“We are in the process of identifying zip codes across the U.S. where the demographics are favorable to the LCMS but where we don’t have churches.”
–LCMS President, Matthew Harrison
Excerpt from a secretive LCMS group’s website known as, Congregations Matter:
At the 2017 Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) Fall Leadership Conference, President Matthew C. Harrison cast a dark vision for future membership numbers in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod [LCMS]. During a conference where attendees hope to hear positive motivation from our Synod President, instead Harrison spent his time attempting to convince attendees that numerical decline is inevitable. His answer to LCMS decline is to focus ministry efforts on areas where Northern Europeans are in the majority in America. Harrison spoke of the prediction that our beloved LCMS will decline over the next 10-15 years by over 500,000 members! A decline of 500,000 members would be a 25% drop in LCMS membership rolls.
At 8 minutes into his speech, Harrison ponders the three “Conventional Solutions” that others have identified as “the answer” [to declining membership in the LCMS]: increase evangelism, increase natural growth, and expand our ethnic mix to “look like America.” For most of the rest of his speech Harrison explains why these answers won’t work in the LCMS.
Gary: Wow! The top brass in St. Louis has really gotten desperate since I left the LCMS in 2014. When I was still in the denomination the big debate was whether or not to use evangelical-style worship services to drive up attendance. You know, casual contemporary services where the pastor wears blue jeans, a faded sweater, sneakers and sits on a bar stool, while a big screen overhead displays the lyrics to hip Christian rock music, and a praise band, behind the pastor, takes up most of the front of the church, etc..
So the current plan for LCMS growth is planting churches in “Northern European” areas of the United States. Wow! I can’t believe that this hasn’t hit the mainstream press! They would have a field day.
I guess the Lutheran version of the Gospel just doesn’t sell to Southern Europeans, Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asians.
What a joke.
The LCMS is dying for the same reason the Southern Baptist Convention and most other Christian Churches in the United States are dying: Young people just aren’t buying what churches are selling anymore. It will be fascinating to see the research as it comes out explaining why this phenomenon is happening (I predict that one big factor will be the Internet: Modern, educated young people no longer accept without question all the supernatural claims of religion. The Internet has given everyone the ability to quickly verify any claim.)