Author Topic: Study: Attendance hemorrhaging at small and midsize US congregations  (Read 2269 times)

peter_speckhard

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Re: Study: Attendance hemorrhaging at small and midsize US congregations
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2021, 08:25:23 PM »
Almost all of my friends, both life-long and recently acquired, have left the church. Rightly or wrongly their distaste for it is fed by the Franklin Grahams, Jerry Falwells, the Crouches, the Bakkers, the Copelands (with Kenneth's multi-million dollar plane), the Osteens, ad nauseam, preaching their prescriptions on how you may live. Many of the aforementioned loudly proclaim which side of the fence you must be politically or you are not on God's side. I have one foot in the door and the other out. As a Gay man, there is no place for me in the congregation that I attend (LCMS) which is only to take my mother who is 98 and still wants to go when she is able. It is virulently anti-Gay which makes me very sad if not disgusted.
Which makes my point perfectly. Getting your friends back into the church will be a completely different task than getting 1st Century people into the church.

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Re: Study: Attendance hemorrhaging at small and midsize US congregations
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2021, 08:31:00 PM »
The young people I have confirmed in recent years will not stay in a church that does not engage modern life, recognize that their gay and lesbian and transgendered friends have faith and want to exercise it. They will have little to do with a church that requires a "creationist" or quasi-fundamentalist view of the origins of life, and they are sexually active and living together prior to marriage.
So what are we to do with these people whom we have brought up, confirmed and who still have the desire to exercise their faith, perhaps not precisely in the ways we taught them?
And those who may seek and find a faith in young adult hood will not have years of Sunday School or worship or Christmas/Easter festivities shaping their understanding of Church.
I'm sorry, Roger Martim, for what you are experiencing.
Some of the most energetic, exciting, hopeful and Gospel-oriented young pastor/priests I know are gay men and women taking "tradition" and the Gospel seriously, but adapting to new understandings and ways of being Christian.
And we will not get the disaffected back into the church if we do not take their own self-understandings seriously. If we say they cannot be gay and married or partnered, then...
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired in Minneapolis. My only Thanksgiving cooking chore: providing fresh ground, fair trade, bird friendly coffee.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Study: Attendance hemorrhaging at small and midsize US congregations
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2021, 11:13:29 PM »
Yes, Peter, my opinion is that some small and midsize congregations are holding their own and thriving, among them numerous urban congregations who welcome those whom you say are working against Christianity.
We have told ourselves for generations what a “church“ looks like, how it should be organized, and what it should do. We have been wrong about numerous things, and some of these we have changed.
The model of congregations with 400 or more people, might not completely pass from the scene, but it will no longer be “normal.“
I have seen, in New York City and elsewhere, surviving and thriving congregations. And as noted above, often they are congregations that Peter considers to be working against Christianity.
I have seen in New Jersey and New York City at synodical  and ELCA events, lots of people who are excited about proclaiming the gospel, working for justice, living a Christian life and serving their community.
Future congregations will, I believe, will be cross denominational perhaps Lutheran/Presbyterian, Lutheran/Episcopalian, Methodist/Lutheran.
Same gender marriage is being accepted in our society and large numbers of these churches will accept that as well.
It is possible, although I would not predict it, that congregations living and teaching as if it were 1920 or 1952 will die slow deaths. My concern is that we not completely lose the people, daughters and sons of those congregation, Who will not live and teach as though it was 1920 or 1952.
We can, and must work hard to make sure that what they live and teach contains the essentials of the gospel.
Ah yes, one of the great Lutheran disappointments of the 20th century, the LCMS rather the fading away into obscurity and dissolution as they were supposed to after the brightest and best, the true Lutherans among them walked out, the LCMS stubbornly continued. How dare they!?!


The only hope for any future for the Church as we continue to journey into the 21st Century is to move with the times as society progressed beyond such quaint oppressive social constructs as binary genders heterosexual marriage and the like, so must we. To be relevant to the times we must fit with them as people expect. It must be so satisfying to watch the up to date ELCA growing by leaps and bounds as people flock to your relevance.


