Friday, July 18, 2014

Church revitalizers struggle to balance optimism, pessimism

By Jeff Brumley
LifeWay President and CEO Thom Rainer has declared himself an “obnoxious optimist” about the state of American churches despite years of declines and closures in a post-Christian, post-church culture.
thom rainer130Thom RainerIn a column Rainer said he’s hearing, mostly anecdotally, about a growing commitment among Millennials and Boomers to revive struggling congregations.
The resulting revitalizations are occurring either through internal changes, church relocations, new leadership or merging with other congregations, he wrote.
“While I am encouraged to see the continued interest in church planting, I am also heartened to learn of an apparent upsurge in interest—even passion for—revitalizing churches.”
Other Baptists who work with struggling congregations aren’t willing to go that far, saying most congregations in decline either are unaware of their predicaments or unwilling to take the drastic actions needed to reverse course.
Some say a touch of pessimism may be in order.