Church membership is the new musical chairs in America. This sounds funny, but it is the sad truth. I will never forget when the late, great Pastor Nathan L. Simmons said to the congregation, “The average COGIC church member in Atlanta has been a member of at least 5 churches!” We all immediately began to count on our fingers how many churches we had been a part of during his sermon. Like that we have identified the problem, what might be some of the reasons for this constant and bewildering phenomena? Well, I decided to use my own experience and call on a couple of “good-friend” sources to complete a brief survey. I will fist share with you the survey and then I will discuss some of my observations and findings from my brief but important study. To all Pastors, please don’t use my survey without my expressed consent or permission.LOL
1. How many churches have you been a member of in Atlanta?
2. Are you currently happy with your church membership?
3. Is your Pastor competent?
4. Does your church have a current and active 501C3 status?
5. Do you own a set of your church’s by-laws?
6. Do you have access to your Pastor?
7. How many times have you attended bible study, if available, at your own church in the past 6 months?
8. Does your Pastor have a mentor or teacher that you know of at this time?
9. Are you active in ministry or do you just attend services?
10. If you could, would you switch out your Pastor and keep the members?
Now the respondents were phenomenal and transparent. It is apparent that the churches we currently have are just not meeting the needs of many of its constituents. A Pastor friend of mine, Elder W.Lashaun Jones(Refreshing Word Fellowship Church) preached a message, “Why another church?” I was blown off of my feet when I heard the statistics of how many people in the Metropolitan Atlanta area just no longer attend church. She exclaimed, “The range of regular church attendance is between 25% and 75%. weekly. The lower end is the more consistent group-25%.” In essence, most church members are no longer identifying with a specific ministry. The other startling statistic that Pastor Jones shares was , “It takes approximately 85 Christian believers to evangelize and witness to, and actually win one convert.” This is ridiculous. So my question is, “What is our church’s focus?” Is it the chicken dinners, Pastors’s and Choir Days or fellowship of people that already know each other.
Now what happens is when the church becomes irrelevant, the church member switches or moves to another church unit. This is not Schizophrenia, just the reality. People want to be feed, nurtured and stimulated spiritually. Traditions and conventions no longer work. Rushing through the rhetoric of communion is no longer acceptable. Poorly developed messages with no research or true execution of the scripture is no longer acceptable. A good choir or usher board will no longer make it happen. Yes, we do need new churches to address the issues that plaque or communities. More books need to be written that are correlated with biblical principals, as well as, with current societal ills. Now, I have to keep you coming back for more, so part II will give you a little more on this hot topic and survey results. (number, numbers, and more numbers.)