The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Committed & challenged

'They'll be there until the last person turns off the lights'

Gather around the radio, Lutherans, it's time to hear the January 2004 "state of congregations" report. As with any annual update, there's good news and bad, points of light and trends that are going to be hard to turn around.

The short version is this: We need some principles to hold us together; we're not growing where the general population is; we're not doing well among ethnic communities. But as Kenneth Inskeep, the reader of congregational data that would make most of us drowsy, says: In the largest segment of ELCA congregations, we'll be there "until the last person turns off the lights."

Inskeep, director of the ELCA Department for Research and Evaluation, talked with The Lutheran about congregational and population data, particularly the U.S. Congregational Life Survey that involved a cross section of 422 ELCA congregations. Other church leaders were asked what gives them both pause and hope.

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