A few years ago, the stock price of Apple (Mac computers, iPod,…) was
trading around $15. In early June of this year it topped $120. While
many factors have contributed to this increase, one player is a
distinguishing characteristic of Apple products: design. “Apple’s
designs are now the stuff of legend – and the object of fascination and
envy,” says Dan Turner in MIT’s May/June issue of Technology Review.
There is much discussion around the United Methodist Church these days about how to measure church vitality. While there are many dimensions to this process, part of the analysis invariably deals with looking at numbers.
Every year the Research Office presents the latest UMC (USA) official church statistics. Generally the report sounds much like previous years and this year is no exception.
Year end collegiate basketball tournaments grab much media attention during March. Many offices have pools to see who does best at picking winners in the brackets. Always of interest are the Cinderella teams, if any, which upset the highly seeded and ranked teams.
While the 2005 General Minutes data has not yet been officially released, preliminary impressions suggest that the trends of recent years will continue. Several responses are possible, including apathy. Bishop Lindsey Davis commented that the announcement of the membership going below 8 million drew almost no commentary across the connection.
Reasons abound for the decline of the majority of United Methodist Churches. Among them is an inability of church folk to see beyond their walls. Often all they know about church is what they have experienced within their particular local church, or perhaps another similar church.
The North District in the Desert Southwest Annual Conference has seen a turnaround in the last three years. Prior to that time the largest grouping of churches in the district were declining, the next grouping was plateaued and the smallest grouping was growing. Now the reverse is true.
Major elections serve many purposes in addition to the obvious electing
of individuals to public service positions. In addition to the
political ramifications, they tend to accentuate issues which are of
concern to the voters. A corollary observation is that one can observe
which issues are not making the headlines.
The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection (aka..COR) just completed their annual leadership conference. This church was a new start in 1990 and now has weekly attendance well above 6000 people. They are glad to share their story with other churches and church leaders in hopes that they will experience new vitality in their ministries.
Within the congregational development community, a commonly held view
is that starting new churches is the most effective means of evangelism
A recent GCFA posting noted that preliminary analysis of the 2005 General
Minutes data shows a membership decline in the USA of just over 1% and an
attendance decline of 1.63%.
Pro-active mainline church leaders are known to watch the cultural and religious trends with an eye toward discerning anything applicable to their own context. As the mainlines continue to decline, new, relevant ministry approaches are sought.