By: Rev Ed Schneider, M.P.Th.
80% of all existing Protestant churches in the United States have lost a significant amount of attending and affiliated membership in the last 4 decades.
The reality of the vast majority of all human reaction is primarily based on how each individual perceives incentives that are being offered. Is any given incentive compelling enough to profoundly prompt a tangible and sustainable reaction?
Like all incentive based reactions, it all depends on how a person values or DOESN’T value the incentive being offered. What is perfectly reasonable, right and personally valued by one individual may not produce the same judgment in another.
A simple example of this would be:
- With prospective new Christian “A” staying out of the never ending flames of a torturous Hell would be all the incentive they would need to run into the arms of Christ.
- With prospective new Christian “B” believing they would be enabled to walk along the eternal streets of gold, hand in hand, with a loving, forgiving and Divinely accepting God would foundationally resonates with their soul.
Why do I mention this sociological fact?
No human being sustainably commits to anything unless or until they perceive a strong value…or personal incentive…to what has been presented to them.
It has become quite apparent to me one of the foundational causes that directly affects Christianity’s significant membership losses over the last several decades is distinctly connected to a severe loss of personal “incentive” to be connected to the Christian faith.
Without an honest re-evaluation of how non-participation of existing “members” or the seemingly uninterested general public’s devaluing of an active involvement in a personal Christian association….there is ZERO CHANCE….of positively transforming the loss of committed members.
Another question to ask is,
“What can the generic Christian movement do to dramatically alter the methodology they are using to better attract and retain potential new followers of Jesus Christ?”
“I don’t know.” Isn’t a good answer.
This is a real problem that we as Christian leaders can no longer hide from.