"Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?" Carole King asked musically.
Well, researchers at the Barna Group have the answer: More and more Americans are doing so. And Jeff Brumley of the Baptist News Global operation looks at whether people staying put is a good thing or a bad thing for congregations.
First let me say that Jeff is a longtime friend and a veteran religion reporter. Still, what we have here is what GetReligion folks call a "Got news?" story. It's a trend in a religious publication that is certainly worthy of coverage by folks in mainstream newsrooms.
Pulling from the Barna survey, Brumley says most people nowadays -- 59 percent -- are certain or fairly sure they’ll never move again.
Normally, that would be good news for churches, which thrive on stable communities. But not necessarily this time, Brumley says, quoting Baptist minister Kevin Collison:
"The church has to realize we are now in competition with other community forces," he said. "CrossFit may be their community, more maybe the microbrewery is their community."
Ditto for coffee shops and farmers’ markets, Collison added. In other words, people staying put may present as many challenges for congregations as it does opportunities, he said.
The Baptist Press story quotes a good variety of sources. Besides Pastor Collison, there's David Hull of the Center for Healthy Churches and Roxanne Stone of Barna. (However, Stone is only quoted via the organization's website.)
Hull spells out another ramification of people's reluctance to move -- a reluctance of clergy to change venues: