Why aren’t we growing Part 2

The observation about transient populations was really just an aside on the way to the central findings of the research project into Sydney Anglican Churches.

According to the research, there is a surprisingly large amount of respect/sympathy in the community for churches and Christianity and a large number of people visit churches occasionally. The big problem seems to be that people don’t join churches after they visit.

The Research project suggests 3 reasons why people don’t join churches.

  1. The content and presentation of our church meetings are not sufficiently compelling.
  2. Lack of genuine spiritual growth among congregation members.
  3. Follow-up is inadequate.

I would say that our experience at Scots matches closely the findings of the research project. There are plenty of people who visit for different events. Parents are very happy to have their kids in RE and even say things like ‘we really should get along to church some time.’ But they never make quite make it. Obviously there are some genuinely hostile people in the community. But there are many who are simply busy and unmotivated.

So, what to do about it? Guess if I had the answer these posts would have a different title. But  I’ll have some thoughts in the next post.

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2 Responses to Why aren’t we growing Part 2

  1. Anthony Douglas says:

    I’m wondering about how much our response to nominalism was/is the problem.

    “It’s my duty as a citizen to be at a church”
    “Nonsense! The gospel is about justification by faith – you have no duty to fulfil to be a Christian”
    “Great -then I’ll come along when I feel like it.”

    Rather than relocate duty to being part of the ethical framework after conversion, we’ve preached against it for decades. And so people feel that when they serve others, they’re going above and beyond what’s expected of them. We’ve lost almost totally the ‘obedience of faith’.

  2. apricho says:

    I totally agree. I think the call to ‘follow Jesus’ is really helpful in this regard because it actually captures the obedience and the grace of faith.

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