Both the LCMS and ELCA are loosing membership, as are the rest of your ecumenical partners. Is your future is to be secured by forming joint congregations with other denominations that are shrinking as fast as you? If we in our backwardness and irrelevance are shrinking about as fast as you are, why should we look to your growth nostrums for inspiration? I see no evidence that your embrace of social revolutions that you hold out as the only hope for a future for the Church serves you any better than our resistance serves us. Moving with the times and not moving with the times seems to have similar results on church growth.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

peter_speckhard

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Re: Study: Attendance hemorrhaging at small and midsize US congregations
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2021, 11:56:56 PM »
Young people catechized by Charles are not expected to stay in churches that aren’t on board with new ideas about sexuality, morality, marriage, and procreation. Stunner. They probably won’t stay in his denomination, either. But if they come to ours we expect to do some re-catechizing.

At the last ELCA Youth Gathering the denomination chose to highlight at the mass event the glories of a pastor’s family helping their little boy become a girl. It got big cheers from the stadium full of teenagers. So it is hardly surprising that the confirmands have not much clue about Biblical sexuality. The ELCA has done all it can to form the young people that way, then they say the church of the future has to be that way because that’s how the young people see it.

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Re: Study: Attendance hemorrhaging at small and midsize US congregations
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2021, 12:13:45 AM »
Pastor Fienen:
Ah yes, one of the great Lutheran disappointments of the 20th century, the LCMS rather the fading away into obscurity and dissolution as they were supposed to after the brightest and best, the true Lutherans among them walked out, the LCMS stubbornly continued. How dare they!?!
Me:
Your problem, not mine. (Psst. You’re playing the victim again.)

Pastor Fienen:
The only hope for any future for the Church as we continue to journey into the 21st Century is to move with the times as society progressed beyond such quaint oppressive social constructs as binary genders heterosexual marriage and the like, so must we.
Me:
Well, maybe not the only hope.

Pastor Fienen:
To be relevant to the times we must fit with them as people expect. It must be so satisfying to watch the up to date ELCA growing by leaps and bounds as people flock to your relevance.
Me:
Who said anything about relevant? You keep injecting that word, I do not. We do not seek relevance. We seek ways for people to be faithful today.

Pastor Fienen:
Both the LCMS and ELCA are loosing membership, as are the rest of your ecumenical partners. Is your future is to be secured by forming joint congregations with other denominations that are shrinking as fast as you?
Me:
Don’t know, but worth a try.

Pastor Fienen:
If we in our backwardness and irrelevance are shrinking about as fast as you are, why should we look to your growth nostrums for inspiration?
Me:
So don’t.

Pastor Fienen:
I see no evidence that your embrace of social revolutions that you hold out as the only hope for a future for the Church serves you any better than our resistance serves us.
Me:
Pay attention. I do not say that these things are “only hope.” That’s your overstatement.

Pastor Fienen:
Moving with the times and not moving with the times seems to have similar results on church growth.
Me:
You just can’t get it right, can you? It’s not a question of moving with the times. And we’re not talking about church growth.
But if we’re going to die, I prefer my way of dying to yours.

P.S. to Peter:
The ELCA intends to form young people the way we believe God is leading us and them. What disgusts me is your refusal to even consider that we are trying to be faithful.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired in Minneapolis. My only Thanksgiving cooking chore: providing fresh ground, fair trade, bird friendly coffee.

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Re: Study: Attendance hemorrhaging at small and midsize US congregations
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2021, 01:00:15 AM »
PS. to Peter:
The ELCA intends to form young people the way we believe God is leading us and them. What disgusts me is your refusal to even consider that we are trying to be faithful.
PS to Charles. So are we.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

peter_speckhard

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Re: Study: Attendance hemorrhaging at small and midsize US congregations
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2021, 01:08:32 AM »
I don’t doubt that anyone of any religion is trying to be faithful. The people leaving the churches are no doubt trying to be faithful to something.

