Hartford Seminary

The Present State of the Church: A Workshop on How to Create a Future for Your Congregation

All indicators point to the fact that the church in America is struggling. Declining attendance, shrinking involvement, aging congregational populations all contribute to a growing sense that somethingisn?t working. Something has to change if we want vital congregations. If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, churches in North America will soon resemble congregations in much of Europe: irrelevant to the culture.

The question isn’t whether something needs to change, but what needs to change…and where to begin the transformation.

This workshop will take a candid look at the societal changes impacting the church and help identify which current trends are causing a disconnect between congregational dynamics and the lives people lead.

We will explore together various opportunities for addressing the threats that are challenging congregations, discuss examples of creative engagement with contemporary societal patterns, and wrestle over positive action steps?forward-thinking strategic moves that impact how you move forward in your ministry. This workshop will help you engage with the facts, consider possible ministry options, and leave with new ideas for your congregation.

Dr. Scott Thumma is Professor of Sociology of Religion and Director of Distance Education and the Doctor of Ministry programat Hartford Seminary. His academic residence is the Seminary’s Hartford Institute for Religion Research. He oversees the web portal “Insights into Religion” (http://religioninsights.org/), and is co-author of “Beyond Megachurch Myths: What We Can Learn from America’s Largest Churches” and “co-editor of “Gay Religion: Innovation and Continuity in American Religion.”

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