America's third largest denomination (for now) paid $200,000 to survey its 33,000 churches and discovered that only "about 5,500 Methodist churches were considered vital." Survey conclusions indicate that more churches should have programs similar to secular organizations.
-- From "Methodist survey aims to stop membership decline" by Rose French, Associated Press 9/1/10
It's the conundrum [mainline/liberal] Protestant denominations with declining memberships and shrinking budgets are desperate to solve: How to stem the decades-long losses and attract new worshippers.
One of the successful churches is St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, which has seen its membership steadily grow over the years to nearly 6,200.
The church's senior pastor, the Rev. Kent Millard, said it has offered both traditional and contemporary worship services for years. At a contemporary service, congregants kick back with doughnuts and coffee, a live band plays music and clips from Hollywood movies are shown to illustrate Gospel messages.
"Worship is like going to a mall," Millard said. "There are all kinds of stores. Some people like specialty shops. Some like department stores. When you have variety, people can go where they like."
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