What will church attendance look like in the next few years, and what does this mean?
Yesterday I read a thoughtful article by Carey Neiuwhof on this topic, and I’d like to share my thoughts and responses here.
Infrequent church attendance means people don’t value what we’re offering.
We need to remember that infrequent church attendance also means people don’t value what we’re offering. People often show up for what they consider essential. If they aren’t showing up frequently in church, they don’t think what we offer is necessary.
I need to major on the mission at CBC.
I will work harder to major on the mission at CBC. I must do my best to help each individual under my care understand what’s truly at stake. I must prove the importance of every single event or commitment I ask out of people. I must remember people don’t assume the ministry of CBC has value. The job of CBC leaders is to show the value of the ministry and mission of our church.
Infrequent attendance means lower devotion.
Decreased frequency of church attendance has been and continues to be a negative faith sign for believers. When we care for someone, we show up in their lives. When we attend church less frequently, we show a sliding devotion to God.
I must invite people to pursue a relationship, not an organization.
It’s so easy to get caught up protecting the institution of the church that I forget it’s all about Jesus. I need to work to connect people to God as the most important of the work I do.
The church thrives when we do life together.
We must choose to facilitate life together in our facilities and everywhere we can. The church going forward is a community of people that doesn’t have to be in a facility. We must leverage our organizational and financial strengths to facilitate community and gatherings everywhere we can.
Online is the front door now more than ever.
The churches of the future that are growing will see online as a front door more and more. In this past, this has been just the website. Now it is a more robust online service and meeting offering schedule. It is treating online as the front door of the church and doing our best to connect with new people through our digital front door.
I need to leverage all that I’ve learned from living through the Pandemic.
I need to make our online offerings high quality and high engagement. The first point where people will engage is online and then later possibly come through our front door. Importantly, I need to build our online content for engagement, not just consumption. I want to walk people from Facebook live to 65 Home Avenue.
Children are the real ones suffering.
When parents connect online, only it is the children who suffer. Parents have a ton of tools to connect these days. Our children have far less. We must, as a church, create opportunities to connect with and serve our children.
Evangelism isn’t about the organization but the people.
Church leaders like myself must see it as my job to equip people to reach their neighbors. The institution of the church will have fewer opportunities to carry forward the evangelistic message. Especially in a post-pandemic world, we must equip individual believers to carry and share their faith. Empowering people to share their faith isn’t giving up as a church, it is strategizing for the future.
The church of Jesus Christ will continue to change lives going forward. The question is whether institutions like Cornerstone Bible Church will remain. For us to do so, we need to invest the strengths we have from the past into facing the new problems of the church. I believe we will make the changes we need to make because God is working in us.