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Losing Members?

Discussion in 'Theologia Crucis - Lutherans' started by gtmyers, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. DaRev

    DaRev New Member

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    Education and recruiting new lay leaders.
     
  2. seajoy

    seajoy Senior Veteran

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    :thumbsup:
     
  3. TCat

    TCat Daily surrender

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    Who said it needs fixing, there is nothing wrong with Traditional Liturgy nor IMO anything wrong with Contemporary Worship. I find it interesting that neither of these types of services are "fixing" the problem of losing members.
    I wonder if part of the problem is that most people today do not see the church as having any bearing on life, no answers, no help, nothing relevant to life with family, work, relationships etc. To the unchurched what would make me want to waste a Sunday morning at a church???
    To those in the church what makes me want to stay???
     
  4. Archaenfel

    Archaenfel Remonstrant Samurai Lutheran

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    Our church has the two-service thing, too. It's not bad, except that when they want the children to participate it's *always* in the late service. This means that if I want my son to be able to sing in church, I need to put up with "... losing my sorrows ... " again!

    :argh:

    More to the topic, though: going to church regularly requires a certain amount of inner inspiration. The church tries to make itself relevant, but I think it's going about it the wrong way. I don't think people need new music or a hip-hop beat to feel a part of the church ... they need to feel like they're a part of something!

    People today need other people to talk with; just to talk with. They need people on their side. This is an aspect of the human condition where the church could truly shine if it wanted to.
     
  5. TCat

    TCat Daily surrender

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    Agreed, people need to feel a sense of belonging, feel a part of something. Several years ago our church did a wonderful church wide Bible study. Everyone in the church was encouarged to join a small group, study and attend once a week then Pastor preached about that weeks lesson at the service. It was amazing, we had 70 small groups going and several people available to answer questions by e-mail or phone. Each person had a study guide and the church as a whole grew closer and several new friendships were formed.

    It is not the music or the type of service although admittedly if I prefer contemporary music for worship. That was a draw for me originally to start coming to my church, of course God continues to draw me closer but the music was the start.
     
  6. PuppyforChrist

    PuppyforChrist Loyal and obedient to its Master

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    My church is steady. We haven't gained or lost a significant amount but what we are losing is youth. The youth only come to what they have to at my church, then refuse to come to anything else.

    Their reason? "Church is boring" and "It's the same every week so I won't miss anything."

    Yet the mega churches nearby and the churches that have either a mix of traditional and contemporary services are flourishing with youth. My Pastor was already doing two services, one at 8:15 and the other at 10:45, both traditional. By the second service he is exhausted.

    So during the school year we experimented with an evening worship service that was held twice a month at 6. (Known as Sundays at 6.) They featured some members in the congregation who could play other instruments that they normally don't get to use during the services, like drums and guitars. And we would have a mini lesson along with songs that were more contemporary. At first I loved this idea. The goal was to try and attract youth back by doing something that would appeal more to them and then slowly find other ways to coax them back to church without pressuring them or feeling forced. (If that makes sense.)

    I had always been a fan of strictly traditional but now I enjoy both. Contemporary worship is something that is and can be more of a personal level with Christ, and there's nothing wrong with that. Diversity in worship is what makes all of us unique as Christians, and that is a beautiful thing. To me though, sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes certain contemporary worship replaces God with Entertainment, so that was one of the reasons I liked this nightly worship service. It was separate from the traditional ones in the morning.

    But several things backfired in making this a success. One, my church places emphasis that faith is a communial thing and is shared with everyone. They believe that there is no "I" in church or faith, just "we" so all the songs we sang were changed.

    For example, take a song like "Trading my Sorrows" which is a popular worship song. The first three lines go "I'm trading my sorrow, I'm trading my shame, I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord." My Pastor would take the lyrics and change it to "We're trading our sorrow, we're trading our shame, we're laying them down for the joy of the Lord.." First of all, I think that was a bit disrespectful to the person who produced that song because it's supposed to be a worship song based on a personal level with God, but depending on the song, changing the lyrics can throw off the beat and confuse someone, especially if they are used to hearing it the way it's supposed to be sung. This happened a few times when I went and frankly, I wasn't too happy.

    This also turned off on the youth who knew the songs the way I did. Eventually, now all that come are a few young adults, older adults and a few elderly folks. A handful of youth attended the first few sessions and stopped. For the last two years, no youth have attended, except me, but I'm technically considered a young adult, and no offense to anyone but I feel a bit awkward being the only person under 40 attending them.

