The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has New Strategy to Reverse Membership Declines: Focus on Northern European Americans!

Image result for image of swedish family
Wanted: Blond, blue-eyed Northern Europeans to fill pews in an LCMS church near you.


“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 asCongregations 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.

Image result for image of 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.)

Christian pastor with a praise band and a mohawk haircut


16 thoughts on “The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has New Strategy to Reverse Membership Declines: Focus on Northern European Americans!

  1. Well the AG is growing by about %8 year and year, some of the Baptist denominations (not all of them) are also experiencing that sort of growth. Its the mainline denominations that are tanking.
    From my observation, the mainline denominations refuse to let go of their traditions and ‘get with the times’. By get with the times i don’t* mean compromise the Gospel – the ELCA did that and they lost more members than many denominations HAD members – I’m talking about rethinking how you COMMUNICATE it. How do you make ‘doing church’ in a way that resonates with where people are at today? Many Many Many years ago I was in a church work program (Director of evangelism) and I left the LCMS because I found out that there was a whole lot more to being a Christ Follower than I was being taught. Now I go all over the world helping out churches be more effective in ministry (Never saw that coming). God will use what ever is yielded to Him, to the extent that it is yielded to him. When the LCMS gets desperate enough that they will do ANYTHING that God wants – to the point of abandoning most of their traditions – then we’ll see God use them in an amazing way. If not, they will eventually cease to be a significant denomination.


    1. Yes, having a praise band, pyrotechnics, and circus animals will certainly bring in the crowds.

      However, the core beliefs are the same regardless of the “show”: the ancient superstition that the body of a first century peasant magically came back to life, flew off into outer space, and now sits on a golden throne at the edge of the universe where it rules as lord and master of the cosmos.

      Abandon your superstitions, my friend. Embrace science, reason, and rational thinking!


      1. What is a ‘praise band’?
        The church I go to and serve at doesnt have any pyrotechnics, and circus animals – well unless you count the production team but thats another issue all together.
        %66 of every one who sees our service does so via the internet. So we have a band who are very very technically proficient in that they are superb musicians and vocalists. The production team doesn’t give any points up for creating a good presentation – with out being gaudy.
        The message seems to really get peoples attention too.
        As it happens I dont see a lot of conflict with being a Christ follower and being well versed in physics, quantum mechanics and the like. As one who makes his living by thinking, I find that a very in depth study of the Bible (involving a considerable time spent in the greek and hebrew) results in the promises it contains that apply to me seem to be very reliable and trustable.
        So looking at it from a ‘The validity of science lies in its ability to predict’ perspective, it seems to predict rather well.
        As far as superstitions, I gave up the living by traditions ‘just because’ when i left the Lutheran church way back in the day.
        Some people find those traditions meaningful and such – very few of them are under 30 though.


        1. As it happens I dont see a lot of conflict with being a Christ follower and being well versed in physics, quantum mechanics and the like. As one who makes his living by thinking, I find that a very in depth study of the Bible (involving a considerable time spent in the greek and hebrew) results in the promises it contains that apply to me seem to be very reliable and trustable.

          There are tens of thousands of doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists and other educated professionals on our planet who believe that a sixth century man named Mohammad rode on a winged horse to heaven and that the Koran is perfectly compatible with science. I doubt you find their belief rational. So just because a lot of smart, educated people believe a particular supernatural claim in no way makes that supernatural claim more true or rational.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Sir, you seem to be really enjoying your PRIDE about this accomplishment! It seems like an interesting accomplishment for you. But, sadly, to some degree, the younger generation just wants to be entertained in church, and it has less to do with worshipping the Lord , Jesus Christ and serving! Tradition in the church sometimes goes overboard, and becomes a ritual. Do you suppose satanic worshippers have there rituals! Perhaps, they do! Actually, the beginning of what you are describing started decades ago, young adult individuals, and some younger married couples with children, waiting for the weekly entertainment! A place to get away from the hassles of life, an escape if you will, pick or choice whatever daily special church program from the menu. Also, in my opinion, contributing to the situation now for about 20 years, are corrupt politicians! But, that is another discussion for another time! Besides you studying the Bible, may I ask what other writers/authors/teachers impress you and why? I look forward to reading your response! PS – I am just an old married guy that grew up in a western culture. Blue jeans, western shirts and boots for some pastors were not unusual! The church rock bands, blasting church organs or screaming choirs are not for my wife and I now nor is having a hour or two of pick or choose your entertainment from the weekly menu. And old people as well as children and adults need to hear Gods Word!


      1. I was raised in the LCMS, confirmed in 1955. The LCMS in those days taught the Luthers Small Catechism strongly. We had to memorize Bible verses (which still come to me when needed). He LCMS has followed the lead of many churches of today of trying to put pleasing people ahead of pleasing our Lord. When people cannot see sin in their life, they in turn cannot see the need of a Savior.


  2. Hey Gary, somehow I stumbled upon this webpage and saw your comment. I hope you don’t mind that I am jumping in on the conversation, but since Carol hasn’t answered you in a few months, I thought I’d chime in.

    I need a savior because I’m going to die. Thoughts?


  3. I once belonged to a LCMS church for a short period. I have seen coldhearted Lutherans and pastors. I had one pastor only talked about his problems not the gospel. Within these past 4 years when the President of LCMS started Lutherans are white Republicans i lost all respect for religion. If you are a church that chooses to hate another person lifestyle, beliefs and the color of there skin then i hope all churches close their doors and go bankrupt. LCMS never spoke up during what was happening in our country with such hatred and divisions. That is when you need the support of the churches. Instead your ignored all of it just like Nazis Germany


    1. There is at least one LCMS pastor in the South who expresses sympathies for the Klan on his blog…and the LCMS has done nothing to kick him out of the denomination. Even though most of the people in the pews of LCMS churches are really, really nice people, the hierarchy of the Church is bigoted and even racist.


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