Download Activating the Passive Church: Diagnosis and Treatment by Lyle E. Schaller PDF

By Lyle E. Schaller

Written for either lay and ordained congregational leaders, this well timed publication diagnoses the reasons of church passivity, and formulates a style for combatting the matter. Dr. Schaller classifies church buildings in line with their inner dynamics (rather than denomination or geographical location), and demonstrates what percentage have conquer the "twenty-year syndrome" - that awkward time while rather new church buildings are likely to lose their feel of course. He additionally indicates how church buildings could make a soft transition from one pastor to a different, and the way new contributors can be utilized in developing a good church software.

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They are reluctant to turn to outside "experts" until the passage of time has greatly reduced the number of attractive courses of action. Another alternative, and the central theme of this chapter, is to break the complex nature of the passive church down into a series of symptoms or sources so that anyone can recognize them and say, "Aha! " is the first step in an effective response to any problem, whether it be a person choking to death on a piece of meat, the gradual deterioration of the governing body of a congregation into a "veto board," the "post-building blues" that often follows the completion of an exciting building program, or the passivity of the typical tenant church.

19. While one must be cautious about exaggerating the cause-and-effect relationship, there is a pronounced tendency toward an excessive degree of passivity in those congregations in which substantially more than one-half of the adult (age eighteen and over) members have been in that same congregation for twelve to fifteen years or longer, and are older couples with no children under eighteen at home, widowed, or never-married mature adults. " 20. Again it is difficult to prove a cause-and-effect relationship, but an excessive degree of passivity tends to be found in those congregations in which (a) there is a lack of a consistent and continuing emphasis on opportunities for personal and spiritual growth for adults, (b) there is a comparatively low level of competence in the members, and especially the leaders, in articulating their faith, (this characteristic often is reinforced by the lack of any programmatic emphasis to help people develop this ability), (c) there is a conspicuous lack of any systematic and continuing program of lay leadership development, (d) there are relatively few large group fellowship and social events designed to decrease the level of anonymity among the members, and (e) almost the entire responsibility for the evangelistic outreach of the congregation and for the operation of the new member recruitment system has been delegated to paid staff members.

A similar result may follow if the past decade has been filled with a series of relatively minor, but numerous, anxiety-producing experiences that caused some members to drop out because they prefer to avoid conflict or cannot cope with anxiety. 13. One of the more common causes of passivity is the widespread feeling among the members that they have been rejected by one or more of the previous pastors. This is especially common among those congregations that usually are served by a minister who (a) served that congregation while in school and left following graduation, (b) came directly from seminary and left for a larger congregation after a few years of experience in that first pastorate, or (c) left the parish ministry to accept a "promotion" to a bureaucratic office in the denominational structure.

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