Trends in Churches of Christ - Part 2
Dale Jenkins has contact with churches of Christ as few others have. Here are his observations from interactions with over 1,500 churches and preachers. (edited from the original for length).
6. More liberal churches are shrinking.
It’s worth quoting his entire statement here: “I’ll state it clearly when a church says they have “restudied” instrumental music or women’s roles in the church and then announce they are changing what they have practiced for decades, they say they are making their decisions based on wanting to reach more people, but the decisions they are making are having the exact opposite effect. NOTE THIS: I have studied this extensively and have yet to find EVEN ONE church that experienced ANY significant new growth as a result of becoming more progressive on these and similar matters. They simply are not reaching more (people don’t come to church because of the music and if they did they’d find better music than yours), and they are running off people who will not be a part of IM churches or churches that go askew on the matter of leadership in worship.
7. Churches who are traditionalist are shrinking too.
“Churches that resist change seem to be on a rapid decline. That old saying “We’ve never done it that way before” is the reeks of decline and death. A church rooted in anti-change is in its essence no different than a church bent on change.” Jenkins continues, “Change resistance is resulting in a faster decline than ever before.”
8. Churches are taking longer to find ministers.
Whether its from a preacher shortage or from churches preceding more cautiously, this is the reality Jenkins observes.
9. More preachers seem to be exiting preaching than before.
Jenkins says, “Whether it is fatigue from the past 18 months, fear that churches are less stable than before, or that we have developed a soft generation of preachers, there does seem to be a shift going on. I dare not be an alarmist but of all of the trends mentioned above, this one concerns me the most.” He believes we must teach preachers entering the ministry about the realities of being a preacher. Preachers must be aware “That, like it or not, you have to have really REALLY thick skin to be effective in the work of the Lord.”