South Park explains why ECUSA is shrinking

Here’s the way most Episcopal congregations try to grow:

  1. Do what we’ve always done, only “better.”
  2. ???
  3. Hope for growth.

South Park nails it.

So there it is. We have to figure out why we’re actually around, and what might lead to growth. Too many parishes are in “maintenance mode”, just keeping on keeping on. Others persist in imagining that whatever worked in 1958 is going to work in 2008. Still others are glorified social clubs, emphasizing relationships among existing members. There’s a new trend in which congregations become little more than social service agencies, where the focus is on political change only.

Here’s my quick take. It’s fine to revel in the glorious liturgical history of the Episcopal Church. It’s fine to have a tight-knit community. It’s fine to work for political and social change. And it’s even fine to do some things that worked in 1958. But it’s got to be more than that.

We can’t lose sight of Jesus as Savior. We can’t lose sight of our duty and delight to proclaim the kingdom of God and to share the Good News. If we’re not talking about something that’s life- and world-changing, why would anyone get out of bed on a Sunday to crash your dated social club? Why indeed.

So, in the model of South Park, stop collecting underpants and start asking questions. Maybe you’ll end up collecting underpants after all, but make sureĀ  you know why. And, for God’s sake, make sure you take Safe Church training before you put “collect underpants” in your church mission statement.

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3 Responses

  1. Peter Carey says:

    you rock

    Send this to 815

    Peter Carey+

  2. Phil Snyder says:


    What the average Episcopalian knows about evangelism (note, the word is spelled with more than 4 letters) is not much. One question that every apsirant, postulant, and candidate for ordination should be asked is “tell me about a time that you tried to share with an unbeliever what God has done for you.”

    Phil Snyder

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