Ed. note: If you've served in the church for any time at all, you've not doubt experienced changes and will experience many more in the times to come. In this encouraging article, Gayle helps us see how to make the most of the most challenging changing times.
In September 2011 the Hartford Institute for Religion Research released a new decade-long survey of congregations in the United States. It will come as no surprise to you that the past ten years have brought enormous changes throughout religious communities.
One disturbing conclusion is that median weekend worship in all sizes of congregations has significantly declined since the 2000 survey. Along with the drops in attendance was a significant decline in financial resources.
Still, despite fewer dollars and fewer people, a lot of churches—large and small—are doing some things quite well. One example: the vast majority of congregations have implemented electronic communications. More than 40 percent even use social networks like Facebook to keep in touch with congregants. These congregations and their leaders realize surviving and thriving in challenging times doesn’t just happen. [Read more...]