Mar 17, 2006

polls and church growth

Strange results often occur when pollsters put their spin on poll findings. The following polls and quotes (if correct,) paint a downhill struggle for the church in America over the last few years:

"In America we are closing 7 more churches a day, than we are opening!! -Charles Arn"

"The United States of America remains the third largest unchurched nation in the world!

"In 1900 there were 27 churches for every 10,000 Americans. In 1950 there were 17 churches for every 10,000 Americans. In 1996 there were 11 churches for every 10,000 Americans. -George Gallup

"Evangelical churches have failed to gain an additional 2% of the American population in the past 50 years. In other words, we are not even reaching our children! -George Barna

"Estimated America Unchurched Population - 195 million (January 1996, Gallup Princeton Religion Report)."

"Half of all churches last year did not add one new member through conversion growth. -Charles Arn"

"During the last 10 years, the combined communicant membership of all Protestant Denominations has declined by 9.5% (4,498,242) while the national population has increased by 11.4% (24,153,000). -ASCG Journal of Church Growth"


WeathertopMama said...

Larry, I really appreciate this blog. I am really wanting to talk about what I've gone thru in the Church of Christ, but I just can't yet. After all, to all appearances I'm still 'in it'!

In the meantime I spend a couple hours a day reading those who understand.

Thanks for a great blog to add to my list!

jettybetty said...

All these facts are just scary--and true!

I don't think it's all the COC either--other demoninations are struggling as well.

What do you think we should be doing to stop such declines?

Also, having one's name on a church list is one thing--a surrendered heart to God can be yet another.

Larry said...

Your comments are appreciated.

The COC where I attend is very small and not weighted-down with legalism, patternism, and an overdose of self-righteousness, so even within the Churches of Christ there are tribes where you can fit in.

When you feel like venting on your COC experiences, just have at it; you may be surprised at those who agree with you.

Some members of the COC where I once met think I'm a change agent, under the influence of Satan, and occasionally I'm just a plain ol' reprobate...oh well! :)

Larry said...

All churches seem to be losing their members over time except many of the megachurches where you are on the "church rolls" whether you ever darken the door or not.

Personally I think there will be no end to the decline in church growth. There is way too much secular activities in the world today that grab our attention and time, leaving little time for "church life."

Surrendering our heart to God is the answer for all our problems; earthly and eternally.

Anne said...

From reading the discouraging statistics you site in this post, perhaps "change-agents" are what American Christian churches need!

Larry said...

More than likely the polls don't take into consideration all the home churches that have jumped up over the years. The poll results are still scary, but perhaps not as accurate as some imagine.

There's worse things than being called a "change-agent," but a reprobate; that hurts! :)

LEM'S Politics said...

Those polls are concerning, but the number of churches is not so disturbing if one chursh serves 10,000 members it don't take as many as it did when there were 25 members per church building. I really doubt that the Church of Christ membership has fallen that much. The catholic church has dwindled drasticly over the past few years.

Larry said...

What might be shocking; the number of people in a megachurch of 10,000 members that only show up for the finger-food.

LEM'S Politics said...

Brother Larry go to the links on my blog, Check North Oak Church of Christ (my home church) go to news and then history and you will see where I get my confidence in Church Growth.
God Bless You

Larry said...

The North Oak church certainly has a grand history.

Many of the churches in the small towns located in the Central Valley of California have almost disappeared. The church I attended for years once boasted of over 200 members; today if their lucky, 35-40 members show up on Sunday morning. Other churches in this valley also show dramatic drops in membership, and many have closed their doors and members are now meeting in the larger cities in much larger churches.

The polls can come up with some strange and weird conclusions, but from my little part of the world I not only see a remarkable drop in the number of churches, but a smaller membership in those still active, and many of these small churches are patternalistic, legalistic, and wrapped up tight in loads of traditional baggage.