Baptists aren’t the only denomination worrying about the decline of church membership. Episcopalians are too, but, as Very Rev. Kevin Martin, dean of St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Dallas, Texas, writes, “many leaders are too complacent and too invested in the status quo, even if it is failing,” to make the necessary changes. Here are my notes on his four suggested ways to increase church membership:
1. “Develop” younger leaders to attract younger members
2. Start new congregations in receptive (and younger) communities by moving away from a structural church and innovating new ways to form congregations
3. Give more resources to existing congregations that are ready to revitalize
4. Focus on the “low-hanging” fruit: Latinos
Writes Martin, “Our problem is not that we do not know the way toward a turnaround but that, like most failing organizations, we lack the corporate will to make it happen.” And he means corporate. He cites the experts that surrounded General Motors when the corporation hit the skids. Maybe the Episcopal church should negotiate a bail out? That’s kind of what the Baptists plan to do by raising member tithing from 2.5 to 10%.