Does this sound familiar?

Evangelical denominations are facing problems.  There is a dearth of new leaders, young adults are disconnected from the church, membership is in slow decline, biblical and theological illiteracy is rampant, ministries are pulling back.  How does one address this?  The average church member cares very little about their denomination and many couldn’t tell you why one is different from another.  Many church leaders view the folks in head office as the cheerleaders for one vapid fad after another.  There is passive animosity between academics, denominational staff, church and other ministry leaders.  The small churches are in tension with the big churches.  The denomination is frustrated with the big churches who feel they don’t need anyone.  Church leadership is fragmented.

All these leaders are in the same boat that is sinking just a little bit each year.  The small churches close down and the refugees hide the decline of their bigger and healthier cousins.  Periodically denominational ministries consolidate boards and programs due to budget constraints.  Boards and committees that used to be full of capable people become desperate just to find warm bodies to full chairs.  What used to be a coherent movement is now fragmented and disconnected.

Some are attentive to the big picture.  Many of those who raising the alarm are in ministries that feel the decline more sharply than others.   Even among these folks it is easy to ignore the big problems.  It is so much easier to focus on the immediate local concern than it is to face the bigger issues.  Huge problems are paralyzing.  What can one lone ministry do to a fix problems that require in-depth cooperation from the disparate communities and leaders that make up an increasingly fragmented denomination?  That mountain looks just a little to big to climb.

It is easy to find people to talk about it.  Lots of people have opinions and pet theories.  It is much harder to find any group that will risk substantive change.

Comments are closed.