From The Living Church-
Ideas have legs. Or, if you will, you reap what you sow. The truth of these sayings is nearly universally accepted; their wisdom is incontrovertible — unless you are reacting to a sociological study analyzing the cause of growth and decline in mainline congregations.
After a five-year study of 22 congregations, and interviews with over 2,220 congregants and the clergy who serve them, David Haskell, Kevin Flatt, and Stephanie Burgoyne concluded that ideas have legs. More specifically, their study, “Theology Matters,” concluded that congregations that espouse “liberal” theology are declining and congregations that espouse “conservative” theology are growing.
One would assume that this relatively straightforward conclusion, backed by strong statistical evidence, would be cause for prayerful reflection by congregations of all theological stripes and sizes. A particularly pertinent question for reflection is: How are we, as God’s people in this community, being faithful or unfaithful to the traditions we have received? (cf. 2. Thess. 2:15). Like all traditions, Christian tradition is living and breathing and therefore requires careful stewardship and contemplation in every age and culture. Faithfulness matters.