Jibstay

Friday, June 26, 2009

Facts to speak to a Trend


A good friend gave me Wayne Jacobsen's 2006 book "So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore" this summer. It's a quick narrative read. The main character is a burned out staff pastor of a non-denominational community church. The staff cowers under the mercurial senior pastor and our character leaves, disillusioned with church as building, box, organization, meeting place and program. Through a series of encounters with a mysterious character, our character discovers that knowing and loving Jesus does not require the traditional church and all of its organization. It's pretty compelling argument, leaving me to wonder if I, a well-paid senior pastor, am part of the problem or part of the solution.
It's all the more challenging for me now here where a number of good friends and active believers will not join a local church but instead work among believers in many churches. I think there is a need for a reworked ecclessiology for these days and this generation.
Then I read Evangelical Covenant Church President Gary Walter's annual report and was rocked by some facts that are realities in this little denomination. Look below:
The Covenant has grown 53 percent in the last 10 years
The number of all ethnic and multiethnic congregations has grown from 81 to 186 in between 1996 and 2008
Nearly 24 percent of all Covenant congregations are multiethnic
Sixty-nine churches are in process of being planted
The Covenant is planting about 20 churches every year – an average of one every two to three weeks
Forty-six churches have average attendance of more than 600 people
Swedish Covenant Hospital, Emanuel Medical Center, and Covenant Retirement Communities provided $33 million in free care
Covenant World Relief was engaged in 31 projects with the poorest of the world’s poor
Break the Chains, the human trafficking initiative, begun in the Department of Women Ministries, has raised more than $350,000 to date
Representatives of 330 churches benefitted from seminars given by various departments in 2008
National Covenant Properties loaned $46.3 million to 71 churches in 2008
Why are these facts important? Because they come out of a community of churches that take discipleship on the local level seriously.
The Covenant has grown 53 percent in the last 10 years
The number of all ethnic and multiethnic congregations has grown from 81 to 186 in between 1996 and 2008
Nearly 24 percent of all Covenant congregations are multiethnic
Sixty-nine churches are in process of being planted
The Covenant is planting about 20 churches every year – an average of one every two to three weeks
Forty-six churches have average attendance of more than 600 people
Swedish Covenant Hospital, Emanuel Medical Center, and Covenant Retirement Communities provided $33 million in free care
Covenant World Relief was engaged in 31 projects with the poorest of the world’s poor
Break the Chains, the human trafficking initiative, begun in the Department of Women Ministries, has raised more than $350,000 to date
Representatives of 330 churches benefitted from seminars given by various departments in 2008
National Covenant Properties loaned $46.3 million to 71 churches in 2008
Why are these facts important? Because these facts are fruits from a denomination composed of local churches that take discipleship on a local church level,person-by-person, seriously.
“Are we developing disciples of such depth and radical obedience that we are able to engage the world, and address the profound brokenness we see around us? Is our interior life of faith sufficient to sustain our mission?" asked Gary Walter.
It would be great fun to have Wayne Jacobsen speak sometime soon to a gathering of Covenant pastors (maybe the Midwinter?) and talk about the trends and the facts.

2 Comments:

At 9:47 AM , Blogger Traveller said...

I enjoy popping in to read your blog now and again--referred from Jesus Creed a few years ago. Lots of reflective and challenging stuff! Thanks!

a quick note for editing on this one--in your 'facts' list, there are about 5 or 6 lines that seem to have been copied and pasted--repeated word for word. just to let you know. Have a blessed week!

 
At 7:39 AM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

Thanks

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker