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What if we were freed from the responsibility for the survival of the church? Not the church as a whole, but the local expressions of the church that we are tasked or called to serve. As a new church developer for the American Baptist Churches USA and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I have talked to many church groups, pastors, and enthusiastic folks who are starting churches and a lot more who are trying to keep churches from dying. About 4,000 new churches are started each year. Less than 10 percent will ever average more than 40 souls in regular Sunday attendance or last more than five years.
This is an excerpt from an essay in Renew 52: 50+ Ideas to Revitalize Your Congregation from Leaders under 50. Download the e-book for free.
Russell Rathbun a founding preacher at House of Mercy in St. Paul, Minnesota, the author of several books, including Midrash on the Juanitos (St. Paul: Cathedral Hill Press, 2010) and the curator of the lectionary blog, The Hardest Question.
Brought to you by Luther Seminary's Vibrant Congregations Project, with funding by the Lilly Foundation.