Could High Gas Prices Impact Sunday School Attendance?

Tuesday 24th June, 2008

What is going to happen in the days that are ahead? Let me be clear: I am not a future teller. Some are able to read trends with a high degree of accuracy. I, on the other hand, tend to verbalize questions about issues that may impact the way we do ministry in the days that are ahead. In other words, I think out loud and help others to consider these issues. One of my five Gallup StrengthsFinders strengths is futuristic.

I do know that the cost of gas has increased in the United States. And some are expecting it to go higher. Will that increase impact attendance? Allow me to ask some more specific questions about church and Sunday School in the future:

  • With the price of gas, will average Sunday School and worship attendance begin to drop?
  • With the price of gas, will those who attend be primarily composed of the most faithful and the most needy (dealing with stressful times in life and seeking spiritual answers)?
  • With the price of gas, will the number of guests decrease?
  • With the price of gas, will the choice of a church or small group become even more influenced by proximity to the home?
  • With the price of gas, will attendance beyond Sunday School and worship be even more limited than it has in recent years? Will it give even greater permission to those who have already chosen to limit involvement because of the value of time?
  • With the price of gas, will attenders force themselves to make a decision between (1) attending their small group through the week or (2) worship on Sunday?
  • Because of the impact of fuel prices, will maintenance and heating/cooling costs make utilizing church facilities beyond Sunday more difficult?
  • Because of the impact of fuel prices, will maintenance and heating/cooling costs lead future church starts to choose never to own facilities or at least no adult Sunday School space?
  • With the price of gas, will discipleship be done in biweekly community (local) small groups that spring forth out of Sunday School classes?
  • With the price of gas, will churches lengthen the time for Sunday School and task classes with more of the purposes of the church, including assimilation and discipleship?
  • With the price of gas, will there be a rise in the number of house churches and small groups that are loosely-connected or unconnected to existing churches?
  • With the price of gas, will it become more difficult to enlist leaders who realize they will need to attend additional meetings and training times?

    I am still thinking through the possible impact of high gas prices. I am sure there are scores of additional questions that need to be considered? Which ones come to your mind? Do you have thoughts about any of the questions I asked? Press the Comments button and leave your additional questions or thoughts. It appears that high gas prices are here to stay. How will you respond? What do we need to do? Pray. Plan. Don't just react. Be revolutionary!

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