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Re: Study: Attendance hemorrhaging at small and midsize US congregations
« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2021, 09:03:37 AM »
RNS recently reported on a Faith Communities Today survey that discovered what many of us already know: Small and mid-sized congregations, especially within mainline denominations, are in decline.  Significant decline. 

https://religionnews.com/2021/10/14/study-attendance-at-small-and-midsize-us-congregations-is-hemorrhaging/?fbclid=IwAR3yBK2ok4ofO0zuwsp8zsZ0A3KyXgNNbQRgZrIQSee29pP2Q1OnTq1Esjg

No doubt the pandemic has hastened what was already in process albeit at a more gradual pace. In fact, I believe that it is a significant reason for the seemingly sudden decline, although the article does not really note this. They note that half of the country’s congregations just before the lockdown had 65 or fewer people in attendance on any given weekend, a drop from a median attendance level of 137 people in 2000." For people like me, who live in a more sparsely populated rural community, the findings are not encouraging as far as growth prospects: "Nearly half of the country’s congregations are in rural areas (25%) or small towns (22%), while the 2020 census found that only 6% of Americans live in rural areas and 8% in small towns." There's a demographic shift, as they also note: "The country’s changing demographics may be key to rural and small-town decline. Young people have been moving to urban areas; businesses and industries have also left these communities bereft of resources and talent."

I think that overall, to be a bit more spiritual about this, the decline has roots in what Paul wrote about to Timothy (1 Tim 4): "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith..." This corresponds with other studies documenting the rise of the category known as "nones" and the falling away of recent generations compared to the older ones. The study notes that while Christian churches are in decline, "the only groups to boost attendance over the past five years were non-Christian congregations: Muslim, Baha’i and Jewish."

For those in the larger 'mega' churches, however, it might sound more encouraging: "Congregations with 1,500 people in attendance were best able to avoid decline; 71% of those large churches grew over the past five years. That may suggest many people are abandoning midsized congregations for megachurches that have full-time clergy, greater financial and physical resources and a diversity of ages and races among members."  They also leave smaller, more traditional churches to go to these larger ones, in my opinion, because of the greater tendency of its worship to favor a more casual and entertainment-type format. Based on the marketing strategies made popular decades ago, they cater to those looking for a place that more resembles their culture and popular music tastes. But these churches are also quickly becoming indistinguishable from the world outside their doors.  It's only a matter of time before this decline catches up with them as well.

Don (and others), here is what I'm seeing at my urban congregation in the Midwest:

Attendance is down since the pandemic. However, people are participating in worship in a new way: YouTube broadcasts. After Covid restrictions were lifted, church attendance rose to nearer normal levels then dropped again with the Delta wave. However, throughout some folks have formed the habit of watching services from home. I send them a link to the service via email. Many seem to view the service a week behind. (They watch the previous week's service on the next weekend.) When I add in person attendance to YouTube attendance, the rate is not as high as Pre-Covid but it is much closer to that number.

Are congregations continuing to broadcast their services to those not attending in person? It's constant work but I see it serving real purpose here in Ohio.
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Re: Study: Attendance hemorrhaging at small and midsize US congregations
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2021, 09:05:17 AM »
Well, I guess I have to spell it out for you, Peter, or is at least not fall for the secondary dissing of your last remark.
We in the ELCA are trying to follow the gospel and be a faithful part of the Church. We think we are succeeding at some critical things, and we are not doing great in some other things. Just like you in your part of the Church.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired in Minneapolis. My only Thanksgiving cooking chore: providing fresh ground, fair trade, bird friendly coffee.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Study: Attendance hemorrhaging at small and midsize US congregations
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2021, 09:14:26 AM »
Well, I guess I have to spell it out for you, Peter, or is at least not fall for the secondary dissing of your last remark.
We in the ELCA are trying to follow the gospel and be a faithful part of the Church. We think we are succeeding at some critical things, and we are not doing great in some other things. Just like you in your part of the Church.
And again, I never said you didn’t think that. I said you were wrong. You are actively teaching against the teachings of Christianity. You are like the Pharisees who followed a tradition to get out of the 4th Commandment. You preach affirmation instead of repentance and acceptance rather than forgiveness. We forgive a man who repents for cheating on his wife. You point out that the way society views relationships has changed.

