Finding What We Look For

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State of the Church - Finding What you Look For

Urban areas tend to have a myriad of small churches, too, many of them crumbling, with a very aged population, any endowment long since spent, and heaters collapsing, water pipes leaking. It's been years since they could actually pay the pastor even the poor minimum which the church requires. The Annual Conferences, which technically own those buildings have their own financial troubles. What to do? Well the city of Philadelphia may solve it for us with a serious demand for repairs and upkeep on any stone structure over 60 feet high in any part, with immediate closure as a penalty. But other cities are not so careful.

Should the UMC spend our resources trying to rescue those wrecked buildings, hoping that droves of new members might then appear? Should we bite the bullets, insist on congregations joining and spend resources on a few, more viable buildings. We can't just abandon them, because we will be required to pay to tear them down. We can sell some to new, pentecostal churches, setting up in the various ghettos but ti seems almost deceitful to sell them.
They are a tremendous drain on the shrinking resources of the UMC and a spiritual drain on bishops, DS's, struggling pastors and the frustrated, helpless congregants.

Anne Ewing more than 5 years ago

metrics

Ah, yes! Number tracking! At the small church level, rural ones especially, all that weekly tracking of attendance will only tell us when one of the families had a family reunion and whether it was "here or away." When the population of an area is constantly declining (and aging!) the "desirable outcomes" will be few and far between. So we will be sharing meaningless numbers just to make bishops and cabinets happy.
On a related note, as "deep change" is sought, the proof comes in changing the leadership. Rearranging districts does nothing if the same people (no matter how competent they may be, and many are!) are then placed in "old positions with new names."

jc more than 5 years ago

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