Central Illinois District Churches 25 Year Study

The CID Evangelism Commission recently (May, 2014) completed a 25 year study (1987-2012) of statistics (membership, attendance, evangelism gains, etc.) of the congregations in our District.

Findings

You may view, download. and print the findings shown in the pdfs listed below.

 

Trends

Eternal Hope for the Lost

The CID Evangelism Commission recently (May, 2014) completed a 25 year study of statistics (membership, attendance, evangelism gains, etc.) of the congregations in our District.

Trends (and statistics) are not very exciting, but they can be helpful in giving a picture of the spiritual health, or lack of it in our congregations.  “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen”. (2 Peter 3:18);  as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (I Peter 2:2)

In 25 years the baptized membership of all CID congregations has gone from 75,584 to 65,158 (12.6% decrease).  The number of people each Sunday in our CID churches has gone from 29,627 to 21,012 (29.1% decrease).  The number of evangelism gains from the outside (adult baptism and confirmations) has gone from 728 a year to 326 a year (44.8% decreases).

19 CID congregations have increased their average worship attendance, the rest have plateaued and declined.  In the last year, of our study (2012), 58 of our CID churches did not baptize or confirm a single adult, and an additional 27 churches baptized or confirmed one adult (all CID 25 year church stats listed on CID website…www.cidlcms.org).

Realize that these very same trends are happening in almost all of our LCMS Districts;  and also is exactly what is happening as a whole in all churches of all denominations in the U.S.

We certainly don’t just want to be negative!  These trends remind us of the open doors and the opportunities that the Lord has placed before us.

Wonderful opportunities in a dark, sinful world which needs the Good News message that although we are sinners and cannot save ourselves – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Well, what can we do?

First, of course, we can’t save anyone, or have any strength on our own.  God gives us strengths and abilities and He alone saves.  “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”(Acts 4:12)…“no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:3).

God brings people to saving faith through Word and Sacrament (the means of grace).  We can be His instruments by telling the Good News - the Word of God to a dying World.  “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” (I Peter 3:15)

Also, we can pray for our pastors, our churches, her people, and pray that the Word of God may have free course and be preached to the joy and edifying of God’s people.
We can become God’s hands and feet and mouths and be used by God to be instruments to help and support His important work.

Our CID Evangelism Executive can help your congregation with these and other outreach ideas.

Of course only by God’s blessings can we add growth of souls to the churches.  We do this not for numbers sake – but that we might do God’s will and “Keep His Message Straight and Get It Out”.

Good practical ways to do this are by encouraging or helping our members (Friendship Witnessing) telling others around them the love of Christ;  by regularly having an adult confirmation class were we:
a. invite our members to attend.
b. invite our members to bring their unchurched friends, neighbors and relatives.
c. invite our church prospect list of unchurched people to attend.

…and receive encouragement and training to “get back” those members who neglect Word and Sacrament and are putting their lives in eternal jeopardy (“Getting Some Back” workshop available from CID).

It’s hard…it’s tough…some of our communities are small and dying…loss of population…economic hard times in our community…lower birth rates…a culture becoming rapidly more unchristian…our own members becoming luke warm and falling away…but God says:  “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Is 55:11)…“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10)

 

Central Illinois District - Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
1850 North Grand Avenue West
Springfield, IL 62702-1626
Phone: (217) 793-1802 • Fax (217) 793-1822
Email: cid@cidlcms.org

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