After extensive dialogue, and several weeks of intense and very positive conversation around an agreement, The Columbia Partnership has reached a formal agreement with TeleWorship'swww.TransformingTheChurch.org,and Christian College [in Georgia] to to provide education experiences, learning communities, and other online resources for the transformation of congregations.
ClickHEREto read the news release, and then look around the web site..
During the past few weeks I have talked with several churches who are
concerned about a minor decline in their attendance over the past five years.
They want answers as to why attendance is down, and what they can do about it.
Many of their ideas are speculation without any facts to support them. They
may be right, or they may be wrong. There is no way to know without consistent,
reliable information. I suggest to these congregations they get the facts by
seeking answers to several questions.
Briefly, here are some of the questions. Later I will add more details to
First, have you changed the way you count, or who does the counting? You may
not be counting everyone you once counted. If you have multiple worship services
you may have counted some people twice, and now you only count them once.
Perhaps your attendance was never as high as your thought. Perhaps you are
missing some people you once counted.
Second, has the average person decreased the number of Sundays each year they
are present for worship and weekly discipleship programming? What method do you
use to count people by name so you know the frequency or pattern of their
attendance? You should count everyone in worship by name four Sundays in a row
in the fall and the spring to establish your pattern.
Third, where is attendance down? Is it a certain age group? Is it a certain
service? Is it a certain class or department in the discipleship or Christian
education program? What changes in schedule, leadership, curriculum, or other
dynamics may have contributed to this?
One of my favorite expressions by a key mentor in my life, Lyle Schaller, relates to what time it is. During the 1990s Lyle often said, as an example, “Next year is 1995. The trouble is that too many congregations are operating like next year is 1955.”
The world has changed dramatically during the past 58 years from 1955 to 2013. Congregational ministry has morphed to a new dimension during the past six decades. Unfortunately, too many congregations are still functioning out of a 1950s framework with only a few mandatory updates they could not avoid.
A tremendous number of factors are different now than they were in the 1950s. Here’s one. What size congregation does it take to engage in first quality programs, ministries, and activities for all major life age/stage groups from birth to death?
What do you know about The Columbia Partnership? Here is a PowerPoint presentation in two formats that will give you a basic introduction and information on how to connect with TCP. Check out their web site at www.TheColumbiaPartnership.org.
One of my long-term church friends and I have friendly banter about my use of words and phrases that are probably more complicated than they need to be. Regularly, Lane and I have friendly conversations about the use of complex language. I even try to come up with a new word or phrase periodically so we can provoke one another with great amusement for both of us. Lane is a very smart guy. He actually speaks or understands several different languages.
Some years ago he offered a phrase to me for my consideration. It was “confrontational evangelism”. Because I consult and coach with congregations both on strategic planning and conflict mediation, he thought these two words would best express both foci.
Of course, he is insightful enough to know that evangelism is more than confrontation. However, sometimes I wonder about other people who so significantly shy away from evangelism because they see it only as confrontation.