Not long got back from circuit meeting where two items we discussed were to do with meeting the Circuit Budget and the possibility of the three circuits that cover parts of Walsall becoming one circuit or two circuits rather than the current three.
One of the points made in both discussions was that our church numbers are declining and I recognise that this is true of many churches not just those in Methodism. We discussed various options relating to the possible ways ahead for the circuits but no mention was made of what I believe to be the fundamental issue here and that is declining membership, or conversely how we increase membership which would help both the financial situation and may help to remove the concerns about having to close churches due to dwindling membership which may lead to the eventual forced merger of circuits.
I do wonder if some of the things that are happening with fresh expressions will help to bring more people in to churches and whether there needs to be a wider take up on some of these ideas.
I remember reading years ago about a church that used to have a traditional service in the morning and more modern services in the evening and as a consequence had two almost totally different congregations. They then started having the services the opposite way round once a month and those who normally only came to one or the other attended at their normal time and found there was something in the services that they could quite enjoy. Before long services became a mix of traditional and modern and membership started to grow.
How often do folk in our churches discount something without even experiencing it?