“What is Hot and What is Not”
What if you could recognize major trends in world events, business and culture? Corporations frequently plan ahead in order to provide products which might meet the needs of tomorrow. Experienced automobile drivers constantly scan the road ahead anticipating potential hazards. Championship caliber chess players plan at least five to six moves in advance.
Proverbs says: “My child, don’t lose sight of good planning and insight. Hang on to them. For they fill you with life and bring you honor and respect. They keep you safe on your way and keep your feet from stumbling.” (3:21-23) Good planning is important. So, I conducted my own strategic planning session and came up with ten possible life-changing trends. I pray you find this stimulating and add trends of your own. The first trend borrows from a USA today headline:
- Oprah is hot and Brittany is not. Oprah emphasizes giving as a major theme for her television show. Increased ratings and the continued popularity of another show “Extreme Home Makeover” illustrates a general trend toward serving others and away from self indulgence. But before I carry this concept too far: “Desperate Housewives” is also a hit.
- Google is hot and Microsoft is not. More than a company, Google itself means information at your fingertips. Google transformed the way we utilize the internet as an integral part of our daily lives. The internet itself will become increasingly relevant for business, information, shopping and entertainment and Google will likely lead the way.
- Health care is hot but health insurance is not. As baby boomers increasingly struggle against father time, health related industries continue their rapid growth and will become a dominant part of business and even our way of life. However, insurance companies will continue to earn our wrath as we battle complexities, bureaucracy and bad management.
- Our economic outlook is hot but GM is not. Despite all the cautions issued by economists, I predict this year to be a boom year with record growth. Creativity and leadership from many areas will prevail. Yet, at the same time, major companies such as GM may go bankrupt because of entrenched costs and stodgy management practices.
- Warner is hot but Bush is not. This is about communication not politics. Our former Virginia Governor found a way to lead with a vision that inspired cooperation from both parties. At the same time our President has increasingly become alienated and isolated. This year should display more leadership and cooperation from both political parties.
- Natural disasters continue. From the Tsunami to hurricanes to earthquakes, our world experienced unprecedented tragedy. Scientists predict more of the same. In the past, we responded with record levels of volunteerism and financial aid. Unfortunately, as news coverage decreases so will our level of giving.
- Pandemics and the Chicken Flu Panic. At least once a week we see a new article on the Chicken Flu scare. So far the chicken flu is more threatening to chickens than to humans. Yet, the threat of a worldwide pandemic which could easily kill thousands and even millions remains credible. Experts say, “It’s just a matter of time.”
- Political and military decisions in Iraq. Can we find a way to bring our troops home and still preserve progress made? As a nation weary of war, we must still find the fortitude to debate issues without wavering in our support for the brave men and women who are putting their lives on the line? We must work to correct our tarnished image abroad.
- Terrorism continues worldwide. The likelihood of a major attack increases each day. Rogue nations, North Korea and Iran grow stronger and now exert their influence worldwide. The possibility of a nuclear incident by terrorists increases. During the 1950’s school children practiced nuclear attack drills. Are those fearful days returning?
- Spirituality is hot but churches are not. There is an increasing desire for knowledge about God, the afterlife and almost anything spiritual. Movies, books, music and television increasingly recognize and seek to fulfill spiritual needs. Yet while seeking spirituality people are also increasingly rejecting the typical church as providing answers.
Now what? New trends present unique opportunities for followers of God attempting to offer ministry in the midst of those affected by change. Will you seize the opportunity? As the New Year unfolds how will you choose to make a difference in our ever-changing world? Let me put it another way: “What if you had the opportunity to do something about the future and missed it?”