We reviewed the slides on the above presented to Wellington Presbytery on 30 August 2013 by Kevin Ward. The first part provided graphic statistical information on church membership, attendance, age and ethnicity profiles over the last 100 years or so. The membership and attendance and age profiles all indicated what we all experience, decreasing numbers and over-representation in the older age brackets. The mix of ethnicities is rapidly changing. These are a feature of all mainline churches and ECP branches. An interesting observation was that the challenges for congregations are too great for them to overcome alone, hence the importance of the roles to be performed by Regional organisations – Presbytery and Synods. The number of ‘moderates/liberal’ theological position is weakening (further!); fastest ‘growing’ are those congregations with a clear theological position and contemporary worship forms ie conservative. Need a sense of transcendence, an encounter. In the future there will be less significance on ‘place’
Part 2 was about change and the change process. The learners are the winners as change is continuous which makes long range planning more difficult; any plan therefore needs to be adaptable to the changed circumstances. The longer a congregation stay with the status quo, the harder and more drastic the changes become. Change is difficult!