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The usual story is of a pastor who staunches a church’s decline by introducing “contemporary” worship. But Macedonia Baptist in Pittsburgh capped its growth with a return to “traditional.”
Local congregations are finding ways to thrive by developing liturgical and ministry-based niches in their communities while anchoring their identities in denominations, says the former dean of the Wake Forest School of Divinity.
There will be a “leveling out” in the future as the emphasis shifts from clergy, buildings and the white middle class to a more empowered lay leadership, a variety of venues and a more expansive view of “who God has called to be God’s people,” says the stated clerk of the PC(USA).
Large Protestant churches are more than twice as likely to be multiracial now compared to a decade ago. Why is that? And what does it mean for the rest of us?
There may be churches that don’t care about growth. But these can’t possibly be Methodist.
Church leaders must be willing to hold themselves accountable for what’s going on in congregations because wishful thinking won’t help the church thrive in the future, the late AME bishop said in a 2010 interview.
But if denominations are to have a vibrant future, they must become a means to network people in meaningful, covenantal relationships, says the former head of the Reformed Church in America.