Prior to the 2010 LCMS Convention, when Matthew Harrison was elected Synod President, his supporters published statistical membership data for the incumbent president, Dr. Gerald Kieschnick’s years in office. How do those 2010 statistics for Kieschnick’s administration compare to the 2010-2017 statistics for Matthew Harrison’s administration?
Decline in Baptized Members
During the years of Matthew Harrison’s presidency, 2010-2017, baptized membership decreased by 309,945 members—that’s 44,278 each year of his presidency. That’s an overall decline of 15,227 more baptized members each year, a 52% increase over the decline witnessed during Dr. Kieschnick’s years in office.
Annually the number of baptized members of the LCMS drops by nearly 2%. Now, two percent might not seem like anything to be concerned about, but it is a significant direction in our beloved Synod, a trend that is distressing to a church body that marks baptism as the sacrament through which God brings His people to saving faith.
Decline in Confirmed Members
During Matthew Harrison’s presidency, confirmed membership decreased by 281,900 members over seven years. That’s a loss of 31,271 confirmed members each year—that’s 13,835 more confirmed members lost each year than the yearly losses recorded during the administration of Dr. Gerald Kieschnick.
Is the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Thriving?
During the years of Matthew Harrison’s presidency, loss of baptized members per year has accelerated to a percentage rate of loss 70% greater than during the previous administration.
Percentage losses in confirmed members have alarmingly doubled during Harrison’s presidency.
The Harrison administration has done little to aggressively reverse this trend which is also present in other mainline church bodies. The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has an opportunity to provide leadership and focus in the community of other Christian church bodies.
Harrison’s oft repeated solution to the LCMS’s declining membership numbers is, and we hope he is trying to be funny, “Lutherans should have more babies.”
Let’s get serious about this important trend in our beloved Synod — it’s not a laughing matter.
It’s Time for a Change in Synodical Leadership!
Consider these statistics for both the Harrison administration and the Kieschnick administration:
It’s obvious something is not working.
It’s time for a change in synodical leadership! Consider Candidates David Maier and Tim Klinkenberg. They know how to cope with the challenges facing our synod because they have creatively and winsomely met those challenges in their congregations and districts.
It’s time for a change.
Congregations — and having a plan for the future that works — matter!