Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The future of congregations

a Biblical thought...
I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger. (Job 29:14-16)

a Book thought...
Tom Hodges built up a ministry of his own. Buying a cart, he loaded it with vegetables and travelled outback roads as a holy pedlar, selling his vegetables to the scrub-cutters, reading the Bible to them and talking of Jesus. he was admitted to the Order of the Founder for his work. (p94)
a Dave thought...
The latest research of mainline churches suggests there is three categories:

1. Dying congregations that close themselves down from the outside culture
2. Solid congregations with a traditional ministry to it's own members, while slowly adapting to culture.
3. Innovating congregations with leadership capacity to build new communities of faith with those outside the church

Statistics have shown that 5o% falls under no. 1, 40 % under 2, 10% under 3. But 2 and 3 suggests there is life. (

With 50% of existing congregations only expecting to have a future, the next 10 years will be critical. Do we continue to revitalise and change what we already have or do we nicely close these congregations down and start others in their place? Obviously both ways will be necessary, but lets start planting and transitioning rather than waiting or be surprised by the declining attendances of the church in the western world.

Just a thought.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I'd like to be a part of the 3rd kind ... the challenge is to truly be the 3rd kind and not the 2nd kind masquerading as the 3rd type!

The 2nd type can 'succeed' without impacting their community or bringing the kingdom of God into their everyday world.