The incredible shrinking church

Apr 2, 2021 by

by Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch:

[…] A new article from the Gallop polling organisation offers some interesting – if not alarming – information about another case of shrinkage – in American church attendance. The headline says this: “U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time”.

Here are some highlights from the article:

“Americans’ membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup’s eight-decade trend. In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999. U.S. church membership was 73% when Gallup first measured it in 1937 and remained near 70% for the next six decades, before beginning a steady decline around the turn of the 21st century….”

… And a related matter has to do with what are known as “dones” – people who are done with going to church. They are still Christians who still love the Lord, but for various reasons, they are done with attending a local church. The fact that so many believers seem to be leaving church certainly is something a lot of Christians are aware of and interested in…

…So we may not be able to say with complete certainty that Christianity is shrinking in America. What we can say is that church attendance sure seems to be. But the two are not identical, and many Christians still exist, even though for a whole range of reasons they seem to be done with church – or at least with the traditional established churches.

But there are other things happening with American Christianity, including the rise of minichurches. We have all heard of megachurches of course, and so many pastors aspire to have the biggest and the best. But it may be time to move in the other direction – to minichurches. Maybe smaller is better.

The rise of small groups, house churches, and much smaller congregations seems to be catching on in the US and elsewhere. Downsizing seems to be in.

Read here

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