Notes from "American Church in Crisis" Lecture

Wednesday night I went to a lecture from Dave Olsen, the author or "American Church in Crisis". Here are my notes from that evening. (I would be VERY INTERESTED in your thoughts.)

DECAY - every organic entity diminishes and decays over time --> decay is often necessary for new growth to occur and appear
17% of population attending church on a given weekend (9% at evangelical churches)
Weekend attendance has stayed virtually the same over the last 16 years --> but our population has grown by the same number --> churches are not keeping up with population growth
There are always new people coming into our sphere of influence.
Young people are the critical group to reach --> churches who cannot reach them will steadily decline
We are in a decaying trend, and if focus or change doesn't happen, the trend will continue.
Christian ministry will get more challenging every year into the foreseeable future, which means ministry has to be better each year
Asian and Hispanic population grown is HUGE in Sacramento county in the last 7 years
Lowest evangelical attendance counties in CA are all (1-10) bay area counties in NORTHERN California
HIGHEST evangelical attendance counties in California are almost all inland (3- Placer 5-Kern 6-Sacramento)
86% of your neighbors are NOT going to a Christian church --> but Sacramento shows a high receptivity to the gospel
A lot less established religion and more and more "American" religiosity

the only way to figure out what works is to experiment...maybe fail, yes...but nothing happens if nothing is done
Two important questions your church should ask --> 1. Are we willing to pay the price of change? 2. Are we willing to create new pathways for the work of God to advance --> old pathways aren't working anymore
Why are older churches declining? (40% of established churches grow and 60% decline)
Will your church grow or decline this year?
If your church is old, it needs to think and act young.
Each year, your church grows a year older and loses its vitality if new choices are not being made to be, think, and act younger....EACH YEAR
SMALL (growing) churches have the advantage of intimacy --> LARGE mega churches have the advantage of ministry excellence --> MID-SIZED churches have to do BOTH better (connect fewer things better)

Decay happens without us doing anything --> Building takes energy and work --> Restoration happens has to come from the Holy Spirit
With change comes loss --> with loss comes fear
Our culture is NOW (not becoming but IS): Post-Christian, Postmodern, and Multiethnic
The two important words for established churches: HEALTHY and MISSIONAL
We got used to talking about Jesus in a secondhand manner --> we have to begin talking about Jesus in a real, engaging, FIRSTHAND manner
Speak of Jesus in fresh alive ways of his words and his actions

I would be VERY INTERESTED in your thoughts. These are notes on the lecture; not entirely my personal thoughts.


LISTENING TO: "...And The Summer Pool Party" by Pigeon John