D. Engebretson

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Re: Study: Attendance hemorrhaging at small and midsize US congregations
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2021, 09:39:25 AM »
RNS recently reported on a Faith Communities Today survey that discovered what many of us already know: Small and mid-sized congregations, especially within mainline denominations, are in decline.  Significant decline. 

https://religionnews.com/2021/10/14/study-attendance-at-small-and-midsize-us-congregations-is-hemorrhaging/?fbclid=IwAR3yBK2ok4ofO0zuwsp8zsZ0A3KyXgNNbQRgZrIQSee29pP2Q1OnTq1Esjg

No doubt the pandemic has hastened what was already in process albeit at a more gradual pace. In fact, I believe that it is a significant reason for the seemingly sudden decline, although the article does not really note this. They note that half of the country’s congregations just before the lockdown had 65 or fewer people in attendance on any given weekend, a drop from a median attendance level of 137 people in 2000." For people like me, who live in a more sparsely populated rural community, the findings are not encouraging as far as growth prospects: "Nearly half of the country’s congregations are in rural areas (25%) or small towns (22%), while the 2020 census found that only 6% of Americans live in rural areas and 8% in small towns." There's a demographic shift, as they also note: "The country’s changing demographics may be key to rural and small-town decline. Young people have been moving to urban areas; businesses and industries have also left these communities bereft of resources and talent."

I think that overall, to be a bit more spiritual about this, the decline has roots in what Paul wrote about to Timothy (1 Tim 4): "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith..." This corresponds with other studies documenting the rise of the category known as "nones" and the falling away of recent generations compared to the older ones. The study notes that while Christian churches are in decline, "the only groups to boost attendance over the past five years were non-Christian congregations: Muslim, Baha’i and Jewish."

For those in the larger 'mega' churches, however, it might sound more encouraging: "Congregations with 1,500 people in attendance were best able to avoid decline; 71% of those large churches grew over the past five years. That may suggest many people are abandoning midsized congregations for megachurches that have full-time clergy, greater financial and physical resources and a diversity of ages and races among members."  They also leave smaller, more traditional churches to go to these larger ones, in my opinion, because of the greater tendency of its worship to favor a more casual and entertainment-type format. Based on the marketing strategies made popular decades ago, they cater to those looking for a place that more resembles their culture and popular music tastes. But these churches are also quickly becoming indistinguishable from the world outside their doors.  It's only a matter of time before this decline catches up with them as well.

Don (and others), here is what I'm seeing at my urban congregation in the Midwest:

Attendance is down since the pandemic. However, people are participating in worship in a new way: YouTube broadcasts. After Covid restrictions were lifted, church attendance rose to nearer normal levels then dropped again with the Delta wave. However, throughout some folks have formed the habit of watching services from home. I send them a link to the service via email. Many seem to view the service a week behind. (They watch the previous week's service on the next weekend.) When I add in person attendance to YouTube attendance, the rate is not as high as Pre-Covid but it is much closer to that number.

Are congregations continuing to broadcast their services to those not attending in person? It's constant work but I see it serving real purpose here in Ohio.

Although there were some voices in my congregation openly wondering whether we should continue live streaming after in-person worship resumed, I publicly supported doing it. We have even purchased a phone for the church and established an account with AT&T and purchased a cell phone signal booster.  For a rural church without access to dependable internet, we are probably doing as well as those who have it.  But there was concern at the time that people were being conditioned not to come to church.  We were giving them an excuse not to.  Perhaps in a few cases.  But what many of us discovered in live streaming, and we do it through FB, is that it opened a way for some to remain connected to the parish who normally could not.  Examples would include some elderly and infirm, as well as those struggling with mental illness where crowds pose a problem for them socially.  It also opened a door to a wider group of people well outside our parish. And because of the Delta variant and a rise in cases in my county that is considered higher than normal, we have a few who do not feel comfortable being here in person if the majority are not masked. So live streaming continues to give them an option as well for the moment. Now all this has its own challenges, and live streaming, I must stress, is not the ideal. For one thing it does not provide the Sacrament, and fellowship is limited.  But it's one tool for the times.  I live stream a daily devotion on most days of the week, and although the following is not huge, I have a few devoted folks who consistently tune in.  I have worked my way since March of last year through several books of the Bible including the entire gospel of Luke and Genesis.  For some this is their only real 'Bible study' and some might not have come to regular Bible study even when they were coming in-person. 

