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Church and Main Podcast: Paul Moore
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Church and Main Podcast: Paul Moore

Episode 164 on Mainline Church Growth
Transcript

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This past summer I attended the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) my denomination in Louisville, KY.  It’s always a great time to catch up with other members of the church from across North America.  I chatted with two pastors from my home state of Michigan about the lay of the land in the Great Lake State.  The outlook isn’t that great.  I heard a lot of stories of churches closing and others struggling to stay open.  I thought about what ministry has been like here in Minnesota which has seen several churches close, especially in the last decade or so.  This is sadly a picture that has been repeated again and again within Mainline Protestant denominations as churches shrink and close.

Can anything be done or do we just have to accept decline?

Paul Moore is a Presbyterian pastor of a congregation in suburban Blaine, MN. He recently preached at his home congregation in Worthington, a small town in Southwestern Minnesota.  The congregation sold their large building to a Pentecostal congregation which will swap their small building with the Presbyterian church.  Paul notes that the sanctuary used to be filled with hundreds and when he preached this fall there were less than 50 in attendance.  

Reflecting on what happened to his home congregation, Paul notes what’s happening to his home congregation is taking place across the Presbyterian Church (USA). “In 2022 the Presbyterian Church (USA) had 747 fewer congregations and about 340,000 fewer members than in 2016. No business would tolerate that without making significant changes,” he wrote in his November blog post.  But he observes that while a business wouldn’t tolerate these losses, there isn’t much movement in the denomination to change things. “Though these statistics are shared every year, I’m almost astonished that these statistics haven’t been a clarion call to focus more on church growth as a denomination.”

I chatted with Paul about the shrinking Mainline Church and what he thinks can be done for churches to grow again. Paul believes that to grow you need to “grow young.”

Paul Moore has been the pastor of Chain of Lakes Presbyterian Church in Blaine, MN a church plant since 2009 and before that was the pastor of Community Presbyterian Church in Plaineview, MN for 16 years.

You can listen or watch here or subscribe where you listen to podcasts.

Show notes:

Preaching at my home church with sadness by Paul Moore
Growing Young in the PC(USA) by Paul Moore

Episode 83: Mainline Church Planting with Paul Moore
Chain of Lakes Presbyterian Church website

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Church and Main
Church and Main
Church and Main is a podcast at the intersection of faith and modern life. Join Pastor Dennis Sanders as he shares the stories of faith interacting with the ever-changing world of the 21st century.