    I agree with TCat that music works as a church drawling factor in some cases. It did for me. My taste is about even. I love traditional and contemporary music, but I prefer traditional in church. Sadly, most people my age around here don't see it the way I do. We made a requirement in my church for those in confirmation classes to also be a part of the teen choir. We have over a dozen teenagers in the choir and confirmation program, and not one of them has attended church in I don't know how long. They attend what they have to and then they don't go to anything else. We haven't had a real youth program in about 6 or 7 years. Most kids in my church stop attending after middle school.

    Unrelated to music, another thing I was discussing with one member a few months ago was the formation of our services. At least in my church, if someone, who has either never gone to church before or never to one related to a Lutheran service, they would be completely lost. Many of the songs we sing are right on cue, and are normally unannounced unless you look in the bulletin. Like "Create in me a Clean Heart" or the beginning Kyrie. The members I talked to admit that for some, if the walked into this church, it would feel like they are walking into a secret society group and throughout the service, they spend more time trying to catch up and figure out what to do next or what they missed and why we did what, rather than worshiping. Apparently, this was the case for some visitors in the past, and I really didn't think about that until now.

    I joined my church when I was 15 and had no church background, but then, I had friends to lead me through it all. Unless you know someone at my church, I would assume you would feel pretty lost and frustrated, like you don't belong.

    Those are just a few examples. Everyone has their own way of worshiping either traditional or contemporary, and others sometimes would like to worship not by themselves but with others, and others are more individual when it comes to church and worship. I prefer both styles and with others, and since no one in my church is around my age, it's slightly awkward at times. So in a sense, I can understand how these youth feel.
     
  7. BoC

    BoC New Member

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    Where does it say in the Bible that we need to be relevent or have to worry about how many people are falling away or staying? It doesn't do much good to second guess God by saying that He needs more people going to church to worship Him. He doesn't need us. We need Him. If we want to go to hell then that's our problem. If we hear about the free gift of salvation and we reject it, the only person losing is us.

    The Bible even mentions that there will be a falling away at the end times. I don't know if it's the end times but "falling away" has happened many times in history besides the present. Everything does not revolve around us.







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  8. BoC

    BoC New Member

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    Well you have basically answered questions about contemporary worship. It brings people in but they don't stay. The non-denom maga churches have more experience in entertaining and are years ahead of the contemporary Lutherans so why are we competing. When a Lutheran church goes contempory the kids see the maga churches are "like" their Lutheran congregation so that tells them that we might be like them in theology so lets just go to their church because "we are like them" so what difference does it make.




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  9. gtmyers

    gtmyers Regular Member

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    One thing that I wonder about in the mega non-denom. churches is the amount of money they throw into each series of sermons they come up with. The topic for a sermon series has a whole set that goes along with it. There are all kinds of media blitzes, signs, special promos on the big screens, and the list goes on. The money that is pored into all this could maybe be used in mossions or some other worthwhile cause. Their series usually lasts between 3 to 6 weeks or so and with each new one there is all new stuff again. New sets to put up on stage. I hope the Lutheran Church nevers comes to that. Its one thing to incorporate some contemporary praise music while keeping everything else in tact in the service but its a whole different story to "Put on a show". If you should mention to someone really involved in a church like that they say its "bringing the people in by large numbers so they can hear about Jesus." Its a different type of church, nothing like we as Lutherans would be acustomed to.
     
  10. gtmyers

    gtmyers Regular Member

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    sorry for the typos in previous post.

     
  11. Aibrean

    Aibrean Honest. Maybe too Honest.

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  12. laconicstudent

    laconicstudent New Member

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    Yeah, you know, I'm usually really cynical about claims of natural disasters and such being "Acts of God" or something like that, but when:




    I respectfully submit God might be hitting us over the head with a message of something. :eek: ^_^
     
  13. QuiltAngel

    QuiltAngel Veteran

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    I am late to this conversation, but the question I always ask first is what about the population trends of your area? We live in an area of declining population, schools are merging every couple of years, young people are not returning home after college and we have too many LCMS churches in the area. Yep, too many for the population base here.

    Now, my son and daughter both live in areas of overall population growth and the churches they attend are growing. Both churches have liturgical services only. My daughter was attending another church in the area which used contemporary and they were not growing.

    It isn't all about the worship style like so many here want to make it out to be. In fact, my son lived in another city and also attended a growing church with liturgical only services. Yet, when you look at the areas where these churches are, there is great population growth as well as younger people seeking more traditional services.
     
  14. Big Mouth

    Big Mouth Forum Queen

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    The LCMS I attended as a kid is losing members FAST! The ELCA I attend now is gaining them slowly.
     
  15. seajoy

    seajoy Senior Veteran

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    How sad.
     
  16. BoC

    BoC New Member

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    Must be a fluke anomaly brought on by the alignment of celestial spheres in the vernal equinox. :liturgy: No other explanation would make sense.




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