An essential part of our work here at Q involves understanding the unique times we’re living in and equipping leaders to live out a faithful Christian witness in the midst of that, wherever they’ve been called.
That’s why—as one year comes to a close and we look toward the beginning of another— we’ve compiled our list of top ten ideas that matter. Check out the five ideas that are critical for leaders to engage in 2020 and review five big ideas we shared in 2019.
Five Big Ideas That Will Shape 2020
As we look toward 2020, these five important themes are critical for thoughtful Christians wanting to faithfully engage our cultural moment.
1. Navigating Censorship Concerns
In recent years, privacy and free speech concerns have taken center-stage on college campuses, online and throughout our society. As we’ve grown increasingly aware of privacy abuses by big tech companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and others and watched certain ideas and people be shut down based on unpopular beliefs or opinions that go against status quo, the coming year the stakes are higher. In 2020, we expect the conversation to shift from mere awareness of these issues to actionable steps, as more leaders recognize the cost of limiting the free sharing of ideas and seek to protect the future free speech, the consequences of big data targeting and pursue methods to protect individual privacy in a more digital revolution.
2. Hope for Generation Z’s Relationship with Faith
Much has already been written about the emergence of Generation Z and the specific characteristics that make this generation unique, including widespread decreased religiosity. But instead of merely lamenting these trends, in 2020 we want to ask a new, more restorative and hopeful question. How will God move in this generation, and what will it look like for today’s youth to become resilient disciples of Jesus for generations to come?
3. How Thoughtful Christians Ought to Engage Politics
In an expected tumultuous presidential election year, the world will be watching to see how Christians engage the political arena. Many eyes will be on evangelicals and their approach to supporting or lambasting President Trump as the election draws near. With differing perspectives on America’s future, how can Christians transcend partisan politics and yet participate as citizens who cast a vote? What is the proper weight to place on character or policy, between cultural disintegration and necessary renewal? These are a few of many political engagement questions Christian leaders must consider in the year ahead.
4. Reclaiming What It Means to be Neighbors
In an increasingly isolated and individualistic age, neighboring matters more than ever. At a time when few of us know our neighbors and hospitality seems like a lost art, how can we restore and reimagine what it means to be a good neighbor, deeply rooted in community and place? As modern societies tend towards polarization, what is the role of the Church in overcoming the natural tendencies to tribalize and demonize?
5. Recognizing Our True Identity
The question of identity is up for grabs and continues to create confusion, especially in younger generations. What does it mean to be human? Where does our worth come from? What is distinctly human and should remain, and what is up for discussion as artificial intelligence promises a post-human future? For Christian leaders, the year ahead will offer a unique opportunity for us to point to the inherent worth of all human beings, helping our friends, neighbors and public square understand and appreciate God’s good design for identities that lead to human flourishing.
Five Big Ideas from 2019
This past year was one marked by many profound ideas, but as our team reflects on the year, these are five key themes that stand out.
1. The Inherent Worth and Dignity of All People
Austin & Christi Davenport called us to an important truth at our annual Q Conference in April. The married couple, both of whom were born with Down syndrome, shared their story, helping us better understand the essence of marriage and love. They also reminded us of the inherent worth and human dignity of all people—a uniquely Christian idea that is so important in today’s culture—at a time when so many human beings are so easily devalued and commodified.
2. Faith, Sexuality & Gender
In a culture filled with questions about sexuality and gender, a thoughtful panel led by Dr. Preston Sprinkle demonstrated how Christ-followers with different inclinations can engage this important conversation with both theological faithfulness and courageous love. In the year ahead, it will be crucial to remember that both are possible as Christians and non-Christians alike wrestle with even more questions centered around gender and sexuality and the role it should play in their future.
3. Deaths of Despair and Our Loneliness Epidemic
This year, many in our culture became aware of the effects of loneliness and the growing trend of “deaths of despair,” which includes deaths from suicide, alcohol and drug abuse. In a challenging Q Talk, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse helped us better understand the causes behind this alarming trend and urged us to imagine how we might confront it in the year ahead. Thousands gathered in dining rooms over a meal to discuss how they can make a difference through Q Dinners.
4. The Value of Trust in Our Society
In an age marked by distrust and divisionism, Malcolm Gladwell called us to quite the opposite ideal in his new book, Talking to Strangers, and his talk at this year’s Q Commons. Malcolm argues that human beings have developed to be trusting beings—and that this implicit trust is a good thing. In the year ahead, this idea will shape how we view and relate to others, particularly those whom we don’t know and might be the most skeptical toward.
5. The Future of Unity and Racial Reconciliation
It’s hard to ignore the fact that race remains a key issue in our society. As leaders both inside and outside of the church seek unity, legendary civil rights activist Dr. John Perkins shared with us his insights after a lifetime spent working on this issue. He called us to a more holistic approach, rooted in a Christian worldview, that will lead us to a unified, multicultural future.
We’ll be addressing each of these important topics—and a host of other issues—at this year’s Q Conference, held in Nashville, TN, this April 22-24. Make a significant investment in your leadership and reserve your tickets now to be equipped to engage the most critical issues for the year ahead.