There is no miracle formula for growing our church. Nor is numerical growth the only mark of success. Discipleship, local engagement and longevity of commitment are also important. Our mission to FIND the lost, RELEASE the captive and DEVELOP disciples calls us to reach outside of our walls and find new ways to open our doors and welcome others to join us on our journey of faith.
During our workshop on January 21st we participated in a video conference, "How to Reach New People", led by the Rev. Kim Griffith, United Methodist pastor, new church planter, and coach at Griffith Coaching. Topics included:
- Strategic differences between 1955 and today
- Reintroducing our church to the community
- Our pastor's role in reaching new people
- Our congregation's role in reaching new people
- Networking ideas and techniques
- 19% of the US population will attend church this weekend - TheAmericanChurch.org (2007).
- 24% of Wisconsin population will attend church this weekend.
- 17.5% of people between ages 18-22 drop out of church and never return.
- 125,000 churches closed between 1990 and 2010.
- 80% of churches are experiencing numerical decline.
Symptoms of Decline:
- Living in the past
- Preoccupied with building and finances
- Exhausted church members (and staff)
- Inward focus
- Mission of church changes to survival
It is important to remember that despite these challenges of culture and economics, 20% of American churches are thriving.
To FIND the lost and GROW our church, we need strategies to help us "leave the castle".
- Identify local "places" at which we could conduct meetings away from the castle.
- Add the name of the group(s) we could approach to meet out in the community.
- List prayer walk or prayer drive suggestions.
- Connect with community-wide events.
- Relocate church events into the public square or parks.