I grew up in churches that had programs for everybody and everything. We had programs for preschoolers, children, teens, adults, and senior adults. And, we had missions programs, Bible study programs, training programs, music programs, and sometimes programs about programs (I am not kidding about that last one).
Well, it’s no longer about programs. I read lots of blogs. Lots. The trend I see is churches and pastors talking less about programs and more about helping others. That is a good thing. Even the Episcopalians are saying it:
For the past 25 years, since Arlin Rothauge wrote Sizing Up a Congregation, the “gold standard’ for most congregations in the Episcopal Church (not to mention churches in lots of other denominations as well) seems to have been “let’s work toward becoming a Program Size parish.”
So, if it’s such a great model, then why isn’t it working? Churches are cutting their associate positions right and left. Congregations that have languished with an Average Sunday Attendance of between 100 and 150 for the last 50 years have never “gotten over the hurdle”… despite well-meaning clergy and lay leaders; despite every new gimmick, or program, or study, or consultant they’ve tried.
So there you are. It’s no longer about programs. It really is about people. That’s what it’s supposed to be about — loving God and loving others. Pretty simple. You don’t even need a program to tell you that.
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