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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Church Growth & Death

As seen linked at VirtueOnline: Frank Lockwood, BibleBeltBlogger reports the Assemblies of God eclipses Episcopal Church. Of particular note, the AG has a higher attendance at their weekday services than the Episcopal Church has on Sunday mornings. The decline of attenance in Episcopal services is stunning and sad. Lockwood also notes that Episcopal attendance has dropped by 10 percent per year since 2003's ignominious General Convention. That's averaging roughly 1000 adherents per week -- LOST.

I suppose you could feel good if you are a AG leader. I'm not AG and I'm excited for them. However, evangelicals and the AG need to watch how far, how fast the Episcopal Church has fallen and be reminded that could easily be them in 2050 if not sooner. I'm sure many are thinking that will never happen. Well, let me be the Nouriel Roubini of the church attendance world and suggest it's substantially more possible and likely than you think.

My experiences over the past several years have led me into partnerships working across the denominational landscapes. I can't help but observe the widespread lack of urgency in the church over the widespread decline in church attendance.

I watched the Ben Stein movie, Expelled, for the first time this week (though I slept through a lot of it). I'm a little slow. Obviously the big statement of the movie is not his promotion of Intelligent Design theory, rather it's his assertion that the academic community has lost it's rigorous pursuit of science and become a political party that can't ask certain questions that might interfere with their beloved presuppositions. I worry the church world has been that way for too long.

Church attendances stats should be leading us to the point of urgently re-evaluating everything we hold dear -- save the gospel of Jesus Christ -- to identify why it is that fewer and fewer people attend church and swiftly make wholesale changes accordingly.

What if the Episcopal decline is just the leading edge of North American Christendom as a whole?

Wow. Aren't I just full of happiness today?

Comments on "Church Growth & Death"


Blogger Jason Condon said ... (2:15 PM, July 23, 2009) : 

one might even say the stats should be leading us to the point of urgently re-evaluating whether we actually hold dear the gospel of Jesus Christ


Blogger theultrarev said ... (2:27 PM, July 23, 2009) : 

Oh, now there's a provocative statement. Some would suggest that the Episcopal Church is in the mess it's in precisely because they failed to do that.

[sarcasm]But evangelicals? Surely you jest!? We certainly do. Why do you think we've been blessed with so much? [/sarcasm]

Of course there is another related scary question: what version of the gospel do we hold dear? Does it have to do with repentance and dying to self, or is it the one that gives us a better life?

Regardless, I see very little urgency period.


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