Thursday, 12 July 2007

Circuit mergers

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?


A Pianist said...

1. Closing churches & dwindling numbers- ministers do not regard mission as their job. If it's not theirs, then whose is it?
2. Why don't folk speak out at a meeting? My partner spoke out, but it was only afterwards that they came up & said they agreed. What is it they are afraid of?

Fat Prophet said...

I think that partly people are afraid of prolonging the meeting and being 'unpopular' with other members of the meeting. I did hear one or two rumblings of lets get on with it time things - I wonder if there should be a seperate circuit meeting that purely looks at the spiritual side of circuit life (bit radical this one) and doesn't get bogged down with some of the other stuff. Maybe cicruits need to look at employing evangelists or at least looking at doing something of an evenagelical nature!

Methodist Preacher said...

I think our full time staff ought to spend less time in committee and more time on the doorstep. A knock on the door and a personal invitation can work wonders.

Turbulent Cleric said...

I am in Circuit where one of our Circuit meetings each year is devoted to looking at where we are going. Fresh Expressions was our subject last month.

We are currently going through a Circuit Review as our Super is leaving in 14 months. Inevitably that does include looking at what we can afford including number of ministers. I think our people appreciate that to cut ministers will involve a scaling down or a reassessment of how we do things. Anyhow my churches had their Circuit Review meeting this week and those with whom I have talked seemed to find it a helpful step and were most appreciative of the member of the District team who was present.

Circuit mergers are going on in most Districts. Some have neen beneficial. Hopefully, those that happen will not just happen out of desperation but will be based on how best we can be involved in God's mission.

A Pianist said...

Surely, as for folk not wanting to prolong the meetings, then all they want is to sit there, nod, & then go home? The responsibility is the Chairman's for keeping the meeting on task & making sure the speakers (including himself) are short & to the point.

A Pianist said...

An assistant to a pianist says,the rainy day has come both literally and spiritually. there is a time for change and grasping the nettle otherwise the ship continues to sink slowly but surely.We are interested in continuance not the end.