The hunt for millennial worshipers

Millennial Worshipers may be few and far between these days… but they’re passionate! From a USA TODAY article: Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, a Nashville-based Christian research agency, analyzed Protestant trends from 1972 to 2010 in data collected by the General Social Survey, a biannual survey from the National Opinion Research Center. When he looked at young adults ages 23 to 35 — an age group that is often away from their parents’ influence and the cocoon of college — he found that during those 38 years: – Mainline Protestant numbers dove from 24% to...
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ELCA Trends: Denominational report says attendance down 26% in last 8 years

ELCA (the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) is in trouble… in fact, trends show number of churches is down significantly over the past ten years, and the number of people attending services is down significantly as well.  From the Orlando Sentinel: The Lutheran magazine’s January cover story is about the decline in membership and churches of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. ELCA Trends: Nearly 30 percent of ELCA churches average less than 50 people for Sunday services. Average worship attendance dropped 26 percent between 2003 and 2011. More than 1,000 ELCA churches have...
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Mars Hill Church Downtown opens new location with 1600+ people

Mars Hill Church Downtown Seattle has relocated to the former home of the first church congregation in Seattle, which was opened in 1910 and was the church of Seattle’s founding families, the Dennys, Bells, and Borens.  Mars Hill welcomed over 1600 people at its grand opening this past Sunday, January 13, on a day when church attendance was expected to be low due to the Seattle Seahawks playoff game. News anchor Angela Russell reported last week on Mars Hill Downtown’s, “There’s a new chapter in Seattle’s history tonight with the salvation of a downtown Seattle building that is over 100...
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First Baptist Hammond Hires John Wilkerson New Pastor

First Baptist Church Hammond voted to accept John Wilkerson as its new pastor Sunday evening. Wilkerson follows Jack Schaap, who left First Baptist Hammond last year after admitting to having sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl and transporting her across state lines to have sex with her (a federal offense).  Schaap is currently awaiting sentencing. According to news reports: Wilkerson graduated from Hyles-Anderson in 1989 and taught at the church’s City Baptist Schools for a year before moving to California to teach at a Baptist school in Long Beach. He became principal of Calvary Christian...
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Can megachurches be church visitor friendly?

Bud Brown shares some metrics that he thinks would make megachurches much more visitor friendly.  See if you agree.  He writes: Mega-church staff and pastors are trapped in a dilemma created by the Church Growth movement – the assumption that bigger is better and that attendance inevitably produces spiritual maturity. This perspective on the disciple making process inevitably leads to metrics like attendance, income, visitor returns and so forth. In time the relentless demands of schedules, logistics, and buildings become the vision; keeping the machine running smoothly becomes the mission, and it...
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New York Times tackles church trends for 2013

The New York Times has just published a piece looking at trends in the U. S. church.  It’s an interesting read: DALLAS — The mural painted on the side of a building in the Deep Ellum warehouse district here is intentionally vague, simply showing a faceless man in a suit holding an umbrella over the words “Life in Deep Ellum.” Inside there are the trappings of a revitalization project, including an art gallery, a yoga studio and a business incubator, sharing the building with a coffee shop and a performance space. But it is, in fact, a church. Life in Deep Ellum is part of a wave of...
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New Research: Attendance and offerings up for most churches in 2012

New research from Leadership Network and Warren Bird: Although the size of the churches surveyed varied, the average growth rate for all churches combined is between 6-8% per year, based on worship attendance numbers (adults and children combined) from the past three years. The majority of churches surveyed have also seen an increase in offerings since January, 2012. This trend increases with church size. Churches of 2,000 or more have seen a significant increase, with 28% increasing in the 6-10% range Interestingly, the 80/20 “rule” applies to giving. We asked: Which answer best completes this...
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New Research: 73% of surveyed churches expect to meet or excede budget in 2012

New research from Leadership Network… this is just being released from Warren Bird and my colleagues at Leadership Network: Despite the current economic landscape, 73% of all churches surveyed expect to meet budget this year(“this year” being 2012 calendar year or current fiscal year). This response was to the question: “How do you respond to this statement? ‘Our church will meet its budget for this year.’ (whether calendar or fiscal year)” Participating churches ranged in size from less than 50 to over 40,000 people in weekly worship attendance. The larger the...
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How to cut a church budget

Eugene Mason has some thoughts and tips: What if you were faced with a situation where you had to cut your church budget significantly? Where would you start? How would you go about deciding what (and who!) could stay, and what you could do without? This may become a reality within the current recession in North America. A church I served faced this situation in 2006. Our Senior Pastor retired, and during the search for our next senior staff and church leader, nearly 20% of our attenders moved on. This resulted in a corresponding decline in giving and attendance. Now, this is quite natural and even...
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Church Growth: It’s all about the pastor

David Murrow writes a piece entitled “Church Growth:  It’s All About the Pastor” over at the Church for Men website.  See if you agree with his thinking: Can I be brutally honest? When it comes to church attendance, nothing matters as much as the ability of the pastor to deliver good sermons. If a pastor is good at his job the church grows. If he’s bad at his job the church shrinks. Sounds unspiritual – but it’s true. It shouldn’t be this way – but it is. Each week is a referendum on the pastor’s ability to deliver an inspiring sermon. Admit it – you’ve gotten into...
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