Ed Setzer's Analysis

Discuss current news and trends taking place in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Moderator: William Thornton

Ed Setzer's Analysis

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri Jun 12, 2015 7:35 am

"God will never be less than He is and does not need to be more" (John Koessler)

My blog: http://emporiadave.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Dave Roberts
Site Admin
 
Posts: 6827
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 2:01 pm
Location: Southside, VA

Re: Ed Setzer's Analysis

Postby KeithE » Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:48 pm

I do wonder how much this may reflect changing habits about deleting people from the roles.

Any thoughts about that?
Informed by Data.
Driven by the SPIRIT and JESUS’s Example.
Promoting the Kingdom of GOD on Earth.
User avatar
KeithE
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8093
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Ed Setzer's Analysis

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sun Jun 14, 2015 2:24 am

KeithE wrote:I do wonder how much this may reflect changing habits about deleting people from the roles.

Any thoughts about that?


Ed: Of what sort of changing habits are you thinking? I doubt that the numbers of individuals deleted because the church they attend has called a woman as pastor and/or are accepting and promoting a gay marriage is statistically significant. Those are the largest changes I am aware of in the past 50 years. Although they are matters of polity rather than habit. I think the SBC is probably just starting to feel the general decline of religious brand name commitment in the US.
User avatar
Ed Pettibone
 
Posts: 11963
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 4:46 pm
Location: .Burnt Hills, New York, Capital Area

Re: Ed Setzer's Analysis

Postby William Thornton » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:15 am

Churches are more likely to pay attention to membership rolls these days but one notes that weekly attendance has declined significantly from last year. Not mentioned is that a considerable chunk of the figures are "carry forward" sums from previous years. That is, churches aren't reporting at all. We assume they are exactly as they were the last year they did report.

Additionally, many states are in semi-rebellion in reporting some figures. they change the question or just don't ask churches for certain information.

Me? I say it's the mod/libs fault...that, and Obama. [tic]
My stray thoughts on SBC stuff may be found at my blog, SBC Plodder
User avatar
William Thornton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11577
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Atlanta

Re: Ed Setzer's Analysis

Postby Dave Roberts » Sun Jun 14, 2015 8:54 am

William Thornton wrote:Churches are more likely to pay attention to membership rolls these days but one notes that weekly attendance has declined significantly from last year. Not mentioned is that a considerable chunk of the figures are "carry forward" sums from previous years. That is, churches aren't reporting at all. We assume they are exactly as they were the last year they did report.

Additionally, many states are in semi-rebellion in reporting some figures. they change the question or just don't ask churches for certain information.

Me? I say it's the mod/libs fault...that, and Obama. [tic]


It just seems that outside the mega churches, some of which are growing, the SBC in joining the rest of Christianity. My guess is that even the attendance figures often reflect the best Sunday, not the last Sunday in September as the instructions specify, especially if a nearby pro-football team is playing that day or the night before was the Alabama/Auburn or Tennessee/GA game.
"God will never be less than He is and does not need to be more" (John Koessler)

My blog: http://emporiadave.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Dave Roberts
Site Admin
 
Posts: 6827
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 2:01 pm
Location: Southside, VA

Re: Ed Setzer's Analysis

Postby Tim Bonney » Sun Jun 14, 2015 9:46 am

William Thornton wrote:
Me? I say it's the mod/libs fault...that, and Obama. [tic]


You gave me a chuckle there William. I was wondering who the SBC was going to blame for the decline now that the liberals are all gone. But I see that we can still be blamed even in our absence.

I'd blame George Bush rather than Obama but he is a Methodist. :wink:

On the serious side though, I think what we are seeing is a cultural shift that transcends denomination and the liberal versus conservative arguments.

We have conservative United Methodists who have for years been blaming the declining membership of the UMC on liberalism. They often point to the SBC as the conservative success story. Recent figures have put a huge dent in that argument.

What I read in studies is that many younger Christians are telling surveyors, "I believe in Jesus but I don't think I need to be part of the organized Church to do that."
Tim Bonney

First UMC of Indianola, Iowa - http://indfumc.org
My Blog - http://timbonney.com
User avatar
Tim Bonney
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5480
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:17 am
Location: Indianola, Iowa

Re: Ed Setzer's Analysis

Postby Jerry_B » Sun Jun 14, 2015 11:03 pm

Numerical measurement is a false prophet of sorts. Not a good measure of actual faithfulness and they are so easily manipulated. William pointed out the reliance on churches reporting problem. Add to that the whole question of transfers who leave one brand of church and join another, I don't know if I would consider that an actual loss. Counting noses accurately is just so hard to do.

I also wonder if saving any denomination is a wise course of action? If the thing is trying to die, if new ideas are out there, does a denomination have the ability to respond? Increasingly the answer has been no. Does a Baptist church even need a denomination? If so, does it need to look like the ones we have right now?
Jerry_B
 
Posts: 440
Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 10:15 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Ed Setzer's Analysis

Postby Sandy » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:09 am

I know part of Stetzer's business is analysis of the membership data, but it is interesting that I've never really seen much from him about how it was gathered, or how to get a bunch of independent, autonomous churches to submit the ACP (Annual Church Profile) that contains a lot of information which many of them apparently do not consider all that important. There was a time when most of the DOM's in associations spent a lot of time and effort calling and goading churches into getting their forms turned in so they could be 100% in the association's annual report, but judging by the number of carry overs and blank lines in the state convention annuals, that's not happening anymore. Maybe Stetzer's office at Lifeway could come up with a more accurate way to gather data, or a more effective way to get churches to do it.

