Dynamic Anglicans Churches The Demographic Shift
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3. Dynamic Anglicans Churches

New Leadership Breed

The conclusion of this study of demographics in the Toronto area is that the future impact on the structure of the Diocese of Toronto will be significant. Decentralization to diocesan areas will need to be scaled back as the number of buildings and clergy shrinks. The present five Bishops can be reduced to two with only one hundred and thirty-three parishes to administer by the year 2019. This is a return to a single Diocesan Bishop and one Suffragan Bishop as was always the case in the past.

Scaled-Back Ministry

CrestKeys to growth will be, in order of importance, Youth and Children's Ministry, which have been not just neglected but purposefully eroded over the last twenty years by the powers that be. An example is Toronto East Deanery which in 1998 had both Sunday schools and Youth ministry flourishing in all twelve parishes. Today one or two youth ministries may exist and Sunday School ministry is down to a handful of children in a tiny fraction of the parishes. Stewardship, church planting, small group spirituality, public relations, and human resources are going to be increasingly important.

Fewer Clergy

There will be approximately one hundred and twenty-six fewer clergy by A.D. 2019. Those who are left may be the most dynamic Anglican clergy and will be far more influential than before. They will stay for longer-term incumbencies (to 20 or 30 years) and will be difficult to remove or replace. Many will die in office. They will be autocrats relying heavily on lay leadership, non-stipendiary deacons (which will thoroughly confuse laypeople and diminish the authority of the Bishops and clergy) and team ministry including clusters in larger populated areas eventually ending up with one representative church. We will move from a majority of family-sized churches (up to 50 worshipers) to an equal spread of family, pastoral (fifty to one hundred and fifty) and program sized congregations (one hundred and fifty people plus). This will change the dynamic of how congregations work and how the diocese services them. As a result, the bishops will lose much of their authority in the face of fewer more powerful clergy and congregations. This is illustrated by Arlin J. Rothauge's very good book "Sizing up a Congregation."

Family Pastoral and Program Churches

This page shows the Church Size Diagram and how the Family, Pastoral and Program Churches are all needed and can prosper in the new dynamic church. In his booklet "Sizing up a Congregation for New Member Ministry" the author Arlin J. Rothauge (1938-present) describes how congregations function depending upon size. There are three categories delineated. The smallest, with a membership of 0-50, is defined as "The Family Church." This comprises the "Family Chaplain" (or clergy person) shown with a solid black dot, next to the "Patriarchs and Matriarchs," who so often determine the course of the Family Church, then the leaders and the congregational members. The circle below indicates the "Doorkeepers" who determine who comes in and is welcomed and finally the small circle represents the "Newcomer."

Family Friendship Circles

The second diagram (top right) describes the "Pastoral Church" of 50-150 members. This is composed of a series of "Family Friendship Circles" around the outside. The cleric or pastor sits at the center of the circles with the group leaders around him. The visitor relates directly to the pastor at the center and then to the Leadership Circle, the Fellowship Circle, and the Membership Circle.

Chief Administrator

The third diagram represents the "Program Church" of 150-350 members. The Pastor or Priest is at the center with a "Chief Administrator." The next outer series of circles represent the leaders of several groups. On the outer edge are the "Members" being served by the group leaders who are in turn organized by the Chief Administrator and the Pastor.

Growing Congregations

Successful dynamic churches emphasize youth and children's ministry. They will succeed even in a secular and hostile society. The role of Bishops, Elders, and leaders in our new, thoroughly secular societal order will be, I believe, as the soles of the feet and palms of the hands in the Body of Christ! Leaders will suffer as they make the first contact with a secular world. No one except for a brave few will want to be an elder or leader in the future. They will be honored with the splinters, sharp stones and scratches from an opposing culture in the same way that the saints of the Early Church were honored with martyrdom. Their witness will draw others to Christ or put them off and drive them away altogether!

Dynamic Then and Now

A key to which Dynamic Churches will survive in 2020 AD and the future can be found in the congregational returns and particularly the number of children, teenagers and small groups listed there. One thing for sure is that "Elders," "Boomers," "Generation X" and "Generation Y" Groups (now known as the "Millennials") and even the "Snowflakes" will want friends and community for their children and teens. This they may find not in the church with its beliefs but in their Christian communities with its warm friendships.

Rise Above The Rest

Successful dynamic churches in 2020 AD will rise above the rest if they involve contemporary music, adventurous programming, and emphasis on children and youth. The Diocesan and Area organizations will need to spend a significant proportion of their budgets each year to equip congregations to develop effective youth work and children's ministry.

Emotionally Wedded

Parish Churches and institutional leaders will have to learn not to be emotionally wedded to buildings. The dynamic and not necessarily the historical or conservative churches will be the ones that will survive and thrive. This applies to all the mainline congregations and to the Protestant ones too.

Dynamic Church Groups

The dynamic church group and community outreach will be prominent in the new church in a secular society. One negative aspect of this drastic downsizing from 2019 and onward will be the effect on community groups and organizations like AA, Brownies, Scouts and IODE who presently use church buildings at little or no cost. The few buildings left in the future will be in great demand. Many organizations presently relying on donated space will fold. In the coming years, the Diocese of Toronto will be engaged in the sale of a lot of real estate property ($40+ million) as many churches close and are sold off. At the same time, there will be new challenges in the planting of new churches in new housing developments at great cost (an estimated average of $10 to $15 million.) We can, however, learn from the Church of England where instead of closing churches they keep the building and plant new churches beginning with households. Over thirty full-time professionals and growing do nothing else but re-establish churches in redundant buildings in 21 Dioceses and growing. Once planted, a dynamic priest may be appointed to take over its care if they can be found. The church planters move on to another place and another redundant building. A body of research is already emerging in this area which could greatly benefit us.

Church Reserves

The Church's reserves built up over the last fifty years of plenty will be needed for the coming years of little. What buildings are left must be turned into luxurious, completely equipped and efficient with expansive parking lots, elevators and large illuminated signs to attract the Boomers and the Millenials who are turning out to be a very finicky segment of the population. They must be completely accessible, air-conditioned, sprinklered and have full multimedia and sound facilities included for the hearing impaired. Boomers or X-Generation persons presently have little significant denominational loyalty so there is no guarantee that even church inclined ones would follow the choice of their parents or Elders. They may "shop around" for the denomination or religious group offering them the best services and facilities or may not bother. There will, I believe, be a proliferation of shop-front, TV and Internet groups of every type imaginable to meet this emerging need for spirituality but not the institution.

Church Promotion

A much larger proportion of church budgets will have to be spent on advertising and promotion in newspapers, radio, the internet, TV, and billboards to compete. At the local church level and maybe through TV adverts we might be able to win some "Boomer Rebels" through our emphasis on human rights, freedom, and individuality, but these are also noted for their "skepticism of institution and authority". "Boomer Communitarians" on the other hand could be attracted through an emphasis on family and community. Family orientated churches and services should do well with these people.

"Dynamic Anglicans Churches"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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