The Dwindling (Active) Church Member

From Dr. Rick Chromey, some thoughts on church reform – from revisiting the nature and length of sermons to providing more time to connect authentically, from considering new perspectives on worship to reminding ourselves of the central position of sacraments. Enjoy!


EmptyPewHouston has a problem.  So does Phoenix, Seattle, Denver, St. Louis and other cities.

But it ain’t just in the big towns.  Small town and rural USAmerica are experiencing the crunch too.  It’s a problem so big that Thom Rainer, a notable church researcher rightly observed:

“About 20 years ago, a church member was considered active in the church if he or she attended three times a week.  Today, a church member is considered active in the church if he or she attends three times a month.”

In his apologetic, Rainer cites five reasons for this shift:

  1. The local church has been minimized.
  2. Americans idolize their activities.
  3. We take vacations from church.
  4. Members aren’t held to high expectations.
  5. Churches make infrequent attendees leaders.

While I appreciate Rainer’s astute analysis, I do think the real reasons are much deeper, even different.  Yes, times have changed.  There’s no question the local church has lost…

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Springtime Reflections for Church Renewal

Here’s a good read to remind us how prevalent the need and desire among God’s people is for reform – it’s a need that is recurring, a need that is pressing, and a need that transcends generational and denominational boundaries. You’ll find in it many of our own suggestions and hopes. Get away from the institution and discover faith as family and community once more. Empower the people in the pews to minister instead of acting like only paid clergy are qualified or capable. Consider term limits and any other possibilities to ensure leadership is frequently refreshed and new ideas, perspectives, and gifts are brought to the table. Allow discussion on debated issues and challenge teachings that are not biblical yet hold us back from being relevant and efficacious in the world. Thanks for your insights!

Another Voice

April 20, 2017
Reform-minded people need to change their conversation about church reform. Otherwise they end up either talking to themselves or simply repeating what everyone else has been saying for the past ten years. Changing the conversation means looking at church life in new ways and developing new strategies and patterns for church life today and tomorrow. It means thinking creatively and asking challenging and deeper questions….

Some proposals for refection: 
(1)   Look less at the church as institution and more as a community of faith. What is happening within your own community of faith? What are the life-issues that really concern your family and friends? Where do you find your support? How can you motivate and help the men and women in your community to truly minister to each other? What is keeping us from experimenting with new forms of parish and parish life? Perhaps a parish…

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