Author Topic: Synod membership declines, giving increases  (Read 2058 times)

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Synod membership declines, giving increases
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2010, 02:38:49 PM »
    I checked the parish stats of a few places known to be led by "traditionalist" pastors and saw no great growth, and sometimes significant decline in membership and baptisms. Ditto for a few congregations known to be headed by "revisionist" pastors, although some of those congregations (not a scientific sample, just a few quick looks)  are experiencing a growth in giving.
    We can never be sure what "story" the numbers tell, but...

I caught the title of this topic just a couple of hours after looking at Zion's stats at ELCA.org, thinking, "That describes Zion."  

Compare the stats from the year I arrived (1992) to current: baptized membership down 69.5%, attendance down 64.2%, giving up 115%.  For 2010 attendance is actually up 7% (from 43 to 46).  Average age of our 54 "regular worshipers" right now -- 73.5 years, with the median being 78.

Six of us are serving on the current set of Via de Cristo weekend and the women's team held their team preparation meetings here.  A few of the women who were asked to serve declined because their husbands didn't want them coming into our neighborhood.  These might help point one to an alternate perspective on our "decline" and "effectiveness" as a congregation.

Ultreya, Steven+
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James_Gale

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Re: Synod membership declines, giving increases
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2010, 02:55:36 PM »
The number of Roman Catholics in this country is increasing due to immigration from Spanish-speaking countries. (Hmmm. That is the way the number of Lutherans grew in this country in the 1860s and 1870s).


I read here yesterday that "60 percent of all American Catholics under age 35" are Hispanic.  Not all of these are immigrants.  But many obviously are. 

I encourage you all to read the linked blog post.  It's about the newly named Catholic Archbishop of San Antonio (whose appointment became public today) and indirectly about the increasing role of Hispanics within the leadership of the Catholic Church in the US. 

Michael Slusser

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Re: Synod membership declines, giving increases
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2010, 03:03:05 PM »
Thanks, James--I'd let "Whispers" go for a couple of days and missed this remarkable story.

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Michael
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Kurt Weinelt

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Re: Synod membership declines, giving increases
« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2010, 05:18:11 PM »
Thanks, James--I'd let "Whispers" go for a couple of days and missed this remarkable story.
Peace,
Michael
Archbishop Gomez is greatly missed around here (OK, not by the left wing of the church). He certainly has been my favorite so far. I pray that Archbishop Garcia-Siller is cut out of the same cloth, so to speak. Since San Antonio is a very Roman Catholic city, the Archbishop's importance cannot be overstated here; even in the secular realm, he is recognized as a moral authority.
Kurt
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Karl Hess

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Re: Synod membership declines, giving increases
« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2010, 06:46:15 PM »
Overall it looks like good and faithful work on the part of the LCMS. 

The number that concerns me is the number of LCMS pastor's children who have left the LCMS for another church or who no longer worship at all.   I know of no study that has tracked this number. I do know a significant number of LCMS pastors in different parts of the country for whom this is a reality.

Marie Meyer

The loss of pastor's kids mirrors the loss of youth in the LCMS generally.  I'm 32, and at my parish nearly all of the young people of the congregation who are that age and live around here have dropped out of church entirely, in most cases.  It seems to me that my generation did not have an adequate defense against an aggressive secularism that we encountered in college.  My own opinion is that there is a lot of sentimental piety in the LCMS that is not sturdy enough to bear the weight of real life, let alone the attacks on christianity in college.  We needed to be able to understand better how Christianity stands up against secularism intellectually, and we needed a piety that was self-consciously countercultural and not able to be compartmentalized.  I think kids today absolutely need this.  Like early Christians were aware that they were really not part of the world, we need to teach our children not paranoia, but to know realistically that they are likely to face hostility outside the church in many arenas.

LutherMan

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Study reveals church giving at lowest point since Great Depression
« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2010, 10:49:27 AM »
http://www.mlive.com/living/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2010/10/study_reveals_church_giving_at.html

Study reveals church giving at lowest point since Great Depression
Published: Saturday, October 23, 2010, 6:00 AM


A new book, “The State of Church Giving,” says congregations have waning influence among charitable causes because their focus now seems to be on institutional maintenance rather than spreading the gospel and healing the world.

The 20th annual study by Empty Tomb Inc. reaffirmed a “long-term turning inward of congregations” exhibited by a dwindling share of church donations spent on benevolence and evangelism. It also found a dip in money given to churches during the 2008 recession, even while donations to religious organizations overall increased.
<snip>

Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Synod membership declines, giving increases
« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2010, 11:28:20 AM »
Overall it looks like good and faithful work on the part of the LCMS. 

The number that concerns me is the number of LCMS pastor's children who have left the LCMS for another church or who no longer worship at all.   I know of no study that has tracked this number. I do know a significant number of LCMS pastors in different parts of the country for whom this is a reality.

Marie Meyer

The loss of pastor's kids mirrors the loss of youth in the LCMS generally.  I'm 32, and at my parish nearly all of the young people of the congregation who are that age and live around here have dropped out of church entirely, in most cases.  It seems to me that my generation did not have an adequate defense against an aggressive secularism that we encountered in college.  My own opinion is that there is a lot of sentimental piety in the LCMS that is not sturdy enough to bear the weight of real life, let alone the attacks on christianity in college.  We needed to be able to understand better how Christianity stands up against secularism intellectually, and we needed a piety that was self-consciously countercultural and not able to be compartmentalized.  I think kids today absolutely need this.  Like early Christians were aware that they were really not part of the world, we need to teach our children not paranoia, but to know realistically that they are likely to face hostility outside the church in many arenas.

Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Karl. About a year ago when my family arrived at our new congregation here in Illinois, we visited all the Bible classes on Sunday morning and discovered that most of those attending were older---lots of gray hair. After discussing the matter with a lay Bible class teacher who invited me to teach a class, we settled on a team led class. We then focused on inviting parents of the school aged children at our congregation over this summer/fall.

Since then our class has gone from a handful to about 20 persons per week. Largest class was 24 persons. A total of 40 persons have attended the class in the last few months, new visitors in our Bible Study run from late teens up to folks in their fifties. Thankfully, we have not drawn many people off of the existing Bible classes, which was something I thought might happen.

We've invited everyone who attended---even those who came only once---to a pitch-in dinner at our house tomorrow night. I told the class last week, "We aren't asking for money. We aren't signing you up for anything. We're just getting together to enjoy each other's company and we'll have a closing devotion." I think we have about twenty folks coming so far. We'll see how it turns out.

I would encourage you to use targeted and intentional invitation with the younger ones (the ladies at our church office put together a list for us). Don't make it a guilt trip. Don't ask for money. Focus on spiritual matters, praying about what's important to them. It seems to be working for us so far, thanks be to God.

Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Synod membership declines, giving increases
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2010, 08:38:13 AM »
We had 29 folks at the house last night, including kids. Closing devotion was reading from the Treasury of Daily Prayer for Reformation Day and singing A Mighty Fortress (TLH setting). We followed up with specific prayer requests for healing and for protecting folks with the military in foreign service. Very moving. What a great way to teach folks about the Reformation and just encourage one another.

In Christ,
EE