The dynamic of remote and virtual church broadcasts opens up a new thing for many of our churches.  It will take a long time to analyze and assess what it means long term.  We're too close to it at the moment to really understand the full impact or the downside.  But it must remain the exception, not the rule.  I have sensed since we opened up our doors in May of 2020 that for most there is a genuine desire and hunger for real time, real presence worship.  For a rural church designed originally for an agricultural community that has changed dramatically since it first opened over 130 years ago, we continue to remain a vital and active parish despite all the changes demographically.  I was impressed that when I resumed in-person Bible study on Friday mornings just a handful of weeks ago, I automatically had around 10 and am up to 11 in attendance.  That's good for us.  And one attendee, who recently lost his wife and was not a regular attender, comes consistently each week.

Although the article sounds an alarm and I am taking heed to the changes, we are not vanishing any time soon.  There is a desire for traditional and conservative Lutheran churches even in a world becoming increasingly secular and progressive socially.  Not the majority of folks, by any means, but a sufficient number to continue ministering. 
« Last Edit: October 30, 2021, 09:41:55 AM by D. Engebretson »
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Study: Attendance hemorrhaging at small and midsize US congregations
« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2021, 10:18:56 AM »
Almost all of my friends, both life-long and recently acquired, have left the church. Rightly or wrongly their distaste for it is fed by the Franklin Grahams, Jerry Falwells, the Crouches, the Bakkers, the Copelands (with Kenneth's multi-million dollar plane), the Osteens, ad nauseam, preaching their prescriptions on how you may live. Many of the aforementioned loudly proclaim which side of the fence you must be politically or you are not on God's side. I have one foot in the door and the other out. As a Gay man, there is no place for me in the congregation that I attend (LCMS) which is only to take my mother who is 98 and still wants to go when she is able. It is virulently anti-Gay which makes me very sad if not disgusted.

Roger, God bless you for attending with your mom. That is a wonderful kindness to her and I trust it is also a blessing to you.

As a pastor who drives an old car, I happily live in contrast to the money-focused preachers out there. I can afford a nicer car but the one I have still runs fine and I prefer to take pride in other areas of life. The on-screen persons are, of course, much louder than the humbler servants of God. I pray your friends have a chance to meet local clergy who better represent Christian ministry.
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Re: Study: Attendance hemorrhaging at small and midsize US congregations
« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2021, 10:38:53 AM »
What I don’t understand is why people leave a church because of media personality preachers. Probably most of the ex-churchgoers have never tuned in to any of mega-shows and/or events without already having preconceived notions and treating more like a sociological experiment. More likely, the liberal, enlightened, respectable media uses those media personalities as a template for “the religious right” because the reporters and commentators don’t go to church themselves and so have to think of these tv guys as spokesmen for Christianity, which is a role the tv guys are glad to play up. Leaving the church becomes more of virtue-signaling way of sorting. “I can’t go to First Methodist up the street because I read in the NYT that Joel Osteen is a charlatan,” makes no sense, but thinking that “people like me” have been grown disgusted with Christianity makes leaving church a way for people to identify as “people like me.”

The evangelism task is not to apologize for what the church told them, but to refute the false media narrative which forms the common perceptions that televangelists and their followers are typical. “Look, regardless of what Tammy Baker said on a show neither of us watched but you apparently heard about, those shows aren’t what we’re talking about when we talk about Christianity and the church…”

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Re: Study: Attendance hemorrhaging at small and midsize US congregations
« Reply #28 on: October 30, 2021, 10:54:11 AM »
I wrote:
We in the ELCA are trying to follow the gospel and be a faithful part of the Church. We think we are succeeding at some critical things, and we are not doing great in some other things. Just like you in your part of the Church.

And Peter doubled down:
And again, I never said you didn’t think that. I said you were wrong. You are actively teaching against the teachings of Christianity. You are like the Pharisees who followed a tradition to get out of the 4th Commandment. You preach affirmation instead of repentance and acceptance rather than forgiveness. We forgive a man who repents for cheating on his wife. You point out that the way society views relationships has changed.

