This is the fourth post in this series of articles about the UM Study that found ineffective pastors as the major obstacle with turning around the UMC decline. Even though I have other comments, I will make this my last article about this particular study. My main problem isn’t really the findings of the study, but that I feel the study didn’t go far or deep enough in looking at the issue of decline in the UMC. Why, for instance, didn’t the study deal with any cultural issues? There have been significant changes in our culture and I would think that would have some bearing on our decline.
The ’shrinking’ middle
One of the problems I have with this study is it’s disregard for what is going on in society and the culture at large. Some have commented on the fact that we are experience a “shrinking middle.” The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The middle class is being squeezed. Instead of dealing with the traditional bell curve, we now have a curve that is high on both ends and low in the middle.