Methodists look for creative ways to reverse membership losses – News – Times Reporter

COLUMBUS It used to be that when a United Methodist church was built, people came without coaxing. Now, the denomination’s leaders say they have to be a little more creative when it comes to getting people through the doors.

COLUMBUS It used to be that when a United Methodist church was built, people came without coaxing. Now, the denomination’s leaders say they have to be a little more creative when it comes to getting people through the doors.

When the Methodists, America’s third-largest denomination, now with a little more than 7 million members, realized they were losing members nationally and internationally, it jarred leaders from their complacency, said Linda Middleberg, superintendent of the church’s Capitol Area North District, which includes Columbus. The denomination has lost about 1 million members over the past 20 years.

“Sometimes, I think the church is at its best when we’re feeling a little … fearful for the future and we get creative,” she said.

And the church has gotten creative locally by working to open new churches and revive existing ones.

Some churches are starting branch campuses, and some church leaders are starting new programs in their existing churches, said Brad Aycock, director of new church development for the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church.

“If you don’t do something new and different, you’ll start just slowly declining,” said Middleberg, whose district encompasses much of the city of Columbus. “As we watch churches plateau, if we can come in alongside them and help with resources, training, coaching, money, etc., we can help them do something new and exciting so they start the cycle all over again.”

About two years ago, the conference realized it needed to be more aggressive in opening new churches, so it hired Aycock, a former entrepreneur in Missouri who sold his business to enter the ministry. He’s set up think tanks…

Read the full article from the source…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *