they occur. Some of these events are already happening in limited contexts, but if the ideas were to become more mainstream, they would increase the likelihood of certain future possibilities.

Wildcards to be watching for:

  • Associations merging to either become regional associations or quasi-state conventions.
  • Churches affiliating with associations outside of their immediate geographic context (Day, 2009)
  • Current networks becoming formal denominations
  • Baptist associations choosing not to partner with any state conventions
  • Baptist associations choosing not to partner with the SBC
  • CP funds channeled directly to associations
  • State conventions downsizing into regional bodies (Day, 2009)
  • Merging state conventions and local associations to reduce redundancy
  • Associations delegating successful programs/initiatives to local churches
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