Started by D. Engebretson, January 15, 2020, 12:18:42 PM
Quote from: Dave Likeness on February 10, 2021, 04:10:11 PMPandemic or no pandemic, if the median age of your parish is 76.....you have problems.The aged church will have a rough time reversing their demographics. It is no secretthat a parish with young families will attract other young families. The aged churchobviously will have more funerals than infant baptisms. The pastor becomes a typeof family chaplain who ministers to the elderly and dying. As each member passesaway, another financial contributor to the parish budget is gone. Bottom Line: The ministry of Word and Sacrament in an aged congregation is a realchallenge. However, Christ has promised that He will be present among us and willnever leave us or forsake us.
Quote from: Charles Austin on February 10, 2021, 04:40:17 PMThe issue is never whether the Lord will forsake us. The issue is the hard, provable, earthy facts of life.In my not so humble opinion, 95 percent of the congregations with fewer than 150 members, worship attendance under 75 (or certainly under 50) not only will not survive, but should not survive. They do this. They become "personal chaplaincies" for the remaining members, often members of families exercising extraordinary influence. They drain the energies of low-paid or first-call pastors or retired pastors who think they are advancing the mission of the Church rather than just keeping some church doors open.They spend down the assets of reserves and endowments solely for the satisfaction of the few remaining members. They let neighbors and the neighborhood see a sorry picture of what a church should be.They never become part of the broader church, either locally or nationally. A contribution to the local food bank, maybe a pittance to synod or district isn't mission or outreach. "But what about the people there?!" I hear you say.Send them off to a nearby church."But what if there isn't a nearby Lutheran church?!" I hear you say.So what? We're not the only expression of Gospel fellowship."Is it so wrong to keep the doors open for those people?"It is, unless you are clear about your longer-term objectives. Make it known that the church is in the "closing" mode. Get people ready. Maybe even set a date. Don't just keep sending them first-call or retired pastors so long as they can afford to underpay them.
Quote from: PrTim15 on February 10, 2021, 07:41:14 PMJust curious Tom is this anecdotal where you are? Is this LCMS observation? Did you have some research to support this assertions?
Quote from: Tom Eckstein on February 10, 2021, 09:32:09 PMQuote from: PrTim15 on February 10, 2021, 07:41:14 PMJust curious Tom is this anecdotal where you are? Is this LCMS observation? Did you have some research to support this assertions?Hi Tim. No, I haven't read any official studies on the point I made in my post. The information from my post comes from fellow pastors (LCMS and other denominations) over the years who informed me that in their congregations it was the older, long term members that supported the congregation financially and stayed when there was conflict or other challenges. A couple pastors shared with me that they had two Services on Sunday - one contemporary and the other traditional. The contemporary Service made of 80% of the Sunday attendance and was attended mostly by younger people whereas the traditional Service made up 20% of the Sunday attendance and was attended by older members. However, the 20% who attended the traditional Service provided over 80% of the offerings for the year. They were concerned what was going to happened to their congregations when the older members died out. Again, this information is from fellow pastors I've met over the years and not from any official study. I'm sure there are exceptions to this.I know in my own congregation we don't have "contemporary Service" per se, but we do offer traditional and "blended" (however you want to define that). However, our two Sundays Services and our Wednesday evening Services are always the same each week. So, each week all the Services are either traditional or "blended" - and so ALL members get exposed to different styles of worship.Even though our membership is more on the older side, we do have some very active and dedicated young families - but our younger families (with a couple exceptions) do not make a lot of money and so are not able to give much financial support to the congregation. A big part of our yearly budget comes from the older, long term members. So I and our leaders are away that in the next few years as our older members die out, this may change the financial situation of our congregation. Even if we continue to gain younger families (and we seem to get a few each year), if they continue to be "low income" (which many of them are) they simply will not be able to give as much as our older members who have more wealth. We thank God for any new members that He gives us, but we've been getting more low income individuals and families lately and so this is changing our finances at the congregation. We currently have two full time staff (I'm the sole pastor and we have a full time deaconess) and a secretary who works 25 hours per week. But unless things change, we will be able to maintain this only a few more years. In any case, we continue to do mission and ministry and trust the Lord and we'll deal with the future as it comes.
Quote from: PrTim15 on February 11, 2021, 08:44:31 AMThat's not been my experience Tom. Maybe the congregation I serve is anomaly. We are multi generational, has some serious ups and a few downs. Also a deliberate plan of helping lambs follow Good Shepherd.