Reversing Church Decline

Reversing Church Decline

Noah loves balloons. Every so often, we will purchase some for him, especially around his birthday, that he can enjoy and play with.

Sometimes it is my responsibility to blow up the balloons. With my asthma, I don’t always have the lung strength to blow them up myself. I am thankful for the ability to purchase small tanks that allow me to blow up the balloons that, in turn, give Noah some joy and pleasure.

One of the things about balloons is that over time they lose air. You don’t always notice it happening, but air can seep through the balloon and, thus, shrink its size. Sometimes, it takes a while to notice that the balloon doesn’t have the same amount of air that it did before.

I believe sometimes the church is just like a balloon. Sometimes we don’t always recognize issues or periods of decline until it is entirely noticeable. When we begin to notice issues or decline when it is reached the point that ignoring it any longer would harm the long-term operational structure of the local church.

The truth is that the church has often struggled with issues. As well, in many ways, we have been in decline, as a Methodist movement, for a more than just a handful of years. By percentage of the population, by some accounts, we have been in a state of decline since the 1880s. It was easy to miss for a long time, because the church was able to maintain its funding and support levels.

That isn’t the case, currently. Continue reading “Reversing Church Decline”

A Reflection for the Church in America

There is a lot of similarity in the moments following a major sporting event, for instance the Super Bowl, and the day after a political election. Following the game, the focus is as much on why a team lost as it is on why a team won.

That begins to happen, in the political world, on the day after the election. It’s the political postmortem that seeks to understand why a candidate lost, especially if a candidate was expected to win convincingly. In the hours after President-elect Donald Trump’s victory over Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the conversations have centered on how Clinton lost and what happens from here.

Part of the political postmortem includes an internal conversation of what went wrong and how to respond in time for the next election. It’s an important part of the response to an election that will shape the coming elections. Both the Democratic and Republican parties will participate in that.electionprayer

I hope they will not be alone. I think it is important for the church in America to participate in its own evaluation of what took place during the election, our response, and how we move forward. I say this, because the church has a lot to ponder following the election. This includes both the conservative and progressive wings of the American church. Continue reading “A Reflection for the Church in America”