So I must respond:
What makes you think we approve of marital infidelity? We do not.
   And once again - for the umpteenth thousand times - we do not make our decisions based on such things as "the way society views relationships." If you keep repeating that after I have said this so many times, you lie intentionally.
   Our decisions are reached through scripture study, prayer, massive discussion among the faithful people and - at least for me - with some trepidation, that trepidation salved by the work of the Holy Spirit.
   Darn it! I am so tired of the accusations that we are just following the culture.
   And I say that in some things your LCMS is wrong. I believe you are wrong not to ordain women, but your practice of that is not "actively teaching against the teachings of Christianity." Ditto for your closed communion practices that exclude other Lutherans from being welcomed at your altars. I think you are wrong not to, but I do not say your practice is "against the teaching of Christianity."
   You think we are wrong to ordain partnered homosexuals. I think you are wrong not to, but I do not say your practice is "against the teaching of Christianity." But you say that about us. Over and over again.
   The Church has always had a variety of practices concerning ordination, leadership and lines of authority. I don't know what it is about our decisions on sexuality that sent you and your friends into a "you are no longer Church" frenzy, but it seems to have done so. Or maybe creationism is also on your list; or women's ordination; or strictly closed communion.
   Again, I don't think believing in "young-earth creationism" or "old earth creationism" or even the timeline of Bishop Ussher take you out of the Christian church.
   Peter, your approach seems to me to be exactly the one used in the 1970s, spurred on by the right-wing of the LCMS, that is, make a check-list of orthodoxy/heresy and unless one signs off on every item, out you go.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2021, 10:59:32 AM by Charles Austin »
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Re: Study: Attendance hemorrhaging at small and midsize US congregations
« Reply #29 on: October 30, 2021, 11:09:53 AM »

Although there were some voices in my congregation openly wondering whether we should continue live streaming after in-person worship resumed, I publicly supported doing it. We have even purchased a phone for the church and established an account with AT&T and purchased a cell phone signal booster.  For a rural church without access to dependable internet, we are probably doing as well as those who have it.  But there was concern at the time that people were being conditioned not to come to church.  We were giving them an excuse not to.  Perhaps in a few cases.  But what many of us discovered in live streaming, and we do it through FB, is that it opened a way for some to remain connected to the parish who normally could not.  Examples would include some elderly and infirm, as well as those struggling with mental illness where crowds pose a problem for them socially.  It also opened a door to a wider group of people well outside our parish. And because of the Delta variant and a rise in cases in my county that is considered higher than normal, we have a few who do not feel comfortable being here in person if the majority are not masked. So live streaming continues to give them an option as well for the moment. Now all this has its own challenges, and live streaming, I must stress, is not the ideal. For one thing it does not provide the Sacrament, and fellowship is limited.  But it's one tool for the times.  I live stream a daily devotion on most days of the week, and although the following is not huge, I have a few devoted folks who consistently tune in.  I have worked my way since March of last year through several books of the Bible including the entire gospel of Luke and Genesis.  For some this is their only real 'Bible study' and some might not have come to regular Bible study even when they were coming in-person. 

The dynamic of remote and virtual church broadcasts opens up a new thing for many of our churches.  It will take a long time to analyze and assess what it means long term.  We're too close to it at the moment to really understand the full impact or the downside.  But it must remain the exception, not the rule.  I have sensed since we opened up our doors in May of 2020 that for most there is a genuine desire and hunger for real time, real presence worship.  For a rural church designed originally for an agricultural community that has changed dramatically since it first opened over 130 years ago, we continue to remain a vital and active parish despite all the changes demographically.  I was impressed that when I resumed in-person Bible study on Friday mornings just a handful of weeks ago, I automatically had around 10 and am up to 11 in attendance.  That's good for us.  And one attendee, who recently lost his wife and was not a regular attender, comes consistently each week.

Although the article sounds an alarm and I am taking heed to the changes, we are not vanishing any time soon.  There is a desire for traditional and conservative Lutheran churches even in a world becoming increasingly secular and progressive socially.  Not the majority of folks, by any means, but a sufficient number to continue ministering.
IMO what you are doing is exemplary, Pr. Engebretson. I trust you are not the only pastor addressing the needs of our situation with such imagination and hard work.

Peace,
Michael
« Last Edit: October 30, 2021, 11:19:53 AM by Michael Slusser »
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