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Thread: The Great Church Shuffle

  1. #1
    tWebber Thoughtful Monk's Avatar
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    The Great Church Shuffle

    I've lived in my neighborhood for over 20 years. Recently it stuck me how many changes in churches there have been over that time. It been really busy in the last 2 years or so. As best as I can reconstruct, here's what happened.


    1. Baptist church closes. Building stands empty.
    2. An independent church relocates. An independent Bible Baptist moves in.
    3. A store front independent church relocates out of the area.
    4. A Roman Catholic Church in the area is consolidated with two others into a new parish.
    5. A Reformed church closes. A Presbyterian Church in America congregation moves in.
    6. An independent church pastor retires. The new pastor renames the church.


    Now's here's what happened in the last 2 years.
    1. A Harvest Bible Chapel opens in a store front.
    2. The church in #6 consolidates with another independent church. As best I can tell, the pastor is now gone.
    3. A sign appears outside of #1 above that an independent church is moving in. I haven't seen any announcements on services, though.
    4. An Orthodox Presbyterian church consolidates with the other one in town. The Bible Baptist from #2 above moves to their building.
    5. An Evangelical Lutheran Church in America closes. An independent church moves in.


    What's the only constant in my neighborhood I can think of: a chapel run by the Fathers of the Society of Pope St. Pius V.

    I'm trying to make sense of what it means. A few random ideas:
    1. More evidence of the decline of the old mainstream and RCC
    2. New denominations are coming. (Harvest and Calvary come to mind here.)
    3. More independent churches will be the norm.


    Any thoughts?
    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

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  2. #2
    tWebber Rushing Jaws's Avatar
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    Sounds pretty much as expected. I would expect to hear more in the future from the other, non-Roman, ancient Churches, like the Copts. More dwindling of the RCC is to be expected, and more new forms of Protestantism.

  3. #3
    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    With some exceptions (like areas that are rapidly growing), I don't see church planting as a big need in the United States. The existing churches are there; that's not the problem.
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
    I've lived in my neighborhood for over 20 years. Recently it stuck me how many changes in churches there have been over that time. It been really busy in the last 2 years or so. As best as I can reconstruct, here's what happened.


    1. Baptist church closes. Building stands empty.
    2. An independent church relocates. An independent Bible Baptist moves in.
    3. A store front independent church relocates out of the area.
    4. A Roman Catholic Church in the area is consolidated with two others into a new parish.
    5. A Reformed church closes. A Presbyterian Church in America congregation moves in.
    6. An independent church pastor retires. The new pastor renames the church.


    Now's here's what happened in the last 2 years.
    1. A Harvest Bible Chapel opens in a store front.
    2. The church in #6 consolidates with another independent church. As best I can tell, the pastor is now gone.
    3. A sign appears outside of #1 above that an independent church is moving in. I haven't seen any announcements on services, though.
    4. An Orthodox Presbyterian church consolidates with the other one in town. The Bible Baptist from #2 above moves to their building.
    5. An Evangelical Lutheran Church in America closes. An independent church moves in.


    What's the only constant in my neighborhood I can think of: a chapel run by the Fathers of the Society of Pope St. Pius V.

    I'm trying to make sense of what it means. A few random ideas:
    1. More evidence of the decline of the old mainstream and RCC
    2. New denominations are coming. (Harvest and Calvary come to mind here.)
    3. More independent churches will be the norm.


    Any thoughts?
    In my immediate neighborhood, the local Lutheran church has built an expansion and the Catholic school has become a Catholic nursery, then a Protestant independent church, both in the last 5 years or so. There are, um, 7 or 8 (Protestant) churches within a couple miles of my house, though I've never stepped foot into any of them. The Baptist church I attended when I moved here relocated shortly thereafter (closer to me), and the Orthodox church I now attend has erected a dedicated church building in place of the converted house we were using.
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  5. #5
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Our Church - Baptist - has grown by FIVE TIMES over the past 5 years. The Cowboy Church near us started with 40 people and now runs 350. The Lutheran Church with whom we shared our building is now grown from 70 to 150.

    In our area, the Churches that are preaching the Word are either growing or holding their own - the churches that have compromised the Word are decreasing in membership pretty steadily.
    Every problem is the result of a previous solution.

  6. #6
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Interestingly enough, though, the "Shuffle" is something many of us in the ministry call the fact that many people just "change churches", so your "new members" are "stolen sheep" from other flocks.

    I like to get "new sheep" -- unchurched and/or unsaved people.

    The other "shuffle" we reference is the "Methodist Shuffle" where a pastor gets reassigned every two years, or "shuffled off" to another congregation.
    Every problem is the result of a previous solution.

  7. #7
    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    Interestingly enough, though, the "Shuffle" is something many of us in the ministry call the fact that many people just "change churches", so your "new members" are "stolen sheep" from other flocks.
    And it seems that more often than not it has nothing to do with the pastor/minister/priest or the message being taught but with things like who else is attending the other church (very important to those who attend primarily to socialize or establish business connections), what sort of "extracurricular" activities are being offered (they have pot luck dinners twice a week?) or the other church is just closer.

    I'm always still in trouble again

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  8. #8
    tWebber Thoughtful Monk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    And it seems that more often than not it has nothing to do with the pastor/minister/priest or the message being taught but with things like who else is attending the other church (very important to those who attend primarily to socialize or establish business connections), what sort of "extracurricular" activities are being offered (they have pot luck dinners twice a week?) or the other church is just closer.
    I must be unusual then. I'm formost looking at what is the message being preached. Especially will the message tell me what I need to hear not what I want to hear.
    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

    My time to be on TWeb is unpredictable. It may take a few days for me to see your post and respond.

  9. Amen Cow Poke, mossrose, One Bad Pig amen'd this post.
  10. #9
    tWebber Thoughtful Monk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsGambit View Post
    With some exceptions (like areas that are rapidly growing), I don't see church planting as a big need in the United States. The existing churches are there; that's not the problem.
    I realized that except for the Presbyterian Church in America and Harvest Bible Chapel, none of the churches involved were plants. They have been in the area for awhile and finally got a building or a better building.

    I think the shuffle speaks more to churches that failed to sustain themselves (no significant evangelism or member recruitment so the members dwindled to where the church couldn't sustain itself; little or no succession planning; and in one case from I understand, out right incompetence in the pastor) that plants coming into the area.
    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

    My time to be on TWeb is unpredictable. It may take a few days for me to see your post and respond.

  11. #10
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    All I know is in my town you can't spit without hitting a church. There seems to be more churches than gas stations. Mostly nondenominational and baptist, but some catholic, some I don't know what (I suspect one is some weird cult) and at least 1 Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall.

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