by Aaron Earls, LifeWay, 2/18/19.
by Brian Loritt, LifeWay, 12/8/18.
…At 25, I became the first African-American pastor at a historic white church in Southern California.
The word “sufficient” in 2 Corinthians 12 is a poignant one, because it speaks of grace in both quality and quantity. God will give Paul not just general grace, but a specific measure of grace to get through the wounds in his life in a way that gives God glory and blesses His people.
A LEADER’S RESPONSE TO BROKENNESS
by Aaron Earls, LifeWay, Christianity Today, 3/6/19.
The lack of growth in worship attendance in most churches is matched by a lack of new commitments to Christ last year.
Fifty-four percent of pastors say fewer than 10 people indicated a new commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior in 2018, including 8 percent who had none.
In some ways, however, those numbers mask deeper evangelistic issues. When evaluating churches based on the number of conversions per 100 attendees, 67 percent had fewer than 10 per 100 people attending their church. Around a third (35%) had fewer than five new commitments for every 100 people attending their worship services.
Forty-six percent of smaller churches (fewer than 50 in worship services) say they had 10 conversions or more for every 100 in attendance, while only 18 percent of churches 250 and above meet that benchmark.
While there are no major differences between evangelical and mainline churches in terms of new converts, denominational differences do exist.
A majority of Pentecostal pastors (57%) say they saw 10 or more new commitments to Christ in their church last year per 100 attendees. The next closest denominations are Lutherans (39%), Holiness (38%), and Baptists (35%).
A quarter of Methodist (25%) and Presbyterian or Reformed pastors (23%) say they had 10 or more new commitments to Jesus in 2018 per 100 attendees. Half of Methodist pastors (50%) had fewer than five new commitments last year.
by Aaron Earls, Christianity Today, 3/7/19.
…Growth is not absent from American churches,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “But rapid growth through conversions is uncommon.”
The research gives a clear picture of the state of Protestant churches in America today.
- Most have fewer than 100 people attending services each Sunday (57%),
- including 21 percent who average fewer than 50.
- Around 1 in 10 churches (11%) average 250 or more for their worship services.
Three in five (61%) pastors say their churches faced a decline in worship attendance or growth of 5 percent or less in the last three years. Almost half (46%) say their giving decreased or stayed the same from 2017 to 2018.
More than 2 in 5 churches (44%) only have one or fewer full-time staff members. Close to 9 in 10 pastors (87%) say their church had the same or fewer number of full-time staff in 2018 as they had in 2017, including 7 percent who cut staff.
In 2018, few churches added new multi-site campuses (3%) or were involved in some form of planting a new church (32%). Sixty-eight percent say they had no involvement in church planting. Around 1 in 10 (12%) say they were directly or substantially involved in opening a new church in 2018, including 7 percent who were a primary financial sponsor or provided ongoing financial support to a church plant.
“The primary purpose of this study was to obtain a set of objective measures on churches’ reproduction and multiplication behaviors today as well as to understand their core context of growth,” said Todd Wilson, chief executive officer of Exponential. “By combining these measures, we can help churches think about multiplication.”
Declining, plateaued, or growing?
Twenty-eight percent of Protestant pastors say their church has seen worship service attendance shrink by 6 percent or more compared to three years ago.
Another 33 percent say their church has remained within 5 percent, while 39 percent say their congregation has grown by at least 6 percent since the first quarter of 2016.
by Aron Earls, Facts & Trends, LifeWay, 3/1/19.
…LifeWay Research’s 2018 State of Theology Study found some positives and negatives among the beliefs of younger Americans. They also found some issues that transcend generations.
by Thom Rainer, LifeWay, 3/6/19.
…In addition to the categorization of churches as
- declining/subtracting (Level 1),
- plateauing (Level 2), and
- growing/adding (Level 3),
- A Level 4 (reproducing) church places a high value and priority on starting new churches.
- A level 5 (multiplying) church takes church planting to multiple generations of congregations.