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Monday, October 26, 2009

What?


What is the shift that is going on? Is it just California, Santa Barbara, MCC, me or is it something bigger? We have offered a successive series of Inquirer's Classes (now we call them Welcome Classes) for a couple years, with dwindling attendance and interest. Is it that lack of interest in membership on the whole that drives this downward interest? Is it a Sunday afternoon format that is too intrusive into family schedules? Or is it a lack of interest in joining a church?
We have regular requests for membership classes, so the staff and I find two weeks months out ahead and schedule two successive Sunday afternoons. Then one or two people might show up. Is that the new normal?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not feeling hurt or rejected. It's not about me, it's about something that is going differently than I thought it would go. What's working best in your context?

6 Comments:

At 2:04 PM , Blogger Rick said...

We offer 4 weeks of classes during the SS hour and 2 evening sessions which include dinner, led by the pastor (the 4 SS sessions are led by trained lay volunteers.) We're seeing smaller classes than say 2-3 years ago. We're now doing 2-3 classes a year with 8-12 people.

 
At 3:14 PM , Blogger ed said...

Membership has its benefits!

I'm not sure the average prospect knows this.

 
At 5:28 AM , Blogger kent said...

I just wandered through the choices from Google on the benefits of church membership. All of them point to instruction, care, comfort and other items that most churches give to anyione who comes in regardless of their membership status. I know of no church that will withhold pastoral care from non-members. It is becoming increasingly difficult to point to tangible benefits of membership.

The other element in this shift is the impact of the rampant individualism of our culture. The idea that the whole is more important than the individual is both foreign and odd to most ears in our churches.

 
At 8:51 AM , Blogger ed said...

Belonging...

 
At 1:06 PM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

In a couple of conversations about this, I heard that one joins not for the benefits but for the responsibilities: chiefly that we will love each other when we are extremely unlovable. We are bound to each other not transactionally, but covenantally. We are the group that is known not by our fine products and services, but by our love.

 
At 10:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's still about belonging!

 

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