Special mission journal explores LCMS membership decline

Researchers dissecting the decline in LCMS membership have come to one conclusion: The standard reasons offered for why the LCMS isn’t growing — everything from “If only we weren’t so conservative” to “We need more early childhood centers to attract young families” — don’t have anything to do with the steady drop in numbers.

In the special December issue of the Journal of Lutheran Mission, several demographic reports explain the major reason behind patterns in decline and offer suggestions on how the LCMS can reverse the trend. The reports also touch on how issues like delayed marriage, birth control, divorce, student debt and others have impacted the Synod.

Observations from the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, and the Rev. Heath Curtis, coordinator of LCMS Stewardship, also are included.

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Posted December 16, 2016

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6 Responses to Special mission journal explores LCMS membership decline

  1. John Bredehoft December 18, 2016 at 8:45 am #

    Professionally, done and tremendous effort to gather research… Much was said about Lutheran pre-schools , High Schools and youth programs but what about our Christian Day Schools K – 8?

    Salaries of Pastors were addressed well with excellent persuasive examples but what teacher’s salaries and benefits….

    Why the decline and closing of so many K-8th grade Lutheran Schools across the U.S.?

    I would agree that this study was outstanding and heartily agree with its conclusions but the LCMS teaching ministry K-8 has always been a driving force in perpetuating the Gospel and next generation Lutheran families

    I would encourage further research into this study to include the decline of K-8 Christian Education in the LCMS. There are many factors which caused this over time which can be ascertained by reading into the statics and research provided in your research;however without our K-8 Christian Day Schools young people will go else where.

    For His Children,
    John Bredehoft
    Concordia Teachers College, Seward Neb. 1972
    35 years in the Lutheran Teaching Ministry
    Masters Degree in School Administration, 1985 Pepperdine University
    Currently, Teaching in a Charter School in Tucson. AZ

    • Pastor Dale Lehfeldt January 6, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

      Pastor Lehfeldt is reaching 1600 households a week. He writes a one page message and shares that message personally to people from teens to those who are aged. Those who get the message are of all races, every economic level. Everyone is eager for the messages that are shared each week.

  2. Don Arndt December 21, 2016 at 9:41 pm #

    Are we asking God in the name of Jesus what he wants Missouri synod to know? In doing so then we are to still and quiet and listening for his voice to bring to our minds what his perfect solution is!

  3. December 22, 2016 at 9:05 am #

    This is an outstanding report for the church catholic beyond the LCMS. What a gift!! Thank you!!

    Anthony B. Bradley, PhD
    Associate Professor of Religious Studies
    Program Chair, Religious and Theological Studies
    Director, Center For The Study of Human Flourishing
    The King’s College
    New York, NY

  4. Alan Turley December 30, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

    I humbly suggest that the principle reason for the decline is a lack of outreach by lay members to those outside the church. This due to a lack of training of members by clergy.

  5. Pastor Dale Lehfeldt January 6, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

    Decline in outreach is the lack of Pastors who are willing to lead and laypeople who are willing to follow a Pastor who leads.

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