by Mary Frances, Senior Consultant
Recently, Gallup announced that church membership had declined below 50% for the first time in recorded history. In 2000, 70% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue, or mosque. And in the brief period of two decades, in 2020 that number has dropped to 47%. This news was not lost on a client of mine who brought it up in a recent coaching session. He shared the sentiments of many of his older churchgoers: we need to grow the church! But what does evangelism mean in the nearly post-pandemic world of 2020?
The conversation that stemmed from that was one that I am deeply passionate about. It’s time to stop thinking about growing the church. Yes, I said it. Stop worrying about growing the church. Start thinking about the neighborhood in which the church resides. Start thinking about the community, the people, the strengths, the weaknesses and risk factors, and the resources available to your community. We need to think about our communities because the revitalization of the church starts with the revitalization of the community. Usually, we think about it in reverse. We think about revitalizing the church and then promise we will turn our attention outward once we are in better shape. But how can a church be strong if the community itself is in decline, is struggling, and is challenging in any number of ways? I believe that the church will be revitalized as it turns its attention outward, to be in relationship and to be a resource to the community where it lives.[Read more…]