Tuesday, May 13, 2008

STARTLING STATS

Today I met with about 250 pastors and church leaders at Columbia's Convention Center and heard well-known consultant and author Aubrey Malphurs teach on the subject of leading churches through change. For me, the morning session was the most enlightening, but also the most disturbing.

Malphurs stated five reasons why churches much change:

  1. American churches are struggling.
  2. The number of churched people is declining.
  3. The number of cults and non-Christian groups is growing.
  4. The church landscape is rapidly changing.
  5. Church people resist change.

He shared some alarming stats, many of which I had already read--but to hear them again challenges me more and more to do my best to lead CBC off our plateau.

  • 4 out of 5 churches are plateaued or declining.
  • A 2005 study showed that 17.5 percent of Americans attend church on any given weekend. The state of SC is a little better--22.7 percent (nothing to brag about, huh?)
  • 1999 study by Barna--The builder generation (born pre-1946)--51% attended church in last 6 months; Boomers (1946-64)--41%; Busters (1965-76)--34%; Bridgers (1977-94)--29%.
  • Only 4% of teen bridgers understand the gospel and have accepted Christ even if they attend church.
  • The US is the fourth largest non-Christian nation (235 million).
  • The fastest growing cult? Wiccans

My three most important takeaways:

  1. An affirmation that the changes we are making are on target. We must develop new paradigms of doing church.
  2. We must move beyond expecting the church to "take care of me" to a missional vision of reaching as many as we can with the good news of Christ.
  3. We must pour as much energy and resources as possible into children's and student ministries.

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