If you have been paying attention to the state of the mainline organized denominations, you have undoubtedly noticed that they are in trouble. Measured by attendance or a healthy financial picture, a lot of churches are not faring well. That’s not news. It appears to some of us that not enough attention is being paid to figuring out why churches are in trouble and in finding ways to reverse the decline in participation and support. There are lots of reasons why scant attention has been paid to this steady decline. One reason seems to be that there is a lot to do at the denomination and local church levels just to maintain the present scope of activity. That doesn’t leave much time to deal with something new.
My colleagues and I have concluded that we need to look beyond the traditional church structures and leadership. This blog is our initial effort to learn several things:
- Are there others who are concerned that the churches they love are in decline?
- Are there useful models of being the church in a modern world that offer ideas for the future church?
- Since the world relies so heavily on technology in our daily lives, is the idea of “taking the church to the people” using technology a feasible concept?
- Is it possible to organize an ad hoc group to consider potential ways of being the church in the future?
There are undoubtedly other questions and issues; we offer these basic questions as a way of starting the conversation.
The post that follows this is my effort describe what I see in the United Church of Christ. It’s offered as a conversation starter as well.
Rev. Dr. Jerold A. “Jerry” Garber
Founding Minister, First United Church of Christ and Conference Center Second Life