Document Type



Master of Arts

Capstone Coordinator (Advisor 1)

Eugene Bunkowske

Reader (Advisor 2)

James Found

Reader (Advisor 3)

Phillip Johnson


The present study surveyed 587 members of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church who live in or near Moorhead, Minnesota to determine why church members were no longer active in the congregation. Survey responses support the finding that some less-than-active members do not benefit from participation in the church when their real, felt needs are not met. Research indicates that for some less-than-active members, conflict and pain were experienced instead of love, feelings of helplessness resulting from the busyness of life took hold, and other priorities took over. Lack of friendship and forgiveness left an emptiness and loneliness. Unable to connect the Word to the reality of life, the church became meaninglessness. Thus, some less-than-active members chose to no longer participate in the church.

The active members' strong belief in the truth of God's Word marked the difference between them and the less-than-active members. Their beliefs manifested in the way they lived out the Christian disciplines. Beliefs and practices of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod were not a significant influence on worship for the less-than-active members.

These findings speak to the importance of ministering to the holistic needs of mind, body and spirit, through relational ministries, enabling them to hear the transforming Word of God.


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