Texas Annual Conference Recognized for Growth
Some say everything is bigger in Texas. Church growth of any sort is something worth shouting about amidst the otherwise-dismal numbers in a recent study of official United Methodist statistics nationwide. According to the March 2012 report from the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) the Texas conference was recognized among the top five conferences to show an increase in worship attendance between 2009-2010. In percentage terms, only Peninsula-Delaware, Texas, North Texas, Oklahoma Indian, and the Pacific Northwest had increases.
On the conference data comparison chart, Texas ranked first in positive news. Bishop Janice Riggle Huie shared the good news with leadership in April, saying, “We know we have more work to do, but we are encouraged to see an upward trend in church attendance within our conference because that is the first step toward more professions of faith and member engagement. This increase indicates renewed vitality that is resulting from the outreach going on in local churches throughout the conference.”
While several conferences are celebrating slight growth, the overall numbers from denominational “report days” remain sobering. According to the report, worship attendance has been relatively flat across the nation in recent years– unlike membership, which has declined every year since 1968. In spite of the general decline, The Office of Research for the General Board of Global Ministries notes, "one can only hope that the efforts the denomination is taking toward starting new churches and bringing new vitality to existing churches can pay off in coming years. The increased emphasis – in itself – should be an encouragement.”