“Does the future have a church???” is the first question I ask at the beginning of my new book Live Like You Give A Damn! Join the Changemaking Celebration.
In the early 80s I worked as a futures/research consultant attempting to enable leaders of mainline denominations, like Presbyterians, Lutherans and American Baptists, to pay attention to their changing attendance patterns. For the first time, many mainline denominations were experiencing not only a decline in membership and attendance but rapidly aging populations. Even though many leaders acknowledged the declining trends, they assured me that it was nothing to be concerned about.
As we rapidly approach the second decade of the 21st century, mainline denominations are declining at 1% to 4% a year and the rate of change is going to start accelerating. This means that church member’s investments of both time and money in local and global missions are also declining…which undermines their ability to be the compassion of Christ in these increasingly turbulent times.
Today, I believe many of the leaders of evangelical denominations are now the ones in denial about the declining numbers and graying congregations. I suspect many of them will be alarmed when they too see their investment of time and money to be the compassion of Christ to their neighbors locally and globally will also decline.
What are your responses to both declining attendance and graying congregations in both mainline and evangelical denominations? What are your ideas of ways to turn these trends around? What are your ideas to influence those that are still in our churches to invest more of their time and resources to being the compassion of Jesus in times like these? How do you plan to live like you give a damn?
Let us hear from you this week!