Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fastest-Growing Churches

Below is an article of interest:

The two fastest-growing church bodies in the United States and Canada, according to a newly published report, are ones whose beliefs are known to conflict with traditional Christian teaching, reports

Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported the largest membership increases in a year, according to the National Council of Churches’ 2008 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches. Jehovah’s Witnesses reported a 2.25% increase in membership since the publication of the 2007 yearbook. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — also known as the Mormon church — grew 1.56% and is listed by the NCC as the fourth largest “church.”

Other bodies in the newly published top 25 largest churches list that reported membership increases include The Catholic Church (0.87%); the Southern Baptist Convention (0.22%); the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (0.21%); and the Assemblies of God (0.19%).

The greatest losses in membership were reported by The Episcopal Church, which dropped 4.15% in members, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which decreased by 2.36%. American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America also experienced large losses in membership, dropping 1.82% and 1.58%, respectively. Although the Methodist Church saw a 0.99% decrease, the mainline group remains the third largest church body with nearly eight million members.

The top ten religious bodies ranked by membership are as follows:

1. The Catholic Church — 67,515,016
2. Southern Baptist Convention — 16,306,246
3. The United Methodist Church — 7,995,456
4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — 5,779,316
5. The Church of God in Christ — 5,499,875
6. National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc. — 5,000,000
7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America — 4,774,203
8. National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. — 3,500,000
9. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) — 3,025,740
10. Assemblies of God — 2,836,174

(Quoted from “The Pastor’s Weekly Briefing”, an e-newsletter published by Focus on the Family, Feb. 21, 2008. Copyright © 2008, Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.)

After reading these statistics on growth, ponder the question: why aren’t the “mainline” churches growing, and why are most of them shrinking? I have my own thoughts, but I’d like to hear yours. Please give me your comments on this. PT

No comments: