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Grace United Methodist Church

Kate's Column: December 2, 2021

Growing Congregations 

Declining Congregations 

We Can 

We Can’t 

Decide based on Principles 

Decide based on Preferences 

Focus on Others 

Focus on Themselves 



Act Now 

Act Eventually 


No church chooses to be a dying church, at least not overtly.  They instead choose death in small but significant ways.  The focus on what they can’t do; they allow comfort and preference to drive decisions; they focus on members rather than new disciples; they become reactive.  And when faced with a need for action they debate, dither, and delay rather than deciding. 


Growing churches act now, declining churches talk about acting eventually.  Because they are always planning or considering, it can feel like things are happening in a declining church.  However, scripture tells us, trees are known by their fruit.  If a ministry or team never bears fruit, it isn’t alive.  Painting a picture of what you hope for is good, but it must get off the canvas to be real. 

That doesn’t mean that growing churches are juggernauts of uncritical action.  Their leaders are strategic and understand the rhythm of work and rest required for people and organizations.  But thriving churches know the difference between pacing and dawdling is decision making.  Dying churches talk about issues over and over and over.  Thriving churches make decisions, form a plan, and begin working.  


Grace UMC is coming out of a season of intense discernment.  Now we are in a season of action.  In adopting the Future with Hope report, we decided on a course of action.  It has many steps.  It will take time to work it out.  But the time for agonizing is past. 


2022 will be a year in which a lot of eventuallys finally bear fruit.  It will be exciting, at times scary, and perhaps a little overwhelming.  It might feel like a lot of change happens all at once.  But now is the time to move if we are to thrive.   

The end of the year is often a season of reflection and resolution setting.  I hope you will join me in examining your own heart and our church for these 5 attitudes and committing to the things that will bring us life in the year to come. 

Grace United Methodist Church
1245 Heights Blvd
Houston, TX 77008
Office Hours
Monday - Friday 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
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