How Transient is YOUR Congregation?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by righteousdude2, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. righteousdude2

    righteousdude2
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    My pastor shared, that here in California, a recent study showed that average person/family remains with the same church for approximately three years. That means the church has three years, or approxiamately 36 months, to reach and teach that individual or family.

    What would you say the average stay for individuals, and families in your particular church is? And have you as a pastor or member, seen a positive change in longevity since you have started preaching [pastor] or attending [member] the church????

    Second, what are you doing to encourage people to stay around for as long as possible?

    Finally, is the transient spirit in believers hurting them more than the church, or vice versa? Or, do you see people failing to stay forever with the church a problem?

    Thanks! :type:
     
  2. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    This should be good!:smilewinkgrin:
     
  3. Aaron

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    If the message being preached is true and the sheep are being fed, the behavior of the average Californian is irrelevant.
     
  4. Earth Wind and Fire

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    And what is an "average Californian "
     
  5. Aaron

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    Gay? ..............
     
  6. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    We live in a transient society, and by that I don't mean just the fact we move a lot -- which we do. Our society, both in the church as the body of Christ and outside of it, is transient in thought, fad, commitment and study. Nothing holds our attention for very long, nothing cracks through the shell of self to really make an impact on our lives. That is, not until we really let Christ get hold of us and teach us. David Wells is the "Distinguished Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology" at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, and wrote a book in 2005 titled Above All Earthly Pow'rs: Christ in a Postmodern World. I read it a few years ago, but this quote from it has stuck with me ever since:
    I think that illustrates perfectly why churches can only hold onto members for three years. Many of our churches today capture imaginations, not hearts. Until a man or woman is convinced of the absolute necessity to dig deeper and grow richer in Christ, he/she will lose interest and move on to the next entertainment venue.
     
    #6 thisnumbersdisconnected, Apr 21, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2014
  7. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    This is a good perspective. We have a small church plant in a commuter town about 1/2 from Dublin. We have a handful of families who are committed, but most stop in, stay for a while, and because the big Pentecostal church in the next town has so much 'more to offer' they move on there.

    It is quite a challange.
     
  8. salzer mtn

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    One has to be careful if they move around to much and are never satisfied in any church or else they will find themselves fulfilling these scriptures of a man that never knew Christ. Luke 11:24-26 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I cameout. And when he cometh he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of the man is worse than the first.
     
  9. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Is this your argument for one loosing their salvation?
     
  10. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Wow....you are in rare form today.....:laugh:
     
  11. preachinjesus

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    I think the OP is a worthwhile discussion and will offer my perspective.

    We are currently living in a suburb close to a major metro area. Our county continues to see substantial growth, but also even more substantial "in and out" from folks coming and going. We have recently done demographic studies for our area and know that we are a fairly affluent location with an above average educated population that is ethnically mixed. These are important factors for understanding who we are reaching. What also found out is the average stay in our community is 32 months for a family unity.

    We weren't at all surprised.

    Our staff believes the we have three groups in our church. We have our core, embedded folks who have been here for six plus years and many who helped found the church. We then have our connected people who have been here for 2-6 years. Then we have our recent arrivals group who have been here 6 months - 2 years.

    We lose about 1/3 of our people every year just to normal turn over. That is, they move out of the area. Because we've grown to a healthy size, we also get some folks who are on the local church carousel and hop on for about 4-9 months (about a school year) and then go somewhere else. These individuals generally just attend, they don't give much, they don't serve, they simply attend occasionally.

    Our goal is to preach Christ and Him crucified every week, encourage and equip believers to take up a great vision for God, and challenge everyone to get involved with what God is doing in our midst.

    Since we do covenant membership we ask people to be involved at a deeper level with more meaningful commitment that isn't your traditional membership program. In doing this we ask them to renew their covenant. Part of this is to show that we value membership and members, it is also to remind them of our purpose and vision every year.

    We also have an intentional process of connection to make sure everyone who wants to get connected does and finds ways to serve, grow, and share with others. Some people won't take those steps, some people won't attend more than twice a month. However, for those who want to be more involved we try to be intentional about showing them how.

    Part of the challenge of Christianity in America is the consumerism that is embedded in how so many understand their faith. We challenge that head on and allow the Holy Spirit to convict and move in people's lives. When they respond we affirm and show them how to move into deeper connection.

