RIP, average attendance | Faith and Leadership: “Church attendance was once a key indicator of a virtuous cycle. If the church could get a new person in the pew regularly, offerings would go up, involvement in small groups and missions would climb, and the church would be healthy. If attendance was declining then everything else would eventually decline. The growing lack of dependability on attendance is a sign that the virtuous cycles that have sustained congregations since the end of World War II are collapsing. In order to sustain congregations over the long haul, new cycles need to be developed. Once that begins to happen, new measures can be identified.”
Interesting article that ends with a decisive call to parish leaders to move ahead in attempting to understand the changing nature of church attendance rather than keeping the status quo or firmly placing heads in sand to avoid the uncomfortable conversations that arise as a result.
As Pew Research etc have pointed out, the religious landscape of the United States is decidedly different than it was just 10 years ago, but especially 20-30 years ago when many of the models church leaders use for analysis, budget predictions etc were being formulated.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Churches being smart, nimble, and open to hearing the voice of God in the silence, in the whirlwinds, and even in the spreadsheets can mean the difference between keeping a historic sanctuary lit and being able to provide missions monies or having to sell the building to the YMCA.