The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Gospel proclamation is the answer

Growth/decline debate

What’s the future for the ELCA (April, "Mainline decline")? It depends on our willingness to change. Evangelism is each of our responsibility. However, in any organization the group takes on the character and attitude of the leader. We need pastors excited about and capable of leading this great commission from Christ. Will we train pastors in the seminary to have a great motivation and drive to lead evangelistic efforts? Will we “retool” current pastors to pick up this essential cause? Can we modify our services and studies to be more in tune with a society that is accustomed to visual, as well as verbal, communication, that likes options, and is less bound to traditional rituals than older generations?

Gil Holocher
Cincinnati, Ohio

Ah, statistics. They let you prove whatever you want. To reverse the conclusions of writer Kenneth Inskeep, if mainline churches merely taught human reproduction and parenting skills their numbers would go back up. Mainline churches are envious of the growth of American evangelical churches and yet will not stoop to the methods they use to attract members. The ELCA, especially, should be aware and utilize the word that is part of its name. ELCA congregations that emphasize evangelism show better growth curves than those that emphasize ecumenism and social action beliefs.

J.P. Ellsworth
Prescott, Ariz.

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February issue


Embracing diversity