Stained Glass Sanctuary or Renovated Theater With Rock Band?

By: Anna Wagnild
By: Anna Wagnild

Church membership, nationwide, has been declining for decades, especially among the more traditional denominations.

While that might not be a large problem locally, church leaders say they are always looking for ways to bring new faces to their congregations.

One of the biggest obstacles to overcome is pre-conceived notions about church communities.

Some clergy say a way to help alleviate fears is holding other events like childcare, community meetings or programs like alcoholics anonymous.

"Many times, when they come into the building, then they start to discover a comfortable level with that and it brings them into a relationship with the congregation," says Pastor Rolf Nestingen of Grace Lutheran Church.

Other churches are finding success with adopting a contemporary service or format for their missions.

"I think any place that offers that in an accessible setting, where people feel like they can come in and fit in and belong is a place that's going to reach people," says Pastor Doug Lebsack of Valleybrook Church. That congregation has seen an increase of 7 percent in attendance in five months.

With outreach efforts over radio and television airwaves and information on the Internet, churches are attempting to reach out to all members of communities.

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