A Closer look at Ohio Churches

A Closer look at Ohio Churches

In a recent article published by Dr. Tom Rainer of Church Answers entitled, “Six Types of Churches that have Died during the Pandemic,” he states;

“Death is a delicate topic, especially the death of churches. My purpose is to send a warning so changes can be made quickly and urgently. My greater purpose, ironic as it may seem, is to send a message of hope.” He goes on to say, “These six types of churches are described categorically, but the categories are not mutually exclusive. Many of these deceased churches fit most, if not all, of the categories. We have spoken with the leadership of these churches. The conversations were sad but enlightening. All of the churches noted in these categories have either closed or announced their intentions to close…”

The six types of churches Dr. Rainer mentions in his article are the following:

  1. The aged church. 
  2. The fighting church.
  3. The deferred maintenance church.
  4. The run-the-pastor-off church.
  5. The neighborhood-looks-different church.
  6. The infant church.

To view the article in its entirety, please follow this link

Ohio churches need to take a serious look at their current condition and their ability to move forward. We need to be asking ourselves, are we one of these churches Dr. Rainer mentioned? Are we in the midst of one of these categories, or is there something else hindering us from moving forward from being a healthy church?

Our church revitalization team from SCBO recently met with Lifeway research and received a report specifically about Ohio churches. The information was based on a five-year study, 2015-2019. These are not COVID numbers, which makes these figures even more telling.

  1. Baptisms in 2019 – 3,331. Although we were down in total baptisms, we were above the national average percentage of new members from baptisms. Another encouraging stat, Ohio Baptists baptized 1 for every 23 members, which is better than the national ratio (1:62)
  2. The back door from 2019 vs. 2018
    Worship Attendance – we lost 1,510 people.
    Total Membership – we lost 7,146 members.
  3. The state of our churches (See graphic)
    Remember, these statistics are based upon 2019 numbers. While we see some growth, there is about the same number of churches plateaued, but the greater concern is for the 45% of our churches in decline. If that statistic is true from 2019, what are those numbers now?

Yes, 2020 has certainly thrown us a curveball, but God has allowed us to move forward in 2021. Yet, it is not without its difficulties, concerns, challenges, and hope. We know that nothing is impossible with God, but we are caretakers, stewards, leaders in the Lord’s church. Therefore, we cannot sit idly by and watch the Lord’s church crumble in the dust. As a convention, we urge you to take a self-assessment of where you are currently. You can do that by starting in 2015 and go through 2019 and use your ACP data to look at your average worship attendance, baptisms, giving, groups and see how you are trending. We know that there may not be churches that will make it through this Covid era. Yet, the entire staff at the state convention wants to ensure that we provide for you every opportunity to go from declining to thriving for the kingdom’s sake. We have resources and personnel to help you with questions you have about church revitalization, assessments, prayer guides, etc. Contact us, and we can schedule an appointment with one of our coaches from across the state or one of our staff at the convention office.

We look forward to working with you soon. May God receive all the glory and honor that is rightfully his through the work we do together for Mission Ohio.

In His Service,
Dwayne Lee
Associate Team Leader
Bible Teaching/Leadership Resource Group