We are a congregation that is becoming older and grayer. We have tried to build a Sunday morning children’s program, but have struggled with getting families to attend. This is also a reflection on why we struggle with our day school. Our day school currently has 23 families who are members of St. Peter’s, which totals 31 children K-8.
Baptized and Confirmed Members
St. Peter’s is seeing a drop in worship attendance of our baptized and confirmed members. This is not acceptable for those who have been baptized and publicly confessed their faith through confirmation. We need to address the worship life of our baptized and confirmed members.
LCMS Worship Attendance Trends
The trend of dwindling worship attendance is not just a St. Peter’s issue. It is also evident throughout the LCMS, as well as other Christian denominations. In the last 30 years, the U.S. population grew by 24%, and the LCMS declined by 23%. (Based on U.S. Census and LCMS reported statistical data between 1984-2014.) Are we as staff, leaders, and members of St. Peter’s willing to accept this decline or will we work to reverse this trend no matter the cost? Every member will need to be confronted to examine his or her own worship life. The staff will begin to teach the importance of weekly worship to all members, so they begin to understand why Christians are to worship regularly.
The Divine Service
Weekly worship is the center of our congregational life. The 3rd Commandment instructs us to “Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy.” Martin Luther in his explanation writes the following:
“We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.”
Weekly worship is what God commands of His people. St. Peter’s offers three weekly worship opportunities, two on Sunday and one on Wednesday. Each has the preaching of God’s word and the administration of the Sacrament of Holy Communion. We recognized that it may be impossible to worship weekly, but we are not to get into the habit of missing worship for any reason.
We need to develop a ministry that encourages all members to worship regularly. To accomplish this we must teach its importance. This teaching will be done by the pastors working in conjunction with the Board of Elders to increase our member attendance.
Worship Times Examination
Are our current worship times meeting the needs of our members and guests in the world we live in today? In the green section to the right is a study by Thom Rainer, a ministry consultant, on worship trends.