    The transient nature of our congregation is probably very similar to that of the one mentioned in the OP. Most of this is because of where we exist and how that community is structured. So, we try to take advantage of any time we get with people. Hope that helps. :)
     
  12. Berean

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    I am a member of a downtown church that is 160 years old that is traditional and has a Pastor that is solid and preaches the Word and is in his 22nd year. He followed one with 19 years who also preached the word with out fear or favor. Excluding those who have died I would estimate that 85% are still there when I joined.the other 15% are the ones who have either moved out of the area or are transient. In the 45 years I have seen people leave and come back as many as 4 times. As Aaron said "It is the WORD". There are many reasons people change churches such as Seeking a bigger or better Youth Group, don't like the style of music, falling out with staff member. This list could go on.
     
  13. salzer mtn

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    No, this man made a counterfeit profession of faith, for a time the evil spirits left him alone but were not cast out by the Spirit of God. He walketh through dry places, the gospel is not fulfilling to his soul, he finds no fellowship with the brethren. He seeks rest, he thought religion would be fair sailing but he cannot handle the storms of life. He begins to look back at the former days and say's I will return to my old estate, his house is swept and garnished by religion but not washed by salvation. When people that go back into the world once they have been a short time or a long time in religion they are always more wicked than before. They have taken seven other spirits more wicked than themselves and the last state is worse than the first.
     
  14. Thousand Hills

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    Interesting, would you care to start a thread on Covenant Membership sometime for us?
     
  15. Thousand Hills

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    How Transient?

    At the church we recently left I had the opportunity at one time to review membership information, there was one family several years back whose names were listed, a side note was written "Joined - never came back"
     
  16. Thousand Hills

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    So you attend a downtown church (most likely land locked, most likely not a functional building, I imagine you don't have ball fields, large gymnasium, and other creature comforts, etc.), yet you are still stable because THE WORD is preached? Interesting to say the least. :thumbs:
     
  17. righteousdude2

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    Homophobic ... maybe, BUT!


    ... you are pretty much right on in your observation of this state!

    We have gays, and then we have a growing, or should I say socially/culturally evolving group of Californian's that is more accepting of gays than just ten years ago! Some of this has to do with our liberated public school systemnow teaching the influence of gay's on history, PLUS, teachers are required to take time to teach their classes that it is okay if a student has two mommies or two daddies.

    ON top of this, we allow the children who are confused as to their sexuality as well as those who think they are not of the sex they were born into, to use the bathroom of the sex they feel more drawn to, and this includes gym and showers!

    No wonder this state is bleeding and leading the way in gay sympathizers. Oh, and don't forget, we have Hollywood to the south and Frisco to the north!

    So, while your comment could be construed as homophobic, the truth is, this state is more "gay" than most others!

    And most churches are "evolving" too, as they are finding ways to minister to gays by being gay friendly! However, call it what they want, in the end, associating with gays does break down the walls, and eventually it is easier to bring this culture into the church without too much opposition! And most pastors will tell you, that gays give well, and serve well too! No wonder the church is evolving to accommodate this controversial group!

    In fact, if a vote on Prop 8 were held today, the right to marry would win hands down! No matter what we believe the Bible says, the view towards gays has changed, and it has changed quite rapidly, and I believe it started in the schools where children of gays, and gay childre rub elbos with church kids and non churched kids daily, and this helps them to see gays in a different light, leading to a more favored opinion that will carry over into adulthood. This started a while back, and the millennials are now no longer seeing gays as a threat to anything, including the church!

    Like a gay professor said thirty years ago, there is no need to march in the streets, for time would change public opinion! Of course all of this is fodder for another OP, so .... back to the subject at hand! I just had to compliment you for a very good observation! :thumbs:
     
  18. Earth Wind and Fire

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    That is nauseating. And the churches participate?
     
  19. Earth Wind and Fire

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    That is the difference between religion vs having the presence of God. Truthfully there is more religion out there. No surprise.
     
  20. nodak

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    We have a fairly large oil field contingent, when means people being transferred often.

    And we have the usual that church hop for bad reasons.

    We have some that church hop for good reasons. Maybe they have grown to need meat in a milk giving church, or become Calvinists in a dispy church, etc. Maybe they no longer will attend a contemporary church and seek hymns, or vice versa. Not necessarily being evil childish people.

    We have our core people. Tried the covenant membership thing, but many simply felt that violated their freedom under the Lordship of Christ and refused to sign, so it sort of fizzled.

    But then, if your focus is building the Kingdom and not on building one little fiefdom, it all works out.
     

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