The annualÂ yearbookÂ of church membership in the Unitied States was just published.Â Overall, church membership is downÂ about one percent.
Catholic membershipÂ rose byÂ about one percent.Â Pentacostal,Â Seventh Day AdventistÂ and Jehovah’s Witness went up about two percent.Â Â Southern Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and United Church of Christ went down about two percent.Â Â Â Â
The population of the U. S. goes up something like one percent a year.Â So,Â the drop in the percentage of the U. S. population that belongs toÂ churches isÂ about two percent.Â
TheseÂ numbers have been about the sameÂ for several years.Â Â This trend for ten years would reduce theÂ percentage of the U. S. that belongs to churchesÂ by twenty percent.
If the denominations that showed growth have more children, and the children are considered members, someÂ of their growth may be due to this.Â Also, the hispanic population is the fastest growing ethnic group. Denomiations that they prefer, Catholic and pentacostal, mayÂ benefit.
This steady drop in church membership has many implications, likeÂ property tax exemptions of church property.Â This exists because of the political popularity ofÂ churches.Â If thisÂ popularity falls,Â churches will have to collect more from their members.
Other reports I have read say the average age of church members is rising, signaling lack of interest by the young.Â Â The same trend started in Europe before it started here and has never reversed.Â Â
But, the future is not always like the past.Â We don’t know what the future will bring.