Church 2.0 Part Four

 In Pastor Jeff's Blog

Behold, I make all things new. – Revelation 21:5

I never intended this Church 2.0 blog to become a series. And I really thought I was done last week. But then I read a recent report from Luther Seminary. The title caught my attention, “Will the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) Be Gone in 30 Years?”

The opening lines are startling:

According to projections from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) Office of Research and Evaluation, the whole denomination will have fewer than 67,000 members in 2050, with fewer than 16,000 in worship on an average Sunday by 2041. That’s right: according to current trends, the church will basically cease to exist within the next generation.

Ouch.

The report’s authors site three reasons for the denomination’s decline, and six “next steps” to consider. I want to invite you to read this brief report (you can find it here) and then post your responses to these questions:

• What factors do you think are contributing to the decline of nearly every denomination in America?
• What steps should be taken?
• Since you are the Church, what are you willing to do about it all?

This will be the last post in this blog series. You might have found it a bit depressing, so let me leave you with the thought that sustains me, keeps me hopeful and moving forward. The Church is and always has been the Body of Christ. Jesus is the risen Lord of the Church. Even if “Church” as we understand it dies, the resurrection power of Jesus will not be idle. I cling to Jesus’ promise, “Behold, I make all things new.” Even the Church.

Thanks be to the God.

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

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Showing 2 comments
  • Steve Anderson

    In our hyper-individualistic society we need to realize that we can only solve problems by changing our own behavior, not someone else’s behavior. In the immortal words of Pogo, “I have met the enemy, and he is me.”

    Each person needs to focus on bring a servant. We need to care more about other people’s problems than our own.

  • Steve Gartland

    Intriguing, eye-opening, thoughtful and frightening article. Yes, it’s a repeat of what many of us have been reading and trying to figure out for a couple of decades, without much success (or so it appears). The three reasons the authors list for the decline of Christianity in the West seems fairly accurate, although there’s obviously more to it. The solutions that they suggest are, like many solutions that are being offered up, rather vague and lack specificity or anecdotal examples. Maybe because they are unfamiliar with real examples that are working? I think their advocacy for innovation and experimentation is right on target and needs to be embraced with much greater enthusiasm and passion by church leaders and the people, however, if we really intend to change the trajectory of the church in the next 30 years.

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