Sanctuaries that once were filled with 300 people of all ages now have only 30 in worship attendance. The youngest attending may be 60-something.
The nondenominational church meeting across town in former commercial property is growing as fast as it can add folding chairs. Some of your own members may be a part of that group.
Things have changed. But opportunities abound for the United Methodist Church and other mainline denominations.
7 Myths of the United Methodist Church looks at the attitudes and assumptions that keep the church from fulfilling its call to build discipleship-making faith communities. The myths challenge leaders to create environments of grace for people disconnected from the local church.
"When we face our current reality, we'll be able to move forward to recover more movement than institution, more grace than despair, more courage than fear and more life than death," writes Miller. "I invite you to join in a conversation about the future of the church. …Change will not happen until we are willing to share our hearts and listen with compassion to the deep-seated hopes and fears that we live with every day."
Miller includes writings from pastors who are making a difference for God in their communities. The essays break down the myths, present the realities, and celebrate the vision of those who are revitalizing congregations and building new ones. Contributors include: Duane Anders, Daniel Chang, Bau Dang, Joe Daniels, Dottie Escobedo-Frank, Rob Huckaby, Linda McCoy, Rudy Rasmus, Vance Ross, and David Simpson.
Join these effective, progressive church leaders as they explore the compelling need to connect with the world as it is. As in times past, the church will "co-create with the culture to bring the message of Christ to the world," fulfilling the gospel call.