By Lyle E. Schaller
Is helping church leaders comprehend and successfully grapple with the "new realities" of church lifestyles at the present time.
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Additional info for It's a Different World: The Challenge for Today's Pastor
As was pointed out earlier, in the typical Methodist, Presbyterian, or Lutheran church, 60 percent of the adults at worship are women. In the churches that reflect this religious subculture that ratio often is closer to 50 percent women and 50 percent men. ) The emergence of this new religious subculture has many implications for leaders in the mainline Protestant churches. First of all, it is difficult to say it is all bad or all good. Life is rarely a simple either/or proposition. An awareness of this subculture does help explain the growing number of adults reared in Lutheran or Methodist or Presbyterian families who today are not in churches related to those denominations.
Finally, such a church tends to be highly vulnerable when the long-term pastor leaves, especially if the departure was an unhappy experience for both parties. Interviews with members of these churches, and especially with new members, suggest the people attracted by this subculture differ substantially from the members one encounters in the typical Lutheran, Methodist, or Presbyterian congregation in the Midwest or Northeast. While some married into the congregation where they are now members, few of today's adults were born into these congregations.
These interdenominational and independent churches, however, gained twentyseven converts from other churches for every ten lost by disaffiliation. 15 While part of this decrease in the number of intradenominational transfers among Methodists and Presbyterians referred to earlier can be explained by the aging of the membership (people past age forty are far less likely to change their place of residence in any given year than are persons in the 17-35 age group), this decrease also appears to be a major factor in the aging of these and other mainline denominations.