What are the contributing factors to decline/stagnation in the Church of God

Posted on January 23, 2009 by travjohnson
John Stokes raised the idea that the COG is dying in an article he wrote onActscelerate. Whether you use the word death/dying or decline, there is little doubt that we have entered a period of negative growth. One can greet such conversation with shock. Or, we can value such conversation out of a desire for honest assessment. Without an honest assessment, the prescription for a solution will escape us.
Some of the factors that would lead me to this conclusion is the fact that:
— In 2006, it was reported that for the first time in our history we had closed more churches than we had opened.
— Receipts are down. While receipts are down as a result of the economy, it would appear that we got a jump on the economic downturn. Our statistical time lines do not totally align.
To better get a handle on our statistical trends, it would be helpful to have some type of regularly publicized or accessible denominational data. Upon coming to grips with the reality, we should find a level of excitement…not for loss but because we are faced with the opportunity to choose to enter a period of renewed missional focus. Reprioritizing the missional mandate is the priority. But, where do we start What has eclipsed mission as priority
Now, certainly these trends are not unique to the Church of God. Many denominations are likewise experiencing the first signs of decline. The SBC is one of those as well. So, we have to ask ourselves the questions:
— What are the common contributing factors shared by denominations who have begun experiencing decline at roughly the same time
— What are the known ministry/business practices that may be contributing factors to Church of God decline
— What are the contributing USA demographic factors
It is encouraging to see COG referenced articles like this since it begins the work of acknowledging the challenge of our church culture to the priority of the Great Commission mandate. What would you think would be the next steps to turning around a trend of decline at worst or stagnation at best
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