If people would have been asked in 1968 which nation would dominate the world in
watch making during the 1990s and into the twenty-first century the answer would have been
uniform: Switzerland. Why? Because Switzerland had dominated the world of watch
the previous sixty years.
The Swiss made the best watches in the world and were committed to constant refinement of
their expertise. It was the Swiss who came forward with the minute hand and the second
hand. They led the world in discovering better ways to manufacture the gears, hearings,
and mainsprings of watches. They even led the way in waterproofing techniques and
self-winding models. By 1968, the Swiss made 65 percent of all watches sold in the world
and laid claim to as much as 90 percent of the profits.
By 1980, however, they had laid off thousands of watch-makers and controlled less than 10
percent of the world market. Their profit domination dropped to less than 20 percent.
Between 1979 and 1981, fifty thousand of the sixty-two thou-sand Swiss watchmakers lost
their jobs. Why? The Swiss had refused to consider a new developmentthethe
Quartz movementironically, invented by a Swiss. Because it had no main-spring or
knob, it was rejected. It was too much of a paradigm shift for them to embrace. Seiko, on
the other hand, accepted it and, along with a few other companies, became the leader in
the watch industry.
The lesson of the Swiss watchmakers Is profound. A past that was so secure, so profitable,
so dominant was destroyed by an unwillingness to consider the future. It was more than not
being able to make predictionsit was an inability to re-think how they did business.
Past success had blinded them to the importance of seeing the implications of the changing
world and to admit that past accomplishment was no guarantee of future success.
James Enery White, Rethinking The Church, Baker Books, 1998, p. 20.
Show me a church where there is love, and I will show you a church that is a power in
the community. In Chicago a few years ago a little boy attended a Sunday school I know of.
When his parents moved to another part of the city the little fellow still attended the
same Sunday school, although it meant a long, tiresome walk each way. A friend asked him
why he went so far, and told him that there were plenty of others just as good nearer his
home. "They may be as good for others, but not for me," was his reply. "Why
not?" she asked. "Because they love a fellow over there," he replied. If
only we could make the world believe that we loved them there would be fewer empty
churches, and a smaller proportion of our population who never darken a church door. Let
love replace duty in our church relations, and the world will soon be evangelized.
Moody's Anecdotes, pp. 71-72.
Statistic and Stuff
Community Survey Questions:
1. Are you an active member of a nearby church?
2. What do you think is the greatest need in this community?
3. Why do you think most people don't attend church?
4. If you were looking for a church in the area, what kinds of things would you look for?
5. What advice would you give me as the pastor of a new church?
6. Are you interested in getting more information about this new church?
Surveys show that as much as 85 percent of church membership growth is made up of
people who church-hop. Other surveys show that there has been no real growth in church
membership in recent years; increase in some denominations is simply offset by decrease in
*Gallup says 81 percent of those who have changed are Protestant, and one out of four
have changed faiths or denominations (23 percent). He writes: "A superficial view of
the statistics on religious life in America would suggest that there is little change over
the decades" (this, in spite of what he calls "constant denominational
shifting") (PRRC Emerging Trends (May 1991):1).
Charles W. Colson, The Body, 1992,
Word Publishing, p. 345.
Here's a quote from an article in the Houston Chronicle, August 29, 1992, page 3E:
"Pollster George H. Gallup, Jr. says 70 percent of Americans believe most churches
and synagogues are not effective in helping people find meaning in life." Gallup's
report is in the 1992 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches (Abingdon Press, $29.95).
He said the ongoing vitality of American religious congregations depends, in large
measure, on their effectiveness in resounding to six spiritual needs of Americans as
identified in his surveys. Consider the six needs he discovered in his survey:
1. To believe life is meaningful and has a purpose.
2. To have sense of community and deeper relationships.
3. To be appreciated and respected.
4. To be listened to--and heard.
5. To feel that one is growing in the faith.
6. To have practical help in developing a mature faith.
This is a powerful indictment of the tepid, culture- soaked style of church life in our
generation. It is astonishing to discover that 70 percent of Americans are now
disillusioned with the traditional church! I have been following this Gallup survey for
years, and the trend of American cynicism grows with each passing year.
Cell Church Magazine, Volume 1, Number 4, p. 4.
90% of new members will stay in the church if:
1. they can articulate their faith (implies need for membership and evangelism
2. They belong to subgroups (i.e. choir, Bible Studies, Sunday School classes, etc.),
3. They have 4-8 close friendships within the church.
Leadership, IV, 3, p. 46.
Things churches can do to build greater interest in religion, according to a Gallup
survey: improve communication with members (21% of respondents); concentrate more on
personal spiritual matters (19%); become more involved in community matters (18%); focus
more efforts on young people (14%). Other suggestions include more social activities for
church members, more personal contacts between clergy and families, including pastoral
visits, less emphasis on money, advertise more, strive for unity, and stay out of
politics. The survey was made for the book, The People's Religion: American Faith in
the '90s, a Gallup compilation of more than 50 years of public opinion polls.
Figures in the book show a consistency over the years: about 94 percent believe in God, 90
percent pray, 88 percent believe God loves them, and more than 75 percent say their
religious involvement has been a positive experience. Co-author Jim Castelli says he was
surprised at the steadiness of the figures. "The percentage who went to church in the
last week is the same today (42%) as it was in the '30s," he said.
The People's Religion: American Faith in the '90s.
After surveying 10,000 people, the Institute for American Church Growth concluded that
79 percent began attending church after receiving such an invitation. Only 6% were
attracted by the pastor, 5% by the Sunday school and 0.5% by an evangelistic crusade.
Focus on the Family, July, 1984.
A survey conducted by Group, the Loveland Colorado-based youth- publishing ministry,
suggests that ministry to youth is a greater contributing factor to church growth than in
generally acknowledged among church-growth experts. Eighty percent of the families
surveyed for the report "Youth Ministry: Its Impact on Church Growth," according
to Group, said their church's youth ministry was an important consideration in their
decision to join. A Group press release notes that, according to the American Institute
for Church Growth, over 75 percent of lay people say they visit a church because of a
friend or a relative. But the number-two reason families join a church, Group's research
concluded, is the church's ministry to youth. The number-one consideration is preaching.
Christianity Today, October 20, 1989, p. 43.
Live churches' expenses are always more than their income; dead churches don't need
Live churches have parking problems; Dead churches have empty spaces!
Live churches may have some noisy children; Dead churches are quiet as a cemetery.
Live churches keep changing their ways of doing things; Dead churches see no need for
Live churches grow so fast you can't keep up with people's names; In dead churches
everybody always knows everybody's name.
Live churches strongly support world missions; Dead churches keep the money at home!
Live churches are full of regular, cheerful givers; Dead churches are full of grudging
Live churches move ahead on prayer and faith; Dead churches work only on sight!
Live churches plant daughter churches; Dead churches fear spending the money, time, and
Live churches outgrow their Sunday School facilities; Dead churches have room to spare!
Live churches welcome all classes of people; Dead churches stick to their own kind!
Live churches' members read their Bibles and bring them to church; Dead churches' members
Live churches' members enthusiastically support the ministries; Dead churches have no
Live churches' members look for someone they can help; Dead churches' members look for
something to complain about!
Live churches' members reach out to share their faith in Christ; Dead churches' members
don't have enough to share!