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Trends
According to an online poll from Crosswalk.com, 34% of people who attend church leave because of a lack of personal connections there.  18% left because they felt unwelcomed. And why do people stay?  53% say because of the friendships they’ve established at the church. Other reasons for leaving:  relocation, poor church leadership, theological differences. Keep in mind that this was an ‘online survey’.  No word on how many people responded (it could have been 10).  And it’s definitely not scientific. Here’s YOUR assignment for today: Get out a piece of paper and number it from one to five.  List the last five people that have left your church.  Then next to each name, list why. Do you even know? Should you? If you’d like… share your list of ‘why’s for your last five here in the comment section.  Does this study match what you found? More here:  Crosswalk.com Survey
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Trends
According to M. Garlinda Burton, the top executive of the United Methodist Commission on the status and Role of Women (in the current issue of Church Executive Magazine), the UM church has made some strides in the area of sexuality, but still has a very long way to go. A survey of some 6,000 United Methodists shows some startling results:
  1. Half of all laywomen and one-third of laymen witness or are victims of some degree of sexual harassment or misconduct in their congregations, from inappropriate comments by the pastor or laity in leadership to physical assault and stalking.
  2. 77 percent of United Methodist clergywomen and 50 percent of clergymen say laity have violated their boundaries through unwanted sexual behavior or comment.
  3. Half the people who make sexual misconduct complaints at the local church level say the pastor or laity in leadership routinely “trivialize” their concern
According to Burton, the good news is that the church as a whole is becoming more aware, more vigilant and better equipped to “prevent, address and bring justice in cases of misconduct and malfeasance of a sexual nature.” You can read the whole article here at Church Executive. On result #1:  This is pretty sad.  50% of women, according to their survey, have described some type of sexual misconduct?  And 33% of MEN?  That’s horribly high, isn’t it? On result #2:  Well, this seems to maybe help back up #1, huh?  77% of women UM pastors admit they have violated their boundaries?  (Yes the percent in number one is lower?)  Why are the percentages higher for women pastors?  I, for one, would have expected the mail pastor’s percentage to be higher in the sexual area. On result #3:  This I totally believe.  I think many in church leadership are not equipped to handle any type of conflict… ESPECIALLY sexual misconduct.  Trivialization and ignoring the problem would run fairly high in churches, I would guess. So… what’s your take on this survey.  Have these percentages seemed to be about right in the churches/denominations that you’ve been involved with?  Why or why not? Todd
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