Churches and denominations decline for varying reasons. The drop off in attendance and membership in mainline denominations, which started in the 60's, and which has continued into the 21st century despite all kinds of efforts to arrest it, involved different reasons and patterns of decline than what has been a more recent decline among conservative Evangelicals, including Southern Baptists. The two standard Southern Baptist answers for every problem, "Be more committed to missions," and "Do a better job of evangelism," are probably connected to the root of the problem, but there's more to it than that. The methods of "doing evangelism" that were so successful in the 50's, 60's and 70's depended on social conditions and cultural life that are much different now. The way we do church is a cultural model more than it is a Biblical one, and so far, few have figured out how to separate the Biblical elements of "ecclesia" from the cultural model in such a way as to reach into the non-Christian community and win converts, at least, not in post-denominational, post-Christian America. We have some who have figured out how to do traditional church culture big enough and entertaining enough to deplete smaller congregations and gather in bigger groups, and that's about it.
Sandy
Sandy
 
Posts: 7870
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 5:10 pm
Location: Rural Western Pennsylvania

Re: Ed Setzer's Analysis

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:11 am

Jerry_B wrote:Numerical measurement is a false prophet of sorts. Not a good measure of actual faithfulness and they are so easily manipulated. William pointed out the reliance on churches reporting problem. Add to that the whole question of transfers who leave one brand of church and join another, I don't know if I would consider that an actual loss. Counting noses accurately is just so hard to do.

I also wonder if saving any denomination is a wise course of action? If the thing is trying to die, if new ideas are out there, does a denomination have the ability to respond? Increasingly the answer has been no. Does a Baptist church even need a denomination? If so, does it need to look like the ones we have right now?


Jerry,

United Methodists struggle with what to count because one of the trends is that people are more interested in participating in ministry activities and missions than sitting in the pew on Sunday. So someone who is only in worship once or twice a month may be working in a weekly mission project. Is that person active? Sure, but not by the old definition of having your butt in the pew every week.

As to denominations, I do think that local churches need a connection outside of themselves. I don't think it has to be a denomination in a traditional sense but churches that do not connect to other churches are one step closer to turning inward. Churches that turn inward can become idiosyncratic, self absorbed, and unhealthy.

Churches that don't have outside connections are havens for abusers of power (laity or clergy) who create their own little kingdoms.

It is one of the reasons I'd never join a non-denominational church. It is like being asked to drink out of a bottle without a label. You have no idea what you are getting. It might be water, wine, or strychnine.
Tim Bonney

First UMC of Indianola, Iowa - http://indfumc.org
My Blog - http://timbonney.com
User avatar
Tim Bonney
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5480
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:17 am
Location: Indianola, Iowa

Re: Ed Setzer's Analysis

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:29 pm

To me, the main thing that Setzer is saying is that the SBC is not immune to the malaise affecting Christianity. I like Sandy's description of the megas as traditional with entertainment to deplete smaller churches. The problem for the SBC is that depleting the smaller and mid-size churches depletes the money from the denomination because they have been far bigger givers, per capita, than the megas have ever been. The explosion of the mega churches and the continuing election of mega pastors to lead seems to be biting the hand that has fed the SBC since its beginnings.
"God will never be less than He is and does not need to be more" (John Koessler)

My blog: http://emporiadave.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Dave Roberts
Site Admin
 
Posts: 6827
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 2:01 pm
Location: Southside, VA

Re: Ed Setzer's Analysis

Postby Sandy » Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:11 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:To me, the main thing that Setzer is saying is that the SBC is not immune to the malaise affecting Christianity. I like Sandy's description of the megas as traditional with entertainment to deplete smaller churches. The problem for the SBC is that depleting the smaller and mid-size churches depletes the money from the denomination because they have been far bigger givers, per capita, than the megas have ever been. The explosion of the mega churches and the continuing election of mega pastors to lead seems to be biting the hand that has fed the SBC since its beginnings.


No, the SBC is not immune to what is becoming a post-denominational, and post-Christian culture in this country. But I think this is different than the earlier decline of mainline Protestant denominations in the 60's and 70's. There's been a cultural paradigm shift, and we really are seeing a post-denominational, and post-Christian era come about. Churches have contributed to the decline by growing inward, separating themselves from the ability to build the kind of relationships necessary to "do evangelism," and insulated themselves inside a deceptive cocoon of religious entertainment.

When I was growing up in church, I remember hearing our pastor talk about the importance of setting an example, because whether we realized it or not, people were watching. Well, they were. And an awful lot of them didn't really like what they saw, and decided not to invest themselves in it. The result is that most denominations are now made up of congregations of people mostly past 55 years of age, or older in some cases, and counting the empty seats every time someone passes away. Those younger people still engaged in the church culture have drifted off to the mega churches, either SBC ones, or more often than not, a non-denominational one, especially if it exhibits a Charismatic flavor. Many SBC churches were built more on the cultural preferences and habits of the South than on the gospel, and as that older, caucasian population dwindles, even in Dixie, so does church membership.
Sandy
Sandy
 
Posts: 7870
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 5:10 pm
Location: Rural Western Pennsylvania


Return to SBC